Developing power and strength doesn’t have to mean spending hours toiling in the gym. As Francis from the Foundry Gym in London explains, there are a few key calisthenic exercises that will see you running faster, jumping higher and throwing farther.
Pushups primarily work the triceps and large chest muscles, but also benefit the core, the shoulders and even the glutes. When performing a pushup, your elbows should always face backwards and stay close to your body. Why? Because this puts your shoulders in a stable, natural and healthy position, therefore lowering the chances of an injury occurring. If your arms are spread out to the side, this puts a huge pressure on the tissue structure as well as the ligaments and shoulder joint. But aren’t these kind of pushups harder? While this may be true, safety should always come first. Overtime the more you practice, the more strength you will build and the easier pushups will become.
Pullups are another movement that benefit diverse areas of the body. Primarily testing the back, shoulders and arms, pullups are the ultimate calisthenics exercise. How to do the perfect pullup? Hang from a bar using a grip of your choice (different grips work different areas of the back). Holding the entire body under tension, pull yourself up by the arms until your chin extends over the bar. A crucial point: Pull-ups rely on upper body strength only, the legs hang freely.
3. Squat Jumps
This is a long-response, plyometric drill, aka a drill that exerts a moderate force on the muscles over a longer range of movement. Squat jumps encourage you to focus on generating both stability and force, both of which require muscular strength. During this exercise, focus on driving upwards with as much force as possible in each repetition to really get your muscles burning and heart pounding.
4. Plank Hold
This is an isometric exercise that works the abdominal area by engaging both the core and back muscles. The longer you can hold the plank, the higher your resistance to fatigue gets, and the better your muscular endurance. Focussing on keeping a straight, unarched back will also help to correct poor posture, which will benefit other exercises.
Strength, power and speed don’t have to mean training in the stuffy confines of your local gym. Using these four exercises as a starting point, taking your explosive power training outdoors and I guarantee you’ll notice the difference.