On Monday 23 March 2020, the UK government announced its latest increase in measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. With tighter restrictions now being placed on where we can go and the activities we can do, the necessity for movement and keeping active has never been more critical than now.
In light of this, we recently decided to make our Bodyweight Basics Bundle [usually retails at £40] available completely free until 30 April 2020. We want to continue to try and encourage the idea of maintaining forms of exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle, even in a time where our opportunities to do so appear seemingly limited.
Bodyweight Basics is perfect for both experienced workout buffs, trying to get their exercise hit in this challenging time, or for newcomers who see this as a perfect time for them to start getting fitter and healthier. The time for movement is now.
This aim of this blog is to introduce you to some basic home workout equipment that will help on this journey and to provide you with some ideas on how best to get the most out of them.
A classic and basic tool for you to help improve mobility. As a result of training, injury history and compensatory movement patterns, trigger points form within the muscle. These are collagen adhesions that you will probably know as the ‘knots’ where you feel pain or tightness.
In the same way that physiotherapists or sports massage therapists might apply pressure to a trigger point with the objective of ‘releasing’ it, you can do the same thing at home with the massage ball.
The protocol is to place the small, firm ball underneath a muscle such as your lats or hip flexors and apply some downward bodyweight pressure. It’s a seek and destroy mission so you will roll the ball around until you feel a painful knot, hold it there and relax allowing the ball to sink into your muscle. This sends a message to the brain that tells the muscle to relax and therefore decrease tension in the muscle.
Think of it like having a rope with lots of knots in. If we want to improve the length of the rope, we must first get rid of the knots.
The massage ball has an advantage over the roller in that it can get to harder to reach places and applies more direct pressure due to the smaller surface area.
While the massage ball is perfect for alleviating muscle tension in those hard to reach places, its size means there’s only so much of any one area you can cover at a time. Massage rollers allow you to focus on larger areas of your body, like your lats and posterior shoulder, quads or calf muscles that might be causing you discomfort.
The aim of using a massage ball and massage roller is to prepare the body for the session you’re about to do and to lay the foundations for high-quality movement.
Resistance bands have a multitude of uses in calisthenics. They’re a great way to prepare for a workout by activating and mobilising movement patterns before starting your main workout. They’re also a great assistance tool to help you when an exercise or movement pattern is too hard. Including assisted exercises in your programme allows you to connect the dots in terms of neuromuscular learning but also train the force development components as well, helping you to prepare your body to eventually redefine your impossible whether that’s your first pull up, muscle up or human flag.
If you’re a newcomer to calisthenics, then stability balls may be a piece of equipment you’re already familiar with. Love it or hate it, a stability ball is a perfect tool for improving balance and strength, particularly in your core. They’re also a great assistance tool and represent a great starting block to taking off into human flags.
You may already be familiar with gymnastic rings and their uses from watching the Olympics or televised gymnastic competitions. However, they are not just for the pros. In our opinion, they are the most versatile piece of equipment you can own that gives you the freedom to train almost anywhere! They’re possibly the best all-round tool to train the upper body as you can do a huge variety of pulling exercises in different planes, grip positions and fun things like skin the cat.
A high performing and robust upper body requires a combination of stability and strength at the shoulder. The rings give you both these things in abundance and building confidence in using them is likely to be the greatest investment you will make in your training. If that isn’t enough you can use them for lots of really challenging core exercises and even counterbalance assistance if you’re working on pistol squats as part of a lower-body session.
The standalone beginner’s portable rack is a great tool to improve your basic capacity strength in pull ups, push ups, dips and rows and can provide you with a full-body workout from your own home. Our portable rack requires no tools for assembly, meaning you can take it anywhere you want to.
We also offer a full rig which is the ultimate home gym. We designed the School of Calisthenics Rig with our equipment partners Bulldog Gear. We have a standard size which is 2.25m and an XL version which is 2.5m in height for the taller ‘calisthenics athlete’. The beauty of the rig as a home gym is that with the various attachments, dip attachment and J-pegs, it can quickly be turned into a dip station and squat rack. It really is a complete home gym solution… at least we think so!
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the time for movement and keeping active has never been more needed than now. As stricter government protocols and measures are introduced in service of protecting our healthcare system, the easier it is for us to become sedentary. However, we fundamentally believe that good habits can be just as easy to get into as bad one’s can, and so while you may be working from home or killing time with a Netflix documentary, try to make time for exercise routines and workouts.
We hope that the FREE Bodyweight Basics Bundle won’t just be your short term fix to exercise in this period, but also could be the start of a long term interest and love affair with Calisthenics.
If you would like any more information on the equipment listed above or want to see them in action, then check out our YouTube channel, and let’s all start moving forward together.
Bodyweight Basics is a progressive bodyweight training programme designed to help you master the fundamental movements of calisthenics. It’s specifically created for beginners and more advanced trainers alike and can be enjoyed by the whole family with over 100 bodyweight video tutorials to choose from!
Available for free until 30 April 2020.