I use basic calisthenics exercises to build strength and muscle and preserve and improve mobility, flexibility and joint health. The workout discussed here, and shown in the video linked below, is a complete intermediate workout for those who are interested in building strength and muscle with basic exercises rather than progressing towards skills, and for those interested in preserving or improving joint health. Here is the rationale for the terms:
Intermediate – this workout is intermediate because you are required to lift your entire body weight for all three movements. We are doing gymnastics ring dips, gymnastics ring pull-ups and hover lunge. Both upper body movements require you to lift your entire body weight. The lower body movement requires you to lift almost your entire body weight with each leg. It is a safe, athletic movement and is natural and, given that you work one leg at a time, provides an opportunity for you to address any strength imbalances you might have.
For People Over 40 – Actually it’s for anyone who wants to get stronger and build muscle while not damaging the joints, but particularly for those over 40 for whom straight bar and floor exercises may add just a little too much stress to the shoulders, elbows, wrists and knees. Suspension trainers such as gymnastics rings allow subtle movement of the hands while performing the exercise, and this reduces stress on the joints compared to a fixed movement pattern against a rigid bar or surface where the position of the hands cannot change during the movement.
Warning – Suspension trainer exercises are very difficult because of the additional stability requirement. This is particularly true of pushing movements. If you have not used suspension trainers, you should build up to these exercises with easier versions first. You might start with static stability practice and build up to push-ups and rows. When you are ready to try the dip, you can start with negatives and/or use your legs to assist yourself.
The Program – Do three sets of each exercise with as much rest as you need between sets for you to roughly repeat your performance from set to set. Do as many reps per set as you can, stopping 1-2 reps short of failure. Do this workout three times a week and record your progress. Shoot for adding 3-5 total reps per week.