Calisthenics became popular only in the last decade when a video on YouTube went viral. A video of Hannibal for King in 2008 went viral, and that’s how Calisthenics started to gain its ground and became popular. And since then people started to learn and train in calisthenics as it was different than the usual powerlifting and weightlifting training. International and national competitions began to emerge, and this art of training started increasing its popularity.
Calisthenics name came from the combination of two words, kálos which connote beauty and sthénos which connotes strength. Calisthenics is a form of training which does not require any equipment, props or machines. The sole idea is to train and workout by using nothing but your body. The biggest benefit that comes out from training calisthenics is that you learn to use your body weight and gravity to increase difficulty and resistance instead of relying on equipment and most important a place like a gym where one needs to buy a membership.
This guide on calisthenics exercises during menstruation speaks about the various problems and questions that most of the women face during their periods. In this guide, we will cover why one should prefer calisthenics over conventional workout sessions, the benefits of working out during menstruation, different calisthenics exercises which can be performed during periods, number of different questions that most women have, few tips explaining how to work out more effectively during periods and some myths and misconception related to menstruation or periods.
Why should one Prefer Calisthenics over Conventional Workout?
There are a number of advantages that calisthenics has over other training methods. The first and the most important benefit of calisthenics is that it can be performed by people of any age, there is very little to no risk of getting injured, for example, there is a high probability that one may get injured while using weights.
Another significant advantage is that you just need a small space. You can perform calisthenics at your home where you are most comfortable, you will not need to purchase any equipment or machines, which brings another advantage into picture and that is you don’t need to spend any money, the only two things that you will be spending is your time and energy, which makes calisthenics efficient and convenient. The only purchase requires is of a Pull Up bar, which also is not mandatory but only required once you make it to the advanced form of calisthenics.
One might argue that calisthenics is not challenging enough, but they cannot be more wrong, Calisthenics has hundreds of different bodyweight exercises which ranges from beginner to advanced. For example, a beginner would find knee assisted push-ups challenging at the start, whereas once the person progresses, they will find there are variations such as planche push-ups or handstand push-ups that increase the scale of difficulty level. In addition to this, calisthenics exercises are more preferable during periods, as opposed to weight training because of the excessive strain that those exercises can create on the stomach and lower back.
Workout during Menstruation
Menstruation or Periods can sometimes be very inconvenient part of a women’s life although they are completely natural. Even though there is no clinical evidence or data that menstruation affects the ability to exercise, there are a lot of anecdotal evidence and beliefs or misconceptions that tend to make people believe that somehow mentally affects a women’s ability to perform exercises. There is no taking away that during menstruation a women’s body goes through a number of changes which affects them mentally and physically.
The physical symptoms, emotional and behavioral changes all account to a disturbance in regular daily routine. And these changes and definitely affect a women’s ability to maintain the regular intensity of exercises and to be physically active. Being said that, one question that most women have regarding menstruation and exercise is, ‘Is it safe to exercise during periods?’
Few Benefits of working out during Menstruation
Now that you know that working out during menstruation is completely safe and there is very little to worry about. Let us talk about some of the benefits that women can gain by exercising during their periods.
1. Exercise during the periods helps women release the mood-enhancing endorphins that can take of their mind from the discomfort caused and pain experienced during periods.
2. Performing exercises can lead to regular periods and can also aid in experiencing fewer cramps. It also aids in reduced heavy flow during periods.
3. Performing exercises will result in sweat and due to this, the water leaving from the women’s body will help relieve some of the uncomfortable belly bloats.
4. Another benefit that women can attain by exercising during menstruation is better circulation and higher metabolism. Because of this, all the process inside the body will be working well and thus relaxing the muscles around the uterus.
5. In addition to the above benefits, performing light and regular exercise sessions during menstruation will keep your fitness routine going and thus creating a positive impact on your overall health.
Being said that, it is also important to take care of yourself during menstruation. Yes, do exercise, but high-intensity workouts should be avoided and keep the intensity at low to moderate level. Though it is important to understand that for women who suffer pain and excessive bleeding must avoid any exercise routine, because it will make them weaker and can lead to more pain, ultimately.
Safe to Perform Calisthenics Exercises during Menstruation
Before starting any exercise, it is important to get the body warmed up a little. This can be done by taking a slow walk, along with some stretching that is going to make you feel a lot better and more energetic for performing bodyweight exercises. In addition to this, stretching helps in getting rid of cramming in the pelvic area as well.
1. Side Lunges
Lunges is one of the most effective lower body exercises and works efficiently on your glutes and quadriceps. It also engages your hamstrings and strengthening such muscle groups does increase your metabolism, which ultimately helps in reducing fat. However, lunges can be a great exercise to perform during menstruation. Though, it is advisable to go for side lunges as opposed to normal lunges.
The side version of the exercise is much gentler on your physical state of the body during periods. The exercise feels easier on the knees and thus will cause less pain at the time of periods. The side lunges will help in reducing the cramps in the hips, thighs, and butt.
The different steps which are involved in performing the range of motion for side lunges are as follows.
1. Start by placing your feet and knees side by side. Now from this position step to the side with the right leg and then lunge towards the floor.
2. While performing the above range of motion, make sure to maintain and keep your left leg straight.
3. Now from this position, go back to the starting position and then repeat the same movement with the left leg.
4. Perform around 5 to 8 reps, and keep the intensity from low to moderate for the side lunges.
It is important however to make sure that you do not over exercise during periods, as this can lead to excruciating pain.
Planking is one of the most popular exercises mostly because of the core strengthening ability that it provides to the exercise doers. It is known to engage a lot of different muscles and works simultaneously on each one of them.
Not only strength, but this exercise is also great if you are looking forward to building some flexibility in your posterior muscle group. Ironically, most of the exercise works as a mood booster. And plank is no different. The stretching motion performed during plank helps in relaxing the muscles that tend to become stiff mostly due to sitting for a longer period of times.
Plank exercise helps in releasing the tension and thus uplifting your spirit. The different steps which are involved in performing the range of motion in plank are as follows.
1. Start by holding the elbows directly underneath your shoulder and then put your hands flat on the ground.
2. The knees must be hip-width apart, and the body must be kept in a straight line from shoulder to hip.
3. Now extend the feet in the back direction and start to lower the elbow down towards the ground, while maintaining a straight back.
4. Hold the position for about 10 – 12 seconds and then perform the repetitions as much as possible.
Just like side lunges, do not overdo the plank position as well. Keep the intensity moderate and avoid in cases when you are experiencing pain. Stop doing the exercise, if you are not comfortable and or bleeding more than usual.
Squats is one the best exercise that can be performed during menstruation. The muscle group that this particular exercise targets are the core, thighs, and butts. Squats provide the exercise doers with a high metabolism rate and thus helping women to lose the weight quite effectively. In addition to this, it also improves the blood circulation in the body and thus can be great for women during their periods. The different steps which are involved in performing the range of motion in squats are as follows.
1. Start in the upright position and place your feet shoulder-width apart. From this position, extend both of the arms in front of the chest.
2. Now slowly push yourself down towards the floor as if you are trying to sit on an imaginary chair.
3. Push your thighs down towards the floor and get it as parallel to the floor as possible. Your heels will be getting a lot of pressure.
4. Now push through your heels and get back to the starting position to perform as many comfortable reps as possible.
You can start your workout session during periods by performing controlled repetitions of squats and once it is done and you feel performing more exercises that you can opt for other calisthenics exercises like side lunges and plank. Be sure to back off immediately if you feel fatigued from this exercise.
Also, take a longer than normal time to recover in between these exercises.
4. Push up
There is no bodyweight exercise as versatile and as efficient as a regular push up. Women can perform this versatile exercise even when they are going through their menstruation cycle. A compound exercise, which mostly requires the use of upper body muscles, makes it a great exercise to be done during periods. This exercise increases the strength, stability, and balance of the body. Just like squats, push-ups also enhances the cardiovascular system of your body, thus making your heart provide oxygen-rich blood to the various tissues in the body. The different steps which are involved in performing the range of motion in regular push-ups are as follows.
1. Start by getting into the plank position, but place your palm against the floor as opposed to the elbows in the plank.
2. The elbows must be maintained at a 90-degree angle, and start pushing the body down towards the floor slowly.
3. Do not touch your body to the floor and slowly get back in the starting position from the down position.
4. Maintain the position for a few seconds and perform as many controlled reps as possible.
Drink as much water as possible to keep yourself hydrated during the exercise and shun off the regime, when the body feels tired and fatigued. Take a longer recovery time between exercises and keep the intensity low. Do not perform more than 2 – 3 sets of 8 reps during your periods.
5. Leg Lift
Calisthenics exercises can be a good thing for women during periods as they do not have to leave the comfort of their home. They can perform a number of different bodyweight training exercises from their own bedroom and stay fit and relaxed during menstruation as well. Leg lift is another bodyweight exercise that women can do during their periods. It can help to loosen up their back muscles, abdominal and pelvic muscles. The different steps which are involved in performing the range of motion in leg lift are as follows.
1. To initiate the exercise, start by lying down on the mat. Straighten your legs out completely and then start lifting the right leg, such that it creates a 90-degree angle with the floor.
2. Hold the body in the above position for a few seconds, and then bring the leg back down to the starting position.
3. Now perform the same set of motion with the other leg. This entire motion completes one repetition.
4. Perform as many repetitions as possible. It is advisable to do at least 5 – 8 reps in a controlled motion.
This exercise is quite simple and can be performed from the comfort of your own home. Yes, menstruation can be a quite cumbersome experience for women. Though, bodyweight training can help you overcome some of this fatigue and help relax the body.
Not only different bodyweight training as described above can be fruitful during periods, but even simple walking regime during the time can help women a lot. Going for a normal walk of around 30 minutes is the best exercise women can do, during their menstruation periods. Doing this will help them to release tension around the pelvic area, relieve bloating and the stretch in the lower back.
The intensity involved in this exercise is quite less and thus won’t stress out the body that much in comparison to other exercises. Try doing the exercise for about half an hour. However, if the body doesn’t desire to do so, try going around the house for a few times.
The movement of the leg helps in releasing the tension around the pelvic area, effectively reducing the pain. Another benefit with this exercise is that there is less to no probability of you harming yourself. However, something to keep in mind is that excessive walking may lead to an increase in bleeding. So based on your physical state, take up the exercise accordingly.
Another exercise which you can include in your regime during the periods is jogging. This can help you release the endorphins that can prevent the icky experienced during menstruation. Again, do not go for a high-intensity session and try to keep it to a moderate level. Be sure to drink a lot of water during the exercise, before and after it as well. It is quite easy to get dehydrated during jogging, especially in your periods. Thus keeping yourself hydrated throughout is the key to a productive jogging session.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it safe to exercise during periods?
If you are one of those women, who is wondering whether or not they should continue their daily exercise routine even during the menstruation cycle then be informed that it is completely safe to exercise during periods. Moreover, some people say that exercising during periods is actually good as it helps in relieving some issues like fatigue, headaches, anxiety and other.
However, if there is something to be completely avoidable during such time is the inverted yoga pose. The inverted yoga pose requires one to stand on their head, and this can become an issue during periods. Such poses can engorge the blood vessels in the uterus, which can lead to more bleeding and cramps.
2. Do Women Lose More Weight during Menstruation?
It can be a difficult task to motivate yourself for hitting the floor and exercising, so losing some extra calories can turn out to be a good motivator for women. However, there is no evidence that can prove this claim to be genuine. Being said that, it is still a good idea to hit the floor and get the ball rolling, as working out will definitely help you to lose some calories if not more.
However, exercising during periods will definitely help you to minimize bloating. As extra water weight goes away, it might seem that you are losing excessive weight during periods, because of training. Thus, regardless of whether you lose weight or not during menstruation, it is still a good idea to exercise a little bit and loosen up your muscles to release the tension in the body.
3. Does the Risk of getting injured is Higher during Periods?
This is one of the biggest misconceptions that most women have when they are undergoing their periods. Exercising during periods does not increase the risk of you getting injured. However, if you are bleeding more and in excess than normal than you might feel more fatigued.
But there is no scientific evidence that proves that the risk of getting injured due to exercising is higher during periods. It is a myth and a misconception that most women around the world have. Doing it properly and in a controlled manner has more benefits to offer to your body than the harm that it may cause.
4. Is it okay to do Yoga Poses during Periods?
The answer to this question is yes. It is perfectly fine to do yoga poses during periods. However, it is not advisable to go for inverted yoga poses. Few of the poses which can be tried out during periods are – Bow Pose, Plow Pose, and Camel Pose. However, it is important that you breathe properly while performing these poses, as it can help to relieve some of the pain. Such poses can also help you in regularizing your periods.
5. Does Exercise lower the number of Period Days?
This is a tricky question and the answer to which can also be a bit tricky. However, the short answer is yes. Doing exercises during periods can lower your period days. But the long answer, however, depends on a number of different factors. Factors like, how much time you exercise, how often you exercise, what type of exercises you are undergoing and the intensity of these exercises. All of these factors play a crucial role in determining the length of your period. But in general, yes, performing exercises can reduce the length of your period.
Few Tips for Work out during Periods
The body can undergo more pain and stress by working out during periods if it is not done carefully and or if it is done excessively. Thus, keeping the intensity to the level which your body can take is of utmost importance for your wellbeing. Following are the various tips which can be helpful for you, while exercising during periods.
1. First and foremost, it is important to remember that it is perfectly safe to exercise during menstruation. So keep yourself relaxed and hit the floor without stressing much of your brain on the issue. Keep the workout to low intensity, if need be.
2. Having the right and comfortable clothes on the body will definitely help you boost your confidence.
3. Make sure to use appropriate protection during periods, so it adds to your confidence while working out.
4. Do not go for weight training exercises as this can put a lot of strain on your stomach and lower back, which can lead to you being uncomfortable on the floor.
5. Avoid doing inverted yoga poses, during the periods. It is not advisable to do inverted yoga pose exercises.
6. Lastly, but importantly, keep yourself hydrated all the time during your exercise regime. One can get dehydrated quite easily during periods. Being hydrated will prevent you from unwanted headaches, exhaustion which can be experienced during periods.
7. And, if you feel uncomfortable, stop working out and seek a doctor if the problem persists.
Extra Tips for Pleasant Work out Experience
1. Adjust your Exercise Plan
For sports person and other people who exercise daily and do not want to lose out on any training day, is quite natural. Thus it is important to adjust the training plan in accordance with the menstrual cycle and plan accordingly. Do exercise, but take your periods into consideration as well.
2. Work with Periods or Menstrual Cycle
There is no way a woman can go full out on each day of the month. Your periods and menstrual cycle simply won’t allow you to do so. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to lose out on a training day and or suffer from excessive training. You can use this phase of the month, to do different activities and comfort level that won’t affect your menstrual condition much.
3. Make use of Menstrual Product which makes you feel Comfortable
That feeling of being self-conscious mostly because of the product you are using during periods can often create hindrance in your way and will stop you from doing what you actually want to do. Being afraid of leakage and or an unpleasant smell is quite obvious during periods. And since most of the pads are made of synthetic fiber, the phenomenon of sweating will be more than normal.
Thus, it is important to make use of the product in which you feel the most comfortable so that you don’t have to keep worrying about a leakage or smell in public places like the gym. Using the right product will add up to your confidence and thus your ability to work out better.
Myths about Exercising during Periods
1. The most common misconception about periods and working out is that it is not safe to exercise during those days of the months. This is absolutely untrue and should be avoided as a belief. The truth is that most of the experts encourage women to exercise during periods.
2. Another myth that floats around periods and exercises is that women gain more weight just before their periods. This is also untrue. The truth, however, is, that it is just water retention that usually disappears by the time periods starts.
3. The third myth about the period is that women lose more weight if they exercise during periods. Like stated above, this is not true. So do not force yourself into the high-intensity workout thinking you will lose more weight if you do heavy exercises during your periods. There is no evidence to back this claim.
The bottom line in all of this is that regular exercises definitely adds value to your mind and body. There is no reasons or any scientific evidence that suggests that workout sessions should be avoided during periods and or menstruation cycle. There is no completely any harm in working out during your periods. However, it is important that you take good care of your body at the same time.
It is important to keep the routine at a low to moderate level and avoid the exercises if you are experiencing any form of discomfort. Even when you are experiencing excessive bleeding during your workout sessions, stop immediately.
Being said that, calisthenics exercises play an important role in boost your mood and energy during periods. It reduces the pain in the pelvic area and makes your body more flexible. It is important, however, to keep yourself hydrated throughout the session, as the body can get dehydrated quite quickly during periods.
There is absolutely no reason for you to skip your fitness regime during periods and do compromise with the healthy living lifestyle of yours, because of menstruation. Reduce the intensity, if you feel fatigued, but do not give up on the regime. Take extra minutes to recover in between exercise and do what needs to be done to stay healthy and fit.
For all the women, who like staying fit, read our guide to calisthenics during menstruation and drop a message below in the comment section, in case if you still have any more doubts related to menstruation.