Calisthenics are a types of exercise which use the weight and resistances of your own body to build muscle and increase cardio fitness levels. One of the best things about calisthenics is that they require no other equipment at all, however, there are precautions that must be taken before doing these exercises. In other words, you will need to get your body ready by stretching to avoid injury to your muscles.
Stretching is a means of slightly, for lack of better terms, stretching the muscles a bit to loosen and warm them up. Stretching also has an added benefit of getting the blood circulating a little better and preparing your body for the exercises. Here are some important calisthenic warm up drills you should do before working out to get the most from your workout and protect your body from injuries.
1. Neck Stretch
This is good not only for exercising, but for those of us who stare a computer screen all day long as well. With your upper body erect, let your chin fall to your chest and allow you head to fall all the way forward. You should feel the stretching on the back of your neck. Now let your head lean to the right shoulder feeling the left side of the neck stretching. Do this towards the opposite shoulder as well. Now, let you head fall back with your mouth closed. Hold each position for about 10 seconds or so.
2. Thigh Stretch
Standing up, take your right leg and bend it up behind you towards your buttocks. Grab your right foot with the left hand and pull it towards to your buttocks a little more. You will need to balance on your left foot. To make this easier, pick a stationary spot in front of your and focus on that intently. If you need to hold onto something at first that is alright. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each leg.
3. Groin Stretch
Sitting on the floor place the bottoms of your feet together and allow your knees to fall to the sides as much as they will. Reach forward and grab your feet with both hands. Pull your feet towards you as much as possible and hold them in that position for 10 seconds while allowing your elbows to hit your knees pushing them down as much as possible. Do this three times.
4. Side Stretch
Standing upright with your feet about shoulder length apart clasp your hands together, arms outstretched, above your head. Now bend to one side as far as possible while keeping your arms and legs straight. You should feel the opposite side of the body stretching. Hold this for 10 seconds and lean the other way. Do this 3 times for each side.
A couple of important points for stretching is not to bounce, you want to hold a position as bouncing can cause tears and injury. Remember that stretching is something you should feel in the muscles, but it should not hurt. If a stretch hurts, you are pushing it too far. Ease back and take it a bit slower. As times goes on, these will become easier and easier, giving you a better workout and all around better calisthenics experience.