Practising calisthenics comes with a myriad of amazing benefits, and the effectiveness of this type of training has been shown to improve people’s lives in a plethora of different ways. However, there are two aspects of life that calisthenics can help that often get overlooked; bad posture and muscle imbalances.
Most people tend to ignore these benefits, with the overwhelming majority of practitioners getting into the hobby for its muscle-building potential or to impress people with a couple of cool tricks.
Although, after a while, bad posture and muscle imbalances will undoubtedly come to your attention, and you may come to find that years of being hunched over at your desk have done wonders when it comes to destroying your natural biomechanisms.
Fortunately, calisthenics can actually become an essential tool for combatting these issues if done right, and this is exactly what we are going to be telling you about in this article.
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What Are the Most Common Issues?
The sedentary lives that most of us live have caused a myriad of common problems, and in some groups, it is actually more unusual not to have any muscle imbalances/posture issues.
There are three issues that are much more prevalent than others, and these would be:
- Rounded shoulders
- Anterior pelvic tilt
- Posterior pelvic tilt
These three problems are predominately caused by sedentary lifestyles, and they are much more common in first-world countries where desk jobs are the norm.
All of these issues can cause a plethora of ailments such as aches and pains, inflexibility, and ongoing discomfort. Many people go their entire lives without addressing these issues, and in truth, this unnecessary headache is entirely preventable.
There are a few simple things you can do to stop these issues in their tracks, and with enough dedication, you can even reverse said problems and eventually get rid of them completely.
How & Why Calisthenics Can Help
So, now that we know what the main muscle imbalances are as well as their causes, we can now take a look at the solution.
Calisthenics can help posture issues/muscle balances in a plethora of ways, and there are a variety of tools that you will be able to utilise to rectify any ailments you may have.
Moreover, in the overwhelming majority of cases, practising calisthenics is going to be all you have to do in order to correct any muscle imbalances, and seeking further aid is not going to be a requirement in most minor cases.
This is simply due to how calisthenics works. Not only can calisthenics build muscle/strength in any problem areas (something which may fix any problems all on its own), but it also makes you more flexible – yet again, another incredibly important point.
Inflexibility and lack of muscle/strength are the main by-products of bad posture and muscle imbalances, and if you manage to fix these problems, said ailments are likely going to go away altogether.
Examples Of A Few Routines That You Can Follow
In this section, we will be going over and giving you a few real-life examples of routines that you can follow in order to fix any issues caused by bad posture or muscle imbalances.
The routines that we are going to give you are going to cover all of your bases and give you everything you need to fix any imbalances, and we have made them as simple as possible to make things nice and easy.
If you would like something a little more advanced or would like to be walked through a routine step-by-step by a professional calisthenics practitioner, we are also going to include links to a couple of YouTube videos by Tom Merrick whereby he goes through a full routine to fix anterior pelvic tilt.
This can be incredibly helpful if you are unfamiliar with any of the stretches/exercises we are going to showcase.
He also has a video on rounded shoulders and we would highly recommend you give this a watch if you are determined to get rid of your ailments once and for all.
Just one final note before we begin; we have put anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt under the same section, as both of these issues can be fixed through the same exercises. That’s not to say they are both the same thing.
Both anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt are entirely different from one another and are not the same, and this is important to note in case you come to find that you have issues with one and not the other. Let’s get straight into it.
- Pull-ups: AMRAP (as many reps as possible) x 5 sets.
- Plank: hold for as long as possible.
- Handclasp: hold your arms up in the air and clasp your hands behind your head. Gently pull your shoulders back and hold for 30 seconds.
- Door chest stretches: place one hand on either side of a door frame just above head height. Gently lunge forward past the door frame and hold for 30 seconds.
Pull-ups can be repeated every 2 days. Handclasp, plank, and door chest stretches can be performed every day.
Anterior pelvic tilt/posterior pelvic tilt
- Bodyweight squats: 10 reps x 5 sets.
- Kneeling leg raises: 10 reps x 5 sets.
- Plank: hold for as long as possible.
- Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze your pelvis up and press your back into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
- Repeat daily.
How To Fix Any Muscle Imbalance & Prevent Them from Happening in the Future
You may have noticed that we have only covered three different muscle imbalances thus far. Well, there is a good reason why this is the case.
Not only are the three aforementioned ailments by far the most common, but the advice we have shared with you for them also applies to almost any other muscle imbalance you can imagine.
Having a regular workout routine consisting of squats, pull-ups, push-ups, and planks is going to fix the overwhelming majority of posture issues/muscle imbalances, and it is also going to prevent them from occurring in the future.
Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can also make a huge difference – but for the vast majority of people who have desk jobs or other similar jobs, this is just not a possibility.
We truly hope this article will be of some use to you. The effects that bad posture and muscle imbalances can have has always been heavily underplayed in society out of fear of being seen as weak or incompetent, and most people go throughout their entire lives without ever trying to rectify these issues.
Luckily, with just a little effort, anyone can overcome their muscle imbalances/posture issues in no time at all, and you would be surprised at just how much of a difference it will make on your life as a whole. We wish you all the best, and we hope you are able to fix any posture issues you may have swiftly.
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.