Calisthenics is a form of resistance training that relies on your own bodyweight to improve size and strength.
Here’s when you should start calisthenics.
What Age Can You Start Calisthenics?
You can start calisthenics at whatever age, whether you’re 5 years old or 75 years old. Calisthenics provides a ton of benefits for people of all ages, so the sooner you start, the better.
In this article, we cover the maximum age to start calisthenics, whether seniors should do calisthenics or weights, whether young people should do calisthenics or weights, and much more.
What’s The Maximum Age To Start Calisthenics? OR Can You Start Calisthenics At 30, 40, 50 or 60?
In short, there’s no maximum age to start calisthenics.
Whether you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70, there’s nothing stopping you from starting!
Graham Parrington, a 74-year-old male, started calisthenics at the age of 69 with the School of Calisthenics crew.
Here’s what he had to say about his journey with the School of Calisthenics:
Calisthenics has definitely changed my life and I am doing things I never thought that my 30-year-old self would be able to do, let alone now I’m 70!
I had no core stability and couldn’t rotate my arms after being cooped up in the truck cab for so many years but I am a new man and loving the challenge.
Growing old I was concerned about becoming frail and not having any stability but Calisthenics has changed all that and I would encourage anyone of any age to get involved – I wish I had found it earlier.
It isn’t just the physical side of things that have changed my outlook on life. As you grow older it is vital to keep your mental strength up too and by challenging myself to complete different movements I always have a goal that I am working towards and constantly changing my perception of the impossible.
In 152 words, Graham has just proven that age is just a number!
That said, you should always consult a doctor when starting a new exercise program if you’re older the age of 70.
Should Seniors Do Calisthenics Or Weights?
Just like with calisthenics, there are many seniors who do weight training too!
So, you may be wondering whether it’s best to do calisthenics or weights as a senior.
Well in my opinion, you should always do what you find the most enjoyable.
The reason being, if you enjoy something, you’re much more likely to stick to it.
And consistency is super important when it comes to exercise.
That said, looking at anecdotal reports, it seems you’re more likely to get injured from weights than calisthenics so that’s another thing to consider.
Also, how much do you value convenience?
Calisthenics is a lot more convenient than weight training as it can be done anywhere, and you need no equipment (for the most part).
What’s The Best Calisthenics Exercises For Seniors?
If you’re starting calisthenics as a senior, I’d always recommend starting off with light calisthenics.
Here’s 3 epic light calisthenics exercises to get you started.
- Start with your feet under hips at arm’s length away from a wall.
- Place your hands on the wall, with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling and your wrists in line with your shoulders.
- Lean into the wall so that your elbows bend back until your face approaches the wall.
- To complete the exercise, extend your arms back so that you return to the position in step 2.
- Start by standing away from a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms straightened out in front of you.
- Tighten your core and push your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips back as you squat down.
- When your butt approaches the chair seat, hold the position for a second.
- Push through your heels until you return to the starting position.
- Start by gripping an overhead/pull up bar with your hands at shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from you.
- Lift your feet up off the ground so that you’re hanging from the bar.
- Keep your arms straight and maintain the position for as long as possible.
Benefits of Calisthenics For Seniors
Calisthenics Reduces The Risk of Sarcopenia
According to PubMed, Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by loss of muscle mass and function. It primarily affects elderly people.
Sarcopenia can negatively affect your ability to perform normal activities, like walking, lifting things and climbing stairs.
Well the good news is that resistance training, including calisthenics, can help preserve muscle mass and strength.
So by doing calisthenics, you’re less likely to lose physical function as you age.
Calisthenics Improves Grip Strength
Research shows that grip strength is inversely associated with all-cause mortality.
In other words, the stronger your grip, the lower your risk of death.
This is significant since grip strength tends to decline with age.
Some calisthenics exercises, like dead hangs, help improve your grip strength.
So by doing calisthenics, you could argue that you’re lowering your risk of death.
Calisthenics Helps Preserve Mental Function
Mental function also tends to decline with age.
But according to Dr. Scott McGinnis:
Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions.
What’s The Minimum Age To Start Calisthenics?
Short answer – there’s no minimum age to start calisthenics.
That isn’t to say you should force your 2-month old new born to do press ups, but as long as it can walk, there’s no harm in doing calisthenics.
Should Young People Start With Calisthenics Or Weights?
I recommend young people start with calisthenics for a few reasons.
First, many gyms have age restrictions so that you have to be over 12 years old to attend.
So unless you have your own weights, calisthenics will be a lot more accessible.
(You only need your body and gravity to do calisthenics.)
Also, you want to avoid injuries as much as possible at a young age, to ensure it doesn’t affect your development.
And calisthenics appears to be less risky when it comes to injuries.
What’s The Best Calisthenics Exercises To Start For Young People?
Negative Pull Ups
- Start by gripping a pull up/overhead bar with your palms facing away from you and your hands at shoulder width apart.
- Next, using a partner to help you, get into the highest position of the pull up exercise so that your chin is in line with your hands.
- Slowly yourself back into the starting position.
Standard Push Ups
- Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs straight.
- With your core tightened, bend your arms so that your chest approaches the floor.
- As your chest nears the floor, hold the position for 2 seconds.
- Finally, push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms straight out in front of you.
- With your chest sticking out and your core tightened, push your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips back as you squat down.
- Keep squatting until your quads are parallel to the floor, with your knees inline with your toes.
- Return to the starting position by pushing through your heels.
Is There A Best Age To Start Calisthenics?
No, there isn’t really a best age to start calisthenics.
With that in mind, the best time to start calisthenics is NOW.
The sooner you start with calisthenics, the sooner you see results.
It’s that simple.
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.