Calisthenics vs. Weights – What Brings You Fast Results

Man doing a pull up using a pull up bar vs man lifting a weight in gym

Calisthenics vs. weights? Which one is better for your body? This is a question that pervades many fitness junkie’s mind, and we simply have to know.

Well, the fact of the matter is that it all comes down to your personal preference. Both are great for you in a variety of ways. In this article, we are going to talk about the great things for each method of exercise.

Calisthenics and Weight Training

A weight is a weight! That’s how we are starting off this lesson. We are bringing this up because bodyweight is just as valid as holding weights in your hands.

For instance, think about the exercise move you know as “push-ups.” This is a bench-press style movement that works your chest, triceps, and the resistance you feel is your body’s own weight.

Many of us have a hard time doing even five push-ups, even if we are people who work out frequently. When those drill sergeants in movies tell the recruits to drop and give ‘em 20, they aren’t playing around.

The exact resistance is not your entire bodyweight, as you are supported in part by your legs.

A simpler explanation (but harder exercise by far) is the handstand push-up. If you are advanced enough to do them without the help of the wall, you are in essence doing an entire push-up of your whole bodyweight.

We hope you have gleaned from this quick talk that your bodyweight is a form of weight that you can use for resistance training, just as you would with a dumbbell or barbell found in a gym.

Calisthenics vs. Weights Training for Fat Loss

You might say, “I weigh 60kg and I can do a 65kg overhead barbell press-but I cannot, for all the money in the world, do one of those cool handstand pushups at all. Even with the wall support, it’s a bust.”

Don’t worry about that for right now. The important thing to remember is that resistance is the same the world around.

Remember that old trick question from childhood: “What weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?” The answer is that they are the same. That applies to resistance too-it’s all good for your fitness!

We all know that 10kg is 10kg. Whether it’s your bodyweight or a dumbbell, it’s all the same. The body interprets it the same, too. If enough resistance is brought forth and used to overcome a weight or movement by the body, then the muscles doing the work to overcome such an obstacle recover and adapt to the demand, becoming stronger and more defined in the process.

Your body, muscles and brain do not care about what is causing this resistance to happen. They just know that production of force is going to be what gets them over this resistance.

Calisthenics Body vs. Weightlifting Body

a body or physique of a person who does calisthenics vs a body of person who lifts weight

Sure, you can lift that 65 kg barbell with ease. But why is it so much harder to push yourself up into the air?

The difference is that the balance demand aa well as the disoriented state we sometimes get when going upside down are obstacles. On top of that, we might be afraid of falling and hitting our heads or breaking our necks.

The benefits that you get if you stick with calisthenics versus simply weightlifting are numerous. One is a body that is well coordinated. Balancing on one’s hands is a skill that requires fine motor skills of both your wrist and your hands. This is true even if you are using the wall for support.

The muscles that stabilize your shoulder have to work much, much harder as this is something that is not typically done!

Until you can stabilize those muscles in your shoulder, the shoulder blade has to make the brain believe the shoulder is safe and will not be injured. You won’t use all the strength in your deltoids and triceps.

Your core will also be well trained. You Have to engage your trunk and your core in all calisthenic moves. So, do not fear having a weak center.

Fat Loss During Calisthenics

a calisthenic transformation before and after picture of a young male indicating significant fat loss

The good news is that it is easy to maximize your fat loss when you are doing calisthenics. Multi-joint exercises like pull ups, pushups, squats, and more boost your testosterone as well as your human growth hormone levels You will find that they expend the highest amounts of calories too.

Why is this important? Well, you need to have a calorie deficit when you aim to lose fat. Eating more calories than your body burns is the way to fat storage. Meanwhile, creating a calorie deficit through healthy eating and exercise that’s effective-like calisthenics-is the key to safe and effective fat loss.

Muscle Gains During Calisthenics

a transformation picture of young male who has gained muscles through calisthenics

The stress that is put on your body during calisthenics is what will help your muscles grow big. Plus, it’s a way to build muscle through commitment and hard work without spending money very much at all.

You can work up to more and more advanced movements, leading to bigger and more developed muscles as a result.

The secret to why calisthenics gives you muscle gains is in the following:

  • Positive/Concentric movement-movement where you go up in your push up. It’s the motion of an active muscle while it is retracting under the load.
  • Negative/eccentric movement-this is where you go down in the push up. It is the motion of an active muscle while it is lengthening under the load.

Calisthenics requires you to slow things down and focus on your form. We know it may seem slow paced, but we know it delivers the best results you could ask for! It pays to go slowly when executing some movements as it helps you gain bigger muscle mass. Eccentric movements are not to be underestimated. 

Conclusion

If you are ready for results that matter and an exercise that really works without breaking the bank, you owe it to yourself to read about calisthenics vs. weights.

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