Does Running Count As Calisthenics?

In this day and age, running is one of the most popular forms of exercise, but can it be classified as calisthenics? And should you be incorporating running into your routine?

The simple and short answer is No, because running doesn’t build any significant muscles, or increase your overall strength. It doesn’t use your body as resistance, and hence, it is not a calisthenics exercise. Some argue that sprinting or interval training could be considered a calisthenic exercise because you build the muscles in your legs, but you still are not using your body as resistance, and when normal people go running, it is usually at a slow pace, not a sprint.

Let’s look into this further to understand what running does and does not do.

Why Don’t You Build Muscles When Running?

When you run, your calves, thighs, and a little of your core are working and straining. You would think then that running would help build muscle and strength in your legs, but that is not the case. Although it can be very taxing on the heart, and may actually promote cardiac muscle growth, it will not promote much skeletal muscle growth. Surprised?

Well, this is because the stimulus is not strong enough to target all the legs muscle fibers. We have three different muscle fiber types, one of which is used for endurance and is known as Type 1 (slow twitch), and the other two are used to provide great amounts of force and are associated with increase in strength and muscle mass. These are also known as Type 2 fibres (fast twitch). Since running doesn’t require a lage amount of force from your legs, Type 2 fibres are hardly fatigued and hence, not a lot of muscle growth occurs.

So Then, What Are The Benefits of Running?

Even though running does not help you build muscle and is not considered calisthenics, there are still tonnes of benefits to running.

  • Firstly running can and will improve your cardiovascular fitness, if you run regularly. The stamina and endurance that you will build will help you run longer and longer distances, and the feeling after finishing a run is a great one.

  • Running is also a great fat burner. If  fat loss in your primary goal, then running will prove more effective a strategy than calisthenics. A high intensity interval running program will improve stamina and endurance and also help you reduce body fat.
  • Even if you think you are in good shape and don’t need to lose any fat, running is still good. It will help you bring your body fat percentage levels down even further so you can really get definition in your abs and make all your muscles look more toned and overall making you look better.
  • If running is something you want to try and maybe start getting into a routine with, then start to add it in slowly. Start by going for a run every Sunday or on one rest day a week. Then you can start to add it into every rest day as a way to keep burning calories even when it is not a workout day. You could do something like Calisthenics–> Run–> Calisthenics–> Run – this will give your muscles a chance to rest between rigorous calisthenics sessions, but the running actually ensures that the rest days are also productive.

  • Running is something I like to do to clear my head or de-stress. Just putting on some music and going for a jog is a good way to get out of the stress and busyness of life. You can just go into autopilot and chill out, while getting in some exercise as well.

To wrap it up, running is not considered calisthenics but is definitely something you should consider doing even if it is just a short run once a week. It is a great addition to your workout routine so try it out!


Article Credits – Scott Maxwell (Full Body Calisthenics)

(Short Bio about me

Hi my name is Scott. I have been doing calisthenics for 4 years now and I would consider myself somewhat of an expert in calisthenics. I own a blog all about it, called Full Body Calisthenics, which provides reviews and tips relating to everything calisthenics.
Visit my home page here: Full Body Calisthenics
And also visit my page on everything to do with Calisthenics: All About Calisthenics

Scott from Full Body Calisthenics.)