Throughout my life, I’ve experimented with dozens of different exercise modalities.
I’ve used barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, sandbags, and just about every other heavy object I could think of to try lifting.
I’ve done parkour, martial arts, Marathons and yoga. I even tried a Triathlon.
I believe my various experiences have helped me become a more well-rounded physical specimen, but after all of those things, I always come back to the simplest, most direct way of training I’ve ever known – calisthenics.
You don’t need to buy anything, go anywhere or put on any special clothing. Anybody can start right now.
As Maya Angelou once said, “Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.” (Or was that Ronnie Coleman?)
There’s a lot to love about calisthenics, but my favorite thing is how it keeps you in the present. When you’re working on developing a new skill, you need to give all of your attention to the task at hand.
When you are completely focused on your training, the division between body and mind breaks down and everything else seems to fall away.
This phenomenon has been called different things by different people. Whether you call it mindfulness, samadhi, flow state or any other name, it’s a beautiful thing when it happens.
This is actually the subject of my first book, We’re Working Out! A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness.
Over the years, I’ve learned and absorbed many things from different places, taken what’s worked for me, and used it all to develop my own theories and methods, which continue to adapt and take shape before my eyes. I’m constantly working to refine and expand my movement repertoire and I still look for inspiration in new and varied places.
I owe a thank-you to anyone I’ve ever trained, trained with, worked with, worked-out with or known in any capacity whatsoever. Some people have obviously had a greater impact than others, but everyone I’ve ever interacted with (even electronically!) has in some way shaped who I am today.
The video below shows a variety of exercises I’ve picked up (and in some cases modified) from different bodyweight disciplines, all blended into seamless, flowing movement.
Be present for your training, have fun and find your own path.