Mindful Training for Calisthenics – Part 2 (+VIDEO)

In part 1 of Mindful training I gave you a simple three-step mindfulness technique you can apply before starting your workout. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet. It only takes 3’ and other than pre-workout, you can apply it any time for stress relief as well. This technique is great to get you accustomed to presence (grounding you to the current moment) and preparing your mind to enter a more “in the zone” or “flow” state while you workout.

Just applying this technique though isn’t enough since your mind will naturally start wondering again as you get into the workout. Maybe a bit less, but still… Your goal is not to stop your mind from thinking per say – but to rather redirect it’s attention out of your thoughts and into your body. To be fully engaged with the execution of the exercise and your body’s biofeedback.

You do this through two mechanisms of perception:

  1. External awareness (through eye sight): Focusing on external technique such as body positioning, hands placement, etc
  2. Internal awareness (biofeedback): Things you perceive via sensory receptors other than your eyes.


Internal awareness (biofeedback)

Since external awareness is pretty self-explanatory, in today’s blogpost we’ll focus on internal awareness (IA). IA can be divided in two main categories: Performance calibration and spatial/gravital awareness.

Performance calibration: Focus on calibrating the intensity and rhythm used to perform each repetition/movement. Find the perfect amount of exertion for each rep by being aware of the feedback your physiology gives you through each set. Observe things such as your breathing pattern, lactic acid accumulation (that burning feeling your feel in your muscles) and body temperature. There are all kinds of subtle or even stronger sensations and feedback your body is constantly giving you. You just have to be aware of them. Maybe you start to feel a bit light-headed if you’re overdoing it for example.

Think of your body as an engine that has to be working as smoothly and efficiently as possible while performing at it’s best.

Spatial/Gravital awareness: Feel your body’s position in space and how it interacts with gravity. You can practice this by closing your eyes during exercises you feel safe enough to do so. Observe how stabilising muscles react based on your body’s movements and how they keep you balanced.

If you want some more sciency terms for this, study Kinesthetic awareness and Proprioception. In simple words these refer to your body’s ability to move and balance even when your eyes are closed. Your body does this by using receptors such as:

  • your ear’s labyrinth (center of gravity)
  • muscle spindles  (receptors that detect changes in the length of your muscles)
  • receptors in your skin etc.

See the muscle spindles, and how they signal you depending on the muscle’s length. 


The main gist of today’s blog s is to teach your mind to be fully engaged with your workout through all your senses. This will slowly reduce thoughts that aren’t of any use to the workout. The most difficult part is to maintain that mindfulness also during your resting periods. Achieving that, interestingly increases your awareness even more when you’re executing your exercises but also gives the whole workout a very pleasant present feeling.  And that is something we’ll be covering in part 3!

Simply said: “Feel more and think less!




Anthony Arvanitakis

Anthony is a motivational personal trainer currently living in Amsterdam, NL. He has a B.Sci in Sports Science and Physical education and is a Bodyweight exercise and mindfulness meditation enthusiast. Learn more about Anthony's story in his recent 5-star book on amazon - Here.