It’s a well-known fact that as children we develop our emotional intelligence and creativity through play. Once we ‘grow up’ though, playtime seems to be over. Instead of free-flowing physical activities that help us grow new neural pathways, we go to a gym and use the same few movements, even on fixed-plane machines and just work on the same few patterns. Enter calisthenics.
There are two ways that calisthenics will definitely make you more creative:
1. The limitations of your bodyweight
With weight training, making things harder is easy; put more weight on the bar. With calisthenics, it’s a bit more complicated, given that the weight of your body stays more or less the same throughout a workout. And this is a good thing!
This means that instead of just adding weight, or even reps, you’ll experiment with new angles, grips, body angles, leg positions, combinations with other exercises. Heck, you may even learn to improvise extra resistance by using rocks or small children passing by (this is a joke, do not pick up small children to use as weights without their parents’ explicit permission). The point is, developing your calisthenics skills is a creative process and there is no end to the variations you can come up with.
Just think of the first time you saw an archer pull-up. That was created when someone realised they were too strong to get much out of regular pull-ups, didn’t want to add resistance but wasn’t yet able to work on one-handed pull-ups. So they just shifted all their weight over to one side during the movement. So simple, yet so creative.
2. The social circle
When you’re doing calisthenics, you have an incredibly inspirational community of people to work with, whether in person or online. Not a day goes by without people in the calisthenics world posting videos, tips, ideas or motivation to help push you forwards in your calisthenics journey.
What’s more, calisthenics is an inherently social activity, whether you’re practicing your skills at a playground or in the gym. Even people with no idea will come up and ask you to show them how to do a particular movement, or just join in on the bar next to you. This will push you to develop new and fun ways to interact with people through your workout.
It’s said that you don’t stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing. And it’s actually true. As soon as you stop growing new neural pathways in your brain, you start to go backwards. So why not get creative, use your time with your body to develop your mind and your creativity as well. And, of course, have fun with it!