Calisthenics and weight lifting are two different forms of strength training. If you are trying to pick one of the two, here is what you need to know.
Why Calisthenics are Better than Weights?
Let’s start by explaining what calisthenics exercises are, and how are they better than lifting weights? Calisthenics exercises target larger muscle groups, and they involve the following workouts: pull-ups, crunches, lunges, push-ups, and squats.
Some might say that calisthenics are better than weights and you might wonder why. What calisthenics involves that makes it better than lifting weights? Calisthenics workout involves body-weight exercises where resistance is a combination of gravity and your own body weight.
Compared to weight lifting, calisthenics is a great way to start working on your fitness goal.
If you are not in shape, starting with weights is not a good idea. Calisthenics workouts can be effective and adjust to different types of fitness goals and experiences. Furthermore, they don’t require any type of equipment and you can do it anywhere. On top of that, you can adjust accordingly calisthenics to the level that suits you the best. Many are often afraid of building muscles with weights (and some are not) but with calisthenics, you won’t turn into Terminator without even noticing. Yes, some do prefer to have those back, neck, and arm muscles and they are easier to build with weights. Still, muscles or not, if you are a beginner start with simple calisthenics.
This doesn’t mean that calisthenics is easy but for beginners, they can be easier and more efficient than easy weight lifting. On the other side, according to studies from the University of Arizona body-weight exercises are safer and they involve a minimum risk of injury compared to calisthenics.
Can You Build Muscle with Only Calisthenics?
It’s clear that with weights you can build muscles but what about calisthenics? Can you build muscles with calisthenics?
The ISSA recommends doing calisthenics workouts if you are looking for maximum return on invested time. The ISSA states that calisthenics workouts can give you resistance that you need in a workout without using weight machines and weights. Furthermore, calisthenics can be adjusted to the level of your experience and to your own fitness goals. For example, you can start
with wall push-ups if you are struggling with regular push-ups. Adjust to meet your fitness goals and to improve with time. Wall push-ups are not easy as well.
It’s important to remember that with calisthenics workouts, the amount of resistance is fixed and closely related to your personal bodyweight. On the other side, with weights and weight machines, you have the option to lower or to increase the resistance that you need, and it’s not limited to your body weight.
Can you build muscle with only calisthenics? Yes, you can to a certain point. You can have a healthy-looking body with built muscles, good coordination, and balance. Once you reach that point and you are super fit, you can go ahead and move with weights if you are looking to get those Terminator’s muscles.
Is Calisthenics more Functional than Weight Lifting?
Are calisthenics more functional than lifting weights? Yes, calisthenics workouts are more functional than weight lifting. The first thing to keep in mind is that calisthenics workouts don’t require any type of equipment which means you can do it anywhere and anytime. All you need is 30 minutes in your day and some space. This is especially convenient for those whose schedule doesn’t allow them to commit to a regular fitness class or for those who travel often. It’s not convenient at all to bring weights with you whenever you are out of town.
On top of that, the fact that you don’t need any equipment and that you can do it home means that calisthenics workouts don’t require you to pay for expensive equipment. Additionally, you can save some money on gym memberships and fitness classes which can be expensive.
Still, anyone who is brand new to working out should go to a gym first and check with the trainer what to do to protect your body. Certain exercises can hurt your lower back or your neck if you are not doing it right. So make sure you are aware of what you should do to protect your body.
Compared to weight lifting, calisthenics workouts have a good fallback option in case you miss your regular workout.
With calisthenics as an option, you are not on anyone’s schedule, and you can work out on your own on body parts that are underdeveloped. However, according to the ISSA, any type of disruption in a daily or weekly workout can lead to muscular imbalances. So regular practice should be followed accordingly. You don’t need too much. Only ten minutes a day will get you started.
Plus, you can find several workout videos online that can help you build a daily workout routine and that can help you find the best form for each exercise. It’s important to stress that the drawback is the fact that you might be doing something wrong without realizing it and without anyone to point it out and help you do it right. When you have the supervision of the trainer, they will correct your mistakes and help you develop your technique which can additionally prevent injuries.
From the other side, the stakes are higher when you are using weights because if you drop one you could seriously hurt yourself. If you are lifting heavy weights, you can hurt your lower back if you don’t know what you are doing. In this case, make sure you are using a certified trainer to help you meet your fitness goals.
In any case, you might injure yourself when doing any type of physical activity. That’s something that you need to be aware of it whether you are doing Pilates, cycling, body-weight type of exercises or you are lifting weights. Injuries happen and you should do everything that’s in your power to prevent it. Calisthenics or weight lifting? Safety first!