Calisthenics is a timeless fashion of train. It comes from the traditional Greek phrases kállos and sthenos, which means magnificence and power. The great thing about power coaching all through historical past is that it’s at all times been doable to do with your body weight alone. Any motion you may prepare within the fitness center, you may prepare with calisthenics.
Calisthenics coaching is commonly used interchangeably with bodyweight training (though there are some key variations). The precept is that you just don’t want heavy weights to construct purposeful power. As a substitute, you’ll use compound actions that hit all of your main muscle teams to construct full-body power, muscle mass, and stability.
Doing highly effective body weight actions outdoors on the bottom and on a pull-up bar will translate into long-term power and mobility features. Whether or not you need to construct kallós sthenos just like the Greek gods or are in search of a fast and soiled exercise you are able to do outside of the gym, let’s dive into calisthenics — the place to start, and the place to go from there.
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Calisthenics coaching is resistance coaching utilizing solely your body weight. Resistance coaching refers to exercising whereas placing further stress in your muscle tissue with exterior weight or your physique weight. A resistance coaching program with progressive overload will assist your muscle tissue develop and grow to be stronger. (1)
Resistance coaching usually contains exterior load, and as you carry heavier, you may build more muscle and power. Calisthenics is proscribed to solely your physique weight however can nonetheless be progressed by altering your base of assist and doing more volume. Since calisthenics by no means makes use of greater than your weight it could be optimum for joint well being, however extra analysis is required. (2)
Calisthenics workout routines recruit a number of muscle teams for stabilization and balance. Whereas fundamental workout routines could look easy at first, you’re nonetheless going to be working your complete physique. (2)
The Greatest Calisthenics Workout routines
Calisthenic workout routines begin with the identical fundamental movement patterns which can be key to a balanced coaching program with or with out weights. You possibly can push, pull, squat, hinge, lunge, and work your core utilizing solely your physique weight.
Whereas it could be tough to isolate your muscle tissue in calisthenics, you may nonetheless work your upper body, decrease physique, and core to accommodate every kind of coaching splits. The perfect calisthenics workout routines to effectively tax your physique are compound actions that cowl multi-joint actions.
Higher Physique Calisthenics Workout routines
Higher physique calisthenics workout routines are going to hit your main muscle teams: chest, back, arms, and shoulders. They will all be regressed for inexperienced persons and progressed and mixed for superior athletes. In the event you’ve maxed out your push-ups, begin coaching handstand push-ups.
Whereas calisthenics workout routines technically don’t require equipment, you’ll need to seize onto one thing in your pull-ups, dips, and rows. Calisthenics is typically known as a road exercise and you are able to do these actions with objects that may be discovered outdoors.
Decrease Physique Calisthenics Workout routines
Decrease physique calisthenics workout routines begin with the fundamentals of day by day motion — squatting, hinging, and lunging. You possibly can progress these motion patterns can by turning them into unilateral exercises, including deficits (to extend the vary of movement), and using explosive jumps.
Core Calisthenics Workout routines
Many core exercises are already calisthenics. You possibly can prepare your core by studying to withstand motion — equivalent to anti-rotation exercises — and selecting each isometric and dynamic workout routines. A few of the extra superior actions you’ll have seen contain your full physique, however core power and stability are main elements in workout routines just like the human flag.
Since calisthenics makes use of your physique weight, it could sound prefer it’s the identical factor as bodyweight training. Let’s take a look at a number of variations and similarities between the 2 types of coaching.
Not All Body weight Coaching Is Calisthenics
Calisthenics is a type of resistance coaching that makes use of your physique weight. Resistance coaching provides exterior load — not essentially weights — to problem your muscle tissue to get stronger and develop. Calisthenics may be put in a program with progressive overload that will help you attain targets of elevated power. Some analysis reveals it could actually assist construct muscle as effectively. (2)
Whereas all calisthenics workout routines are body weight workout routines, not all body weight workout routines are calisthenics. For instance, yoga, dancing, and running are all technically body weight workout routines that serve completely different functions and produce completely different outcomes — however, they’re not resistance-based calisthenics coaching.
Whereas a Westernized vinyasa yoga class is commonly used as train, it isn’t progressive overload-oriented calisthenics coaching. Based on the precept of specificity, you’ll get higher at what you’re coaching. You’re going to get stronger at holding sure poses. You possibly can incorporate yoga poses right into a calisthenics session, however yoga itself shouldn’t be calisthenics.
Calisthenics workout routines like handstands and push-ups are sometimes present in superior yoga lessons. Equally, strikes like these could also be present in types of dancing. Dance is a type of body weight train, however it isn’t resistance coaching. Operating and sprinting are additionally workout routines utilizing your physique weight, and whereas you may get stronger and higher at them, they’re not calisthenics.
All Calisthenics Is Body weight Coaching
Not all body weight coaching is calisthenics, however all calisthenics is body weight coaching. All calisthenics workout routines solely use your physique weight to engage your muscles and carry out repetitions of resistance workout routines.
There’s some gear that can be utilized to help in calisthenics workout routines. Some examples are pull-up bars, rings, parallettes, and TRX suspension trainers. You may as well use resistance bands to extend the problem of bodyweight squats and good mornings. All of those aids will create extra stress and issue however nonetheless don’t improve your physique weight.
Each Have Cardio Advantages
Cardiovascular exercise is related to decrease blood strain and resting coronary heart charge and a decreased danger of CV ailments. Common cardio train also can increase nitric oxide bioavailability, which might enhance vasodilation or blood circulation. (3)
Each calisthenics and different types of body weight coaching can be utilized as cardiovascular exercises. A repeatedly shifting vinyasa yoga or dance class could be a type of steady-state cardio. Sprints can be utilized as a part of a HIIT (high-intensity interval coaching) exercise. Jogging or operating may be manipulated by many variables to grow to be brief or lengthy cardio exercises.
Calisthenics is commonly characterised as rhythmic — even with relaxation breaks, you’re frequently shifting. All resistance train is technically cardio since you’re working at a higher heart rate. You possibly can construction your calisthenics exercises as sports-specific conditioning to get different cardio features by utilizing completely different codecs like EMOM (each minute on the minute), AMRAP (as many reps or rounds as doable), or HIIT.
Whereas calisthenics is an efficient fashion of coaching that may be accomplished outdoors of the fitness center, it depends upon what efficient means to you. There are some issues you may solely obtain with added weight. Let’s check out what calisthenics and weight training have in frequent, the place they differ, and the way they will work to complement one another.
Each Can Assist You Construct Energy And Muscle
Lifting heavy weights with progressive overload will in fact allow you to proceed to carry heavier. You’re going to get stronger and the quantity of weight you may carry will proceed to extend. If you’re following a hypertrophy program along with correct nutrition, additionally, you will construct muscle.
Calisthenics can even make you stronger to an extent. As a newbie, studying to interact your muscle tissue and construct stress to assist your joints and physique weight is vital. As you repeat the actions you’ll get stronger. Though you can’t add more weight to your calisthenics workout routines, you may progress them to proceed constructing power.
One examine was accomplished evaluating the impact of progressive push-up coaching to bench pressing on the flexibility to construct muscle power and thickness. The examine discovered that within the brief time period, push-ups and bench presses have been equally efficient at constructing higher physique power and muscle. (2)
This examine signifies that earlier research on calisthenics failed to point out that calisthenics is efficient at constructing power and muscle — as a result of the earlier research solely increased intensity by rising the variety of repetitions. (2)(4) This examine progressed the push-up utilizing power coaching ideas: conserving the repetitions low however various the train by altering hand and physique place. (2)
The examine factors out that rising repetitions is efficient at building muscular endurance — so doing extra push-ups will assist your muscle tissue endure extra push-ups earlier than reaching fatigue. However various and progressing the train, as accomplished on this examine, is efficient at offering coaching depth to increase muscle strength. (2)
That’s the key to constructing power and muscle via calisthenics — adapting progressive overload ideas in methods aside from merely including extra reps.
Nonetheless, this examine concludes by stating that though short-term results have been related, the bench press is more practical at constructing long-term upper body strength and muscle than the push-up. As you attain probably the most intense push-up variations, you’ll max out on how a lot muscle power you may construct. (2)
Weight Coaching Will Assist You Carry Extra Than Your Body weight
In calisthenics, you’re restricted by your physique weight as to how a lot you may carry. You possibly can progress with calisthenics workout routines by altering your base of assist and physique place. However if you’re a powerlifter or working in your one-rep max in your deadlift, calisthenics isn’t going to do all of the heavy lifting for you.
Apart from the bench press and push-up examine, there hasn’t been a lot analysis accomplished evaluating different weighted and calisthenic lifts. It factors out that lifts such because the squat and deadlift could not have comparable calisthenics alternate options. The only-leg pistol squat progressions could also be an alternative choice to the again squat, however there hasn’t been sufficient one-to-one analysis on it. (2)
You can pistol squat from a deficit or an unstable floor, however you’ll theoretically attain a degree the place you max out on how a lot power and muscle you may construct with out including weight.
Calisthenics Can Assist Put together for Heavier Lifts
Calisthenics and weight coaching each name so that you can know easy methods to have interaction your muscle tissue and construct stress to carry out managed, resistance-based actions. There are expertise concerned in weight training you can solely study by lifting weights, however a few of the power you construct in calisthenics could possibly carry over to heavy lifts.
In the event you’re a sophisticated calisthenics athlete who can do a freestanding handstand and handstand push-ups, you could succeed shortly at studying to do an overhead press and improve your weight. Though you’ll need to study correct kind and engagement, you have already got numerous overhead power from studying to manage your physique the wrong way up.
Quite the opposite, in case you’re capable of do a heavy overhead press however have by no means accomplished a handstand, there are extra conditions you’ll need to study to handstand, together with mobility. That’s one advantage of calisthenics coaching — it requires numerous mobility, and also you’ll improve it by engaged on these workout routines.
Equally, if you are able to do pull-ups and muscle-ups, you’ll most likely be capable of do a reasonably heavy seated lat pulldown. However in case you primarily prepare heavy seated lat pulldowns, when you could possibly pull heavier than your physique weight, it’s not the identical ability as doing an unassisted pull-up.
In each examples, in case your purpose is constructing muscle and power, you’ll be capable of progress extra doing a heavy overhead press than a handstand and a heavy lat pulldown than a pull-up.
None of that is good or dangerous — it’s simply completely different. Calisthenics may also help you put together to study to carry heavier by utilizing your mobility and power to manage your physique weight. Alternatively, it could actually’t completely exchange lifting heavy weights in case your purpose is finally to max out lifts.
In the event you’ve accomplished any resistance coaching in any respect, you’ve most likely already accomplished some calisthenics. If you’re new and need to learn some advanced skills, let’s begin with the fundamentals that will help you learn to do empowering body weight actions just like the push-up, pull-up, and handstand.
Construct As much as a Push-Up
In the event you’re able to study a push-up, first, get snug within the high of the place — the straight-arm plank. This can be a nice isometric core exercise that may allow you to construct the power and management to assist your physique in your fingers and toes.
You possibly can then follow a sequence of workout routines as you construct up the power to do a full push-up. After you grasp each on the listing, transfer on to the subsequent.
The development will take your physique from vertical within the wall push-up, to diagonal within the incline push-up, to horizontal on the ground. When you attain the ground, you’ll follow push-ups with your knees down. Then you definitely’ll carry your knees up however solely decrease down midway. Lastly, you’ll full a full push-up to the ground.
- Straight-Arm Plank
- Wall Push-Up
- Incline Push-Up
- Kneeling Push-Up
- Half Push-Up
- Full Push-Up
Construct As much as a Pull-Up
While you need to obtain a pull-up, there are two predominant issues it’s essential to work on: pulling your body weight and the skill to hold on to a bar. Beneath are a number of workout routines that will help you get began.
The inverted row may be accomplished from any angle and teaches you to drag your physique weight up from the ground. The extra upright you’re, the simpler it will likely be. Get extra horizontal to extend the problem. In case you have entry to a bar, begin coaching your lifeless hold. That is going to build your grip strength and endurance to carry your physique weight within the air.
You’ll progress to doing scapular shrugs that will help you begin to pull a few of your weight a brief distance and develop your skill to hold on. You possibly can add lengthy resistance bands to your bar to begin doing assisted pull-ups, so the band takes away a few of your physique weight.
Chin-ups could also be a bit simpler than a strict pull-up and it’s one other train you may work on that will help you progress. Begin with a band on these as effectively.
Construct As much as a Handstand
Able to do a handstand? Energy apart, let’s start with mobility. You’ll want sufficient shoulder flexion to succeed in your arms up by your ears with out overly extending your backbone. You want sufficient wrist extension to comfortably assist your self along with your wrists bent at 90 levels. Hamstring mobility goes to be key to serving to you kick up and maintain your legs straight within the air.
Subsequent, you may follow a sequence of workout routines that will help you get snug being the wrong way up. Strive the downward-facing canine yoga pose to begin. That is technically an inversion as a result of your coronary heart is above your head. This pose can even clue you in on the state of your shoulder and hamstring mobility.
Similar to the push-up, you need to be certain you may maintain a straight-arm plank earlier than making an attempt a handstand. This can allow you to construct the power to assist your physique weight with your wrists prolonged at 90 levels. The subsequent step is to raise your toes away from the bottom in your plank and play with transferring extra weight into your fingers.
Then, you’ll need to elevate your toes larger so your legs may be perpendicular to the bottom. You’ll primarily be in a handstand however along with your legs at 90 levels as an alternative of up within the air. Your physique will likely be in an L form.
While you’re able to kick up, use a wall or tree for assist. After you’ve received that down, strive it with your chest going through the wall. When wall-supported handstands really feel doable, you may play with taking one foot off of the wall after which the opposite.
- Downward Dealing with Canine
- Straight-Arm Plank
- Elevated Plank
- Elevated Plank With L Form
- Wall Handstand (again in opposition to wall)
- Wall Handstand (chest going through wall)
It’s finest to have somebody spot you on these workout routines.
For inexperienced persons seeking to begin calisthenics or any sort of resistance coaching, it may be useful to begin with a full-body workout. You’ll do a balanced quantity of quantity in your higher physique, lower body, and core.
This pattern exercise contains bilateral and unilateral knee-dominant actions in addition to upper-body pushing and pulling. You’ll have two isometric core workout routines as effectively. Every of the actions will put together you to do extra superior variations as you progress.
Carry out these three workout routines as a circuit and relaxation for one minute in between rounds.
*To progress with incline push-ups, lower the incline till you get nearer to the bottom.
Carry out these three workout routines as a circuit and relaxation for one minute in between rounds.
- Reverse Lunge: 3 x 12
- Inverted Row: 3 x 12
- Straight-Arm Plank: 3 x 30 seconds
For intermediate athletes, you may progress your exercise with extra superior variations in your workout routines. With calisthenics, it’s arduous to get a coaching impact by splitting your workouts up by higher or decrease physique. This intermediate exercise is full-body, with extra superior compound movements and new expertise to study.
Carry out the Bulgarian cut up squats and push-ups as a superset.
- Field Soar: 3 x 10
- Pull-Up*: 3 x 10
- Bulgarian Split Squat + Push-Up: 4 x 10
- Wall Handstand Maintain: 3 x 30 seconds
*In the event you can’t do a set of 10 pull-ups, do as many as you may for every set, or strive band-assisted pull-ups or leaping pull-ups.
As you get extra superior at calisthenics, progress your leg coaching by selecting unilateral lower body exercises. These are going to tax your physique greater than bilateral actions.
Your upper body exercises will progress by incorporating extra advanced and tough actions. A muscle-up begins with a pull-up and a handstand push-up begins with only a handstand.
There are numerous superior calisthenics workout routines you may start studying. This superior exercise contains a mixture of 5 superior higher and decrease physique workout routines. You may additionally need to study new expertise just like the human flag and dragon flag.
Carry out the workout routines so as.
You have already got every little thing it’s essential to begin calisthenics — your physique weight. Calisthenics has its limitations as to how a lot power and muscle you may construct when in comparison with weight coaching. However it’s free, adaptable, and could also be helpful to your physique in different methods.
No Gear Wanted
One of many greatest advantages of calisthenics is that it may be accomplished anyplace and also you don’t want any gear. You’ll want a pull-up bar for extra superior strikes, however you can begin it at present with simply your self.
You possibly can absorb some vitamin D by taking your exercise open air. You should use timber as partitions and inclines and road curbs or park benches to create deficits. If you need some safety from the bottom, convey a towel or yoga mat to throw down.
In the event you usually want weight coaching, calisthenics is a good choice for a exercise you are able to do whereas touring and away out of your routine. You are able to do it in a hotel room and produce resistance bands to up the depth.
Calisthenics workout routines are largely compound, multi-joint actions that work a number of muscle groups on the identical time. You’ll be taxing your complete physique throughout every train, which can improve your coronary heart charge and lift the depth.
In the event you’re brief on time you can dedicate to coaching, compound movements are a good way to get probably the most bang in your buck.
Performing full-body workout routines additionally requires your muscle tissue to stabilize and stability your joints. This may also help construct core power and stability. This additional work can also assist to proportionally develop your muscle tissue. (2)
Adaptable to Each Talent Stage
Each calisthenics train may be damaged down into its most straightforward kind for inexperienced persons. You should use progressive overload ideas to extend the problem for superior athletes, and you may learn to do wonderful issues with your body.
It’s adaptable for folks of all ranges and ages, however fundamental calisthenics actions are additionally purposeful and may be helpful for older adults. Calisthenics may also help carry out actions of day by day residing, lower the danger of falls, enhance bone well being, and gradual the method of pure muscle loss attributable to getting old. (5)
Older adults also can profit from lifting weights. However for individuals who could also be homebound or in any other case unable to carry, calisthenics works effectively.
As a result of nature of calisthenics workout routines, you’re going to be actively utilizing your range of motion in your joints. Growing your vary of movement — to a protected diploma — is one option to progress calisthenics workout routines as effectively.
An train like a half squat could be a nice choice for coaching a shorter vary of movement in weight coaching. However with out the choice of including an exterior weight to progress a squat in calisthenics, studying to go deeper may also help you make progress.
Handstands, pull-ups, and muscle-ups construct and require shoulder and overhead mobility. Pistol squats and Bulgarian cut up squats reinforce hip mobility. Planches and push-up progressions contain sturdy wrist mobility. as effectively.
Progressive overload refers to step by step rising the depth of your exercise — typically by rising the load — over time to make you a greater lifter. (7) This fashion, you gained’t slap on additional depth too shortly with out your physique being prepared. However you’ll additionally at all times be enhancing via heavier hundreds, tempo coaching, manipulating your vary of movement, relaxation instances, or different intensity-boosting factors.
In calisthenics, there’s no exterior weight, however you may nonetheless adapt the precept of making workouts more challenging over time to make progress. Let’s take a look at a number of choices.
Change the Train Angle
One variable to control in calisthenics is the exercise angle. With many workout routines, strive including a deficit. In a reverse lunge, you may improve the peak of your platform to make it more difficult. You possibly can progressively field leap as much as the next floor. Elevating your toes in a push-up will recruit extra muscle tissue in your chest, arms, and back.
To progress inverted rows, get your physique nearer to the bottom or extra horizontal, and also you’ll have extra distance to drag. You may as well elevate your heels in a body weight squat in case you’re not capable of get to full depth in any other case.
Change the Base of Help
Based on biomechanics, altering your base of assist will make an train much less secure and name for extra muscle recruitment. That may correspondingly improve the problem.
A method to do that is to go from bilateral workout routines to unilateral workout routines. You possibly can progress from a body weight squat to a pistol squat, and squatting your complete physique weight on one leg goes to be rather more taxing.
If you wish to even the taking part in subject between your bench press and push-up, for instance, carry out more and more tough variations of push-ups. One instance of a variation is the one-armed push-up. (2) Taking one arm out of your push-up places numerous the work onto your remaining arm and also will work your core and chest extra.
Equally, in case you max out on pull-ups, you may take away one hand and study one-armed pull-ups. Planks may be progressed to planches by eradicating your toes from the bottom. All of that additional work goes into your arms and core.
Taking away a few of your base of assist will trigger the remainder of your physique to work more durable. Over time, this will construct some severe power diversifications.
Strive Tempo Coaching
Tempo training is a approach of shifting slowly via an train and specializing in the eccentric (reducing) and concentric (contracting) phases. You may additionally maintain isometrically on the high or backside of the motion. All of those manipulations improve your time beneath stress.
Adjusting the motion pace in the course of the eccentric and concentric phases may also help a lifter get quite a bit stronger. Repeatedly focusing throughout tempo coaching all through a training cycle can result in diversifications in power and hypertrophy. (8)
So if you’ve maxed out on how sophisticated you may make a push-up, strive reducing down for 5 seconds and holding on the backside for 5 seconds. Really feel the burn and relish the feeling of getting stronger.
For inexperienced persons, you may progress calisthenics by merely including extra reps and units and lowering relaxation time. In case your purpose is muscular endurance, this can work as effectively. Strive rising the quantity by doing an EMOM of various body weight workout routines. This may work for conditioning on the finish of a exercise, too.
In case your purpose is power or hypertrophy, it’s extra helpful to play with different variables. Merely doing extra reps could not get you there. (2)
When including quantity begins to plateau and it’s simply not environment friendly so as to add extra, begin manipulating different variables. Scale back the quantity once more and sprinkle in some angle modifications or tempo coaching. Then, construct the quantity again up with these modifications. You’ll break through plateaus very quickly.
Calisthenics is power coaching utilizing solely your physique. You’ve gotten every little thing it’s essential to begin. While you’re prepared, get outdoors and get shifting.
- Calisthenics is a style of resistance training utilizing solely your physique weight.
- All calisthenics is body weight coaching, however not all body weight coaching is calisthenics.
- You will get very sturdy with calisthenics coaching, however you want weight coaching for max power and hypertrophy gains.
- To begin calisthenics coaching, begin with simplified variations of actions push-ups, pull-ups, and core work.
- A newbie calisthenics exercise could be a full-body session of circuits with compound actions.
- Intermediate athletes can progress the foundational actions and start studying new expertise.
- A sophisticated calisthenics exercise could be a mixture of explosiveness and high-skill isometric movements.
- Calisthenics coaching has many advantages: it may be accomplished anyplace; works all of your main muscle teams in compound actions; may be regressed and progressed for all ranges; and should enhance your mobility on the identical time.
- You possibly can adapt progressive overload principles with out including exterior weight to your calisthenics program by altering the train angle, lowering your base of assist, making an attempt tempo coaching, and rising your quantity.
Deadlifting isn’t the one option to get stronger. Calisthenics coaching won’t lead you to a one-rep max pull, however it could actually foster the power, mobility, and sheer athleticism it’s essential to conquer all method of fitness challenges.
From studying pull-ups and handstand push-ups to muscle-ups and even human flags, the artwork of calisthenics coaching simply requires you and your physique weight. (And perhaps a pull-up bar.) You can begin as a newbie or as a sophisticated athlete. No matter your expertise degree, give calisthenics a strive. The features will communicate for themselves.
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