Close this search box.

Calisthenics VS Weights – Which Is Better?

Calisthenics VS Weights

For years, fierce debates have raged based on a whole variety of different subjects. For some people, it would be whether a prime Mike Tyson could have beaten a prime Ali. Others wonder whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is the best soccer player in the world – I say, Christiano, just for the record.

For true fitness fans, though, it is a question of callisthenics vs. weights, which is better.

One thing we can all agree on is that exercise is hugely beneficial, regardless of what you do. But let's weight one against the other to see what is more beneficial for you!

First Off, What The Heck Are Calisthenics?

Calisthenics VS Weights

Weight training is pretty explanatory (though we will describe it in more detail a little later on), but what about calisthenics? Calisthenics, like many other awesome things in the world, can be traced way back to the times of ancient Greeks. In fact, the word itself is of Greek origin as it derived from the ancient Greek word ‘Kallos’ which meant ‘beautiful’ or ‘beauty.

Needless to say, if you’re trying to look good and improve your physique, calisthenics is the perfect type of exercise to help you do exactly that. Best of all is the fact that you don’t actually need to utilize any pieces of kit or equipment to do them, as they are bodyweight exercises designed to be done anywhere.

Calisthenics, as they are of Greek origin, was actually performed by ancient Greek soldiers and were reportedly hugely popular amongst Spartan warriors, and we know how bada** they were. We also know how shredded they were, as they had six-packs that made them look as if they had been carved out of marble. Calisthenics exercises are bodyweight exercises such as wall sitting, lunges, mountain climbers, and so on.

The resistance comes in the form of your own body weight and gravity, rather than from weights and machines, but even so, once you get going and do them for a while, you’ll see just how brutal they can really be.

Calisthenics Workout Routines - FULL BODY GUIDE (incl. Warm up/Alternatives/Progression)

Calisthenics is great because they allow you to train outside of a gym, they save time, they build strength, they’re great for cardio, and they’re great for toning the muscles, building strength, and building muscle mass.

Okay, they won’t get you as big and jacked as compound exercises with heavy weights will, but they’ll still do the job and will certainly help.

Pros And Cons Of Doing The Calisthenics Workout:

Right, so, we’ve looked at what calisthenics are, but now we need to find out just what it is about calisthenics that people find so appealing.

Here’s a look at several pros and cons of calisthenics.

1. Burn Fat

When talking about calisthenics, we can’t overlook the fact that calisthenics is so fantastic for people looking to burn fat.

If you feel as if you could stand to lose a few pounds, a few dozen, or more so, make sure you start performing calisthenics workouts on a regular basis.

There’s a reason why so many CrossFit workouts and circuit training sessions incorporate so many different types of bodyweight exercises in there, and one reason is the fact that they obliterate body fat.

The movie ‘300’ starring Gerard Butler saw just how ripped and shredded the Spartans were, and again, one of the main reasons for that was because they kept themselves so fit, lean, and strong by doing calisthenics as part of their training.

2. Tone Up

If you want to look lean and toned, another awesome pro of calisthenics is the fact that calisthenics help to tone the muscles so much.

Calisthenics is great because they work several muscles at once, just like free weight exercises, with the added bonus of helping to make you leaner and more defined.

Calisthenics is great for people who want to adopt a lean physique without being overly big and muscular.

3. Can Be Done Anywhere

Another key pros of calisthenics are that it can be done anywhere.

Not everybody has the luxury of access to a gym, and not everybody has the funds or the time to visit a gym to exercise several times a week.

Some people might simply not like training in gyms.

If you can’t get to the gym, or just don’t want to but still want to work out, thanks to calisthenics you can work out anywhere, at any time.

Calisthenics is bodyweight exercises, so you don’t actually need a gym or any specialist pieces of equipment to train.

All you need is a little open space and your own body for resistance, so what could be better than that?

4. Calisthenics Will Save You Time

Want to train but just don’t have an hour or two to do so?

No problem, just put yourself through a grueling calisthenics workout and you’ll be well on your way.

If you train at a gym, you’ll have to travel to and from the gym, you’ll have to load and unload weights and machines, and you will probably have to queue up for machines or wait your turn.

If you don’t have much spare time, this is far from ideal.

One of the best things about calisthenics is the fact that they will save you a lot of time.

Not only do you not have to travel to a gym, but you can also do the exercises much quicker, which will again save heaps of time.

A calisthenic workout lasting just 20 minutes will potentially burn upwards of 500 calories, making them great for anybody who isn’t blessed with the gift of time.

What Is Weight Training?

Needless to say, you’re probably all familiar with what weight training is so we won’t go on about it too much right now.

Just to be clear, though, weight training is a form of training in which you will utilize free weights in the form of kettlebells, sandbags, dumbbells, barbells, and more besides, along with a plate and stack-loaded machines to exercise.

Weight training is what is primarily done by bodybuilders and strength athletes who are looking to build muscle and bulk up, though athletes and people trying to keep fit can also benefit from it.

Full-Body Circuit Workout | Brandan Fokken

As far as calisthenics workouts go, if your goal is to build muscle and strength, a weight training workout is most certainly the way to go.

What Are The Benefits Of Weight Training?

As we’ve looked at the benefits of calisthenics, because we’re looking at calisthenics workouts, it’s only fair that we look at the benefits of weight training too.

Which is what we’re going to do right now.

Here’s a look at several key benefits of weight training.

1. Build Muscle

Starting off with the most obvious, we have the fact that weight training will help you to build muscle.

If you want to build a big and muscular physique, you need to pick up a set of weights, load up those weight machines, and go ahead and start pumping iron.

We aren’t saying that lifting weights is a guaranteed way to get you big and muscular as if you’re weeks away from making your IFBB pro bodybuilding debut, but if you are trying to build muscle and bulk up, weight training is ideal.

2. Increase Your Strength

Not only will weight training help you to build muscle, another awesome benefit of weights when it comes to calisthenics is the fact that weights help you to build your strength.

If you’re training to increase your strength, whether you’re just looking to improve your 1 rep max, or if you have aspirations of becoming a pro strongman or powerlifter, you need to make sure you are lifting weights.

Calisthenics alone won’t make you as strong as free weights and machines will, no matter how hard you train, so it is certainly worth considering.

3. More Variation

As great as bodyweight exercises can be, one major downside of them is the fact that there are only so many different exercises you can do before you run out.

With weight training, though, thanks to the machines and the free weights and accessories, there are heaps upon heaps of exercises to choose from.

If you want to work your chest with calisthenics for example, other than push-ups, unless you get creative you’re out of options.

With weights, you can do all manner of different exercises just for that one body part.

Having variation in your workouts is very important as this will help you to keep your motivation levels up and stay excited about your training.

Calisthenics VS Weights – Which Is Better?

Okay, so we’ve looked at each type of training and we’ve looked at the benefits of each one, so now it’s time for us to look at which is considered the better of the two.

Fat Loss

When many people exercise and work out, they do so with the intention of burning fat. If you’re trying to lose weight and burn fat, you might be wondering which type of training is best.

Well, for fat loss, we’ve got to give it to calisthenics. David Goggins and his journey may be the best example.

Weights are still very physically demanding and they will indeed burn calories, but because calisthenics is so physically demanding, they do generally burn off more calories than weight training.

If your goal is to lose fat, calisthenics will likely be more effective than weight training.

Building Muscle

We’ve looked at fat loss, but what about people who are trying to bulk up and build muscle?

Well, not surprisingly, if you are looking to build muscle, you would be better off performing resistance-based weight training exercises rather than bodyweight exercises.

That isn’t to say that calisthenics cannot build muscle because they can, but for the most part, weight training is going to be far more beneficial for people looking to build muscle than calisthenics.

Workout Variation

If you find yourself doing the same exercises every single time you train, not only will you become bored, but you’ll also find that your body becomes acclimatized to what you’re putting it through and you won’t make as many gains.

If you’re looking for workout variation, unfortunately, calisthenics loses out on weight training because there is so much choice.

With weight training you can do free weight exercises, you can use benches, you can use machines, chains, resistance bands, and other accessories and you’ll simply find that there are more choices and more variations.

So, Which Is Better?

Without sitting on the fence, when it comes down to calisthenics vs weights and which is better, there is no one true answer to this question because it all depends on you.

If you want to burn fat, tone up, and keep fit at home, calisthenics would be the better choice.

If you want to build muscle, increase your strength, and switch up your routine, though, weight training would be the better choice.

Basically, it all boils down to what you like and what your goals are.


On This Page:
Keep Reading

Related Posts