Running is undoubtedly a very popular activity in today’s world. But is it considered a part of calisthenics? And should you do it?
Because running doesn’t build any significant muscle mass or strength, and doesn’t effectively use your body for resistance, it is NOT a calisthenic exercise. It could be argued that sprint running does build leg muscles and strength, but there are more effective ways to achieve this. And at the end of the day, when most people run, they jog comfortably rather than sprint.
Having said that, just because running is not calisthenics does not mean you should avoid it. Running has a lot of great benefits, chief among them fat loss and improved cardiovascular health. Although you can certainly lose fat and improve your heart health and blood circulation through calisthenics workouts alone, a high intensity interval training (HIIT) running program can’t be beat in this regard.
HIIT refers to a workout where you alternate periods of intense anaerobic exercise (such as running) with slower rest periods. For example, you could sprint for 20 seconds, and then jog for 40 seconds, and repeat this for a total of 10-15 minutes. HIIT is MUCH more effective than the normal, slow-and-steady type of jogging that people are used to. A 10-15 minute HIIT running workout is as effective as jogging for more than an hour. Read up more on HIIT here.
And even if you think you’re in good shape and not overweight, running is still a great way to lose those few body fat percentages to define your muscles and show off your abs. Compare the three men below, one with low body fat, and the other with higher percentages, and you can clearly see how much more toned your muscles become.
In particular, you can see how much more defined the ab and chest area is. So if you’ve been dreaming about a 6 pack, HIIT running could be a great addition to your workout routine.
I personally used to run 3 days a week, to complement my 3-day calisthenics routine. I would do my workout on one day, then run on the next. This way I would let my muscles rest, but still continue to lose body fat. Furthermore, running is not only great for physical, but also mental health, to clear your head and de-stress. Although I don’t run nearly as much as I used to, I still like to go on runs every once in a while.
In sum, if you want to lose fat fast and maintain good cardiovascular health, then running (and especially HIIT) is a great addition to your calisthenics workouts.