Calisthenics and weightlifting are both excellent forms of fitness exercise and strength training, and they are effective building stronger muscles, better stamina, and healthier bones. While weightlifting utilizes specialized weight training equipment or free weights for resistance, calisthenics relies on a person’s body weight for resistance. But is calisthenics better than weights? To rely on external weights to develop muscle or rely on your body for strength training?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has been a source of huge debate in the fitness world. While the arguments – for and against – have their merits, calisthenics has proven to be a better strength building method. How so?
Just like weights, calisthenics helps your body add resistance
The purpose of calisthenics for workouts is simple: flexibility, endurance, and strength building, without the need for any equipment. But why is calisthenics better?
Unlike weights, typical calisthenics exercises that add resistance to your body involve probably the most straightforward moves. Depending on the exercise you commit to, and how hard you work at it, your body can add enough resistance to help boost your endurance levels and build your strength. Some of the common calisthenics exercises include squats, pushups, dips, one-legged deadlifts, wall sits, lunges, jumping jacks, burpees, and bridges.
But why is calisthenics better for body resistance? The great thing about this fitness plan is that you can do any of the exercises anywhere – in your kitchen, in the basement, or even while watching TV. They are a great way to exercise and remain active throughout the day.
Benefits of calisthenics over lifting weights
A major advantage of calisthenics over lifting weights is its flexibility and convenience, allowing you practice at any time and anywhere you are. Since your body is your primary tool, you can easily fit your exercise plan into your daily schedule, eliminating the need for gym trips. For this reason, calisthenics is a primary workout regimen in schools and the military.
Great for group workouts!
Calisthenics also allows for group workouts. With everyone training hard during a session, you will be extra motivated to meet up with your set training goals and objectives. Group calisthenics is especially ideal for those who enjoy CrossFit, as it heavily relies on body weight training.
Calisthenics is also great for weight loss and toning since it requires aerobic endurance. Over time, you will be able to get lean and fit, rather than build much muscular strength. The integration of calisthenics into your workout regimen is also ideal for ‘six-pack, calorie burning, and your overall fitness plan, depending on the intensity of the workout routine.
Unlike working out with barbells and dumbbells, calisthenics exercises can help you work on multiple muscle groups in the body. Since your body is your primary workout tool, calisthenics enables you to tap into several muscle groups since many of such workouts require that you use different muscles and body parts to complete your workout routine.
Core and balance
Calisthenics exercises are designed to work on your core strength. This means that not only does calisthenics condition the whole body physique, but it also helps you discover your strengths and where you’ll need compensating. This way, you will be better able to build on specific body parts to ensure symmetrical fitness.
Less risk of injury
Calisthenics exercises significantly reduce the risk of injury when compared to weight lifting. The body quickly recovers after a workout session, and since the movements typically follow the body’s natural range of motion, calisthenics exercises are a more sustainable plan.
Keep your body guessing
Engaging in exercises at different angles and degrees changes the muscles that you train and works on them in different ways. This keeps your body guessing – a great way to ensure your body does not reach a breaking point.
Can you build muscle with calisthenics?
Is it possible to build strength and muscle without hitting the gym? Yes! Though many today think it is literally impossible to get in shape without lifting weights or hitting a gym, in reality, fitness does not have to be a complex process. Consistent hard work and discipline are all you need to get in your design shape. Here are two calisthenics practices that can help you achieve your ideal strength and muscle mass.
Pull-ups, push-ups, and squats are the three essential strength and muscle building movements. The progressive variations involved in these moves are just enough to ensure an individual keeps developing over time. The trick here is to challenge yourself so you can try out harder variations continually. Regardless of the training method you employ, begin by learning a movement pattern that involves a low level of resistance. As the body adapts to your fitness methods, add more movement patterns; the principle of progressive overload applies to all types of strength training.
If for example, you can’t go with full push-ups initially, you can start with incline push-ups. On the other hand, if you can do up to 30 push-ups consecutively, then you could try out a harder and more intense variant. When you’ve achieved top numbers on those, you could advance to archer push-ups, then try self-assisted one-arm push-ups, and then work your way to go full one-arm push-ups. Although this process could take a while, you can go all the way from incline push-ups as a beginner, to one-arm push-ups within several months or years. You can also apply progressive overload to pull-ups and squats as well.
Sets and reps
If you aim to build mass, you could follow a standard bodybuilding structure. This structure is built around basic calisthenics practices like the exercises listed above. Look out for exercises that will make you fatigue after about 10 to 15 reps and perform each exercise in 3 or 4 sets. In each full-body workout, perform two pull-up movements, two push-up movements, and two squat movements. If you are consistent with your calisthenics fitness plan, ensure you eat well and get enough sleep; without a doubt, you will notice vast improvements in your body’s strength and mass.
Is calisthenics for You?
Does calisthenics align with your current workout goals? Or do you need a different fitness plan to meet your needs? Since calisthenics uses the body’s weight for strength and muscle training, all you need is a floor, a wall, and consistent will-power. But you also need to be sure the exercise is a good fit for your body and your set goals.
If you are looking to develop your whole body strength without any impact on your joints, calisthenics is ideal for you. Since it involves whole body movement, calisthenics is excellent for better muscle stamina, mental concentration, and overall energy. Calisthenics typically boosts the muscle coordination, and for those looking to get rid of stiff muscles, calisthenics allows the body to stay active as well as enjoy mobility even with age.
While calisthenics has lots of benefits for the beginner and experienced trainer alike, it is not an ideal fit for many bodybuilding goals. If you are looking for a more muscle-oriented short-term fitness plan, weightlifting might just be right for you. Since calisthenics utilizes the body weight, gradual progression is encouraged. This will ensure you achieve the needed resistance – and ultimately, your goals. As such, it is not suited to one who is interested in a fitness plan designed to make the most of the body’s muscles within a short period of time.
Is calisthenics for you? The answer is one only you can decide. However, one thing is certain: calisthenics is better than lifting weights for many reasons. It was an exercise plan in the past, it is a working plan today, and it is one for the future too. With hard work, commitment, discipline, you can achieve your ultimate body goals.