Calisthenics vs. Weight training - Which one is Better?

Calisthenics vs. Weight training – What’s better?

When it comes to resistance training, there is certainly a big misunderstanding for “the best” type of training to go for.

Well, first off, before we jump into the topic, I’d like to mention that picking the right type of training depends on many individual factors, such as current level of fitness, past/present injuries, etc.

Calisthenics vs. Weights

The truth is that both types of training have their advantages and disadvantages.

That’s exactly why we should not reach extremes and religiously practice one of the two, while totally denying the other.

Generally, people who are biased by just one of the two are ignorant, simply because the two types of training can be well combined to reap the benefits of each one separately.

And so, for example, using weights, we will increase our maximum strength capabilities, while bodyweight training will help us develop relative strength – Strength, referred to your body weight.

Furthermore, bodyweight exercises offer movement patterns that do not put excessive tension on the joints and ligaments.

That’s also one of the reasons why many physical therapists recommend natural bodyweight  movements as a form of rehab post-surgery or injury.

On the flipside, we have weight training, which is the quickest and most effective way, if your goal is developing a good-looking and strong physique.

If you do it the right way, weight training will allow you to develop physical qualities like strength, explosiveness, strength endurance, etc.

Benefits of calisthenics

calisthenics legends

  • Relative strength increases
  • Most movements are not stressing for the joints and ligaments
  • Perfect for rehab

It is highly recommended that you implement bodyweight exercises into your routine, especially if you are a beginner.

When you are well into the beginner stage and pushing/pulling your own bodyweight becomes easy, you can start adding mechanical tension by using weights.

Calisthenics are a proven way to get to and stay in shape.

Another benefit of calisthenics is that you don’t really need to invest in a gym membership.

Benefits of weight training

  • Optimal muscular development
  • Increases in maximum strength
  • Allows more specific muscle targeting
  • Targets muscles that the usual bodyweight exercises cannot engage prominently
  • Quicker gains

Again, if you are past the beginner stage, where you lay the basic levels of strength and strength endurance, and your main goal is taking your physique to the next level, then weight training is highly recommended.

So, what should you pick?

gym vs bars

Well, now that we know the advantages of each type of training, which one should you ultimately pick?

The right answer is… Both.

If you completely neglect one of the two, you will miss on gains big time.

We’d advise you to experiment with combinations of bodyweight and weighted workouts.

Keep in mind that in doing so, you will certainly develop not only a more pleasing to look at physique, but also a very functional one.

The table below will simply show you what type of training to focus on, depending on your current level of fitness/training experience.

The answer is- Both. Completely excluding and denying either one is pure ignorance. You can rather try and smartly experiment and combine both bodyweight and weighted exercises.

Keep in mind that using bodyweights, as well as free weights in a combination will certainly develop a better overall, aesthetic muscular development, as opposed to using just one.

With a smart combination, you will not only develop a pleasing to look at physique, but you’ll also be explosive, strong, flexible and a master of your own body.

Below is a table, in which we have given you some tips to help you choose and implement the proper type of training.

BeginnerIntermediate Advanced 
Bodyweight exercisesA balanced ratio of bodyweight exercises and weight trainingPrimarily weight training with a good amount of bodyweight work

Bottom line

Ultimately, there really isn’t a “best” type of training and comparing two types is only viable when we’re talking about the development of certain physical qualities.

That is to say that for example, 10 mile cross-marathons would be worse than short, resistance training workouts, when the goal at hand is muscle growth.

However, the cross marathons would be better for developing the aerobic qualities of the body (Check our article on the 3 energy systems of the body).

Following this logic, we can conclude the following – If you are looking for an overall well-developed physique, you should include an array of exercise activities, including but not limited to weight training and bodyweight training.

It is more about smartly combining the different types of training and emphasizing on certain ones, depending on your goal.

Last but not least, keep in mind that tunnel visioning one single type of training or goal is not the best idea.

After all, being able to bench press 140 kg for 1 repetition is nice, but you also want to be able to jump, sprint, crawl, climb, pull, etcetera.

Remember that the body is a full-on adaptive bio machine, which you can make complete use of!

 

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