Top 7 Benefits of Calisthenics Over Weight Training

Man doing a pull up in background

Although much of the popular perception of fitness has to do with weight-lifting, calisthenics is actually a cornerstone to a fit lifestyle. Calisthenics are repetitive exercises that use no equipment or weights other than the weight and resistance of your own body.

Recently, bodyweight exercises have become a major strategy in gaining well-muscled, lean physiques. Check out our Top 7 Calisthenics Benefits below to find out why.

calisthenics is free. Image of a till in the shape of a pig

1. Calisthenics Is Free…Sort Of

A primary excuse given about avoiding the gym is the membership fee. The prospect of having to spend money on a gym membership is quite daunting to many. However, calisthenics does not need a gym to be effective.

With calisthenics, the workout equipment is your body. Your body and some space are all you need to get through a circuit of calisthenics.

Granted, if you need some form of equipment, you might want to invest in a pull up bar. Otherwise, you can practically go anywhere for these exercises.

You can even go to your local park and take a spin at the playground. I mean, it is called a “jungle gym” for a reason. Essentially, calisthenics eliminates gym or equipment fees. It is focused on showing you how to maneuver your body in the most effective exercises.

man doing strength training in the background

2. You Gain Functional Strength

When we talk about functional strength, we talk about strength needed for daily life tasks. The great thing about calisthenics is that it is full of exercises that prepare the whole physique for the wide variety of daily stresses.

From push-ups and pull-ups to squats and dips, manual labor made much easier than before. This method works because calisthenics is based on your own body weight. That means your body is being worked exactly as it was designed to work. Rather than developing muscles that just look aesthetic, you have muscles that are useful.

Calisthenics can also help you improve at weight lifting. Doing certain calisthenic exercises can help you get better at certain lifting exercises. For example, a decline push-up can improve your bench press.

picture of upper body muscles and bicep muscles with perfect muscle tone

3. Improved Muscle and Tone

On that note, the functional strength weaned from the calisthenics relies on how it builds muscle mass and strength without weights. Many people think that to build muscles you need to use complicated weight training. That is far from true.

You see muscles are built on progressive resistance. The first step towards progressing your muscle growth is by progressing past your body weight. That being said, calisthenics is a great place for beginners to start basic muscle growth. It still provides a reasonable amount of muscle mass and maintains it very well.

Of course, when you look at it, calisthenic does not produce muscle growth as fast as weight lifting. However, looking at calisthenic benefits vs. weights,you will see that calisthenics virtually avoids potential muscle strain and trauma that can happen with weight training.

man doing a warm up exercise

4. Flexibility

In addition, calisthenics benefits your flexibility. As a matter of fact, flexibility goes hand in hand with building muscle mass. You cannot improve your flexibility without muscle strength. The more muscle mass means that there is more to extend, stretch and flex. Moreover, it means it is much easier to stretch at all.

before and after picture of a calisthenic transformation

5. Weight Loss

The effect of calisthenics on weight loss is two-fold. Since calisthenics is a whole-body workout, you essentially build muscle and tone all around the body. In turn, your increased muscle mass improves your resting metabolic rate.

This means you burn more calories on a daily basis. Secondly, calisthenics increases your overall heart rate. As a result, your muscular and aerobic exercises are more effective at burning fat.

men doing endurance training on a mountain

6. Endurance

One of the best calisthenics benefits is that they also greatly improve your endurance. Calisthenics relies on whole body exercises done in repeated circuits. This means you have to do as many repetitions of each exercise without stopping.

Continuously performing these exercises along with adequate rest, means your endurance will increase. Soon, the length of time you can go through these exercises without getting exhausted will grow. Calisthenics ensures that each body part and system is equally involved in your fitness.

man in the recovery phase after a high intensity workout

7. Rest & Recovery Are Faster

Again, as powerful as weight training can be, it can take a major toll on your body. Apart from the muscle aches and joint pains, the recovery period can last a while. Not to mention, the addition of equipment, especially weighted equipment, invites potential accidents and injuries.

Calisthenics benefits over weights because your rest and recovery period is much shorter. Your potential for injury is also limited because you are not working with any other equipment than your body.

Granted, calisthenics can still put you through the same amount of exhaustion as weightlifting. It is just a matter of the tension and volume of exercise you do. You still get sore with calisthenics, but your body is able to recover better when it is only handling your body weight.

Pros & Cons of Calisthenics


  • You can practice calisthenics anywhere, and without equipment.
  • You only need an open space to practice calisthenics.
  • Calisthenics has a shorter recovery period so keep that in mind.
  • You work multiple muscle groups at once.
  • There is less muscle and joint strain.
  • Calisthenics is easier to progress in, which is great.


  • Calisthenics is not ideal for building muscle mass quickly.
  • Unlike weight-lifting, calisthenics is limited to your body weight.
  • Calisthenics does not focus on isolated muscles.
  • Proper calisthenics technique can be a learning curve because if you do not get the technique right the exercise is not effective.


Although our lives continue to become busier and more fast-paced, neglecting our health and fitness should not be an option. Calisthenics can fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle and accommodates to your specific body type or fitness level.

It doesn’t matter what your physical goal is, calisthenics benefits your health in the long run. If you have any questions or comments, please share them with us below!

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