Calisthenics or strength training with weights? There is hardly a question that the fitness world is currently more concerned with. In this article, we present the advantages of both training methods. We also try to answer the hotly debated question. One thing should be said in advance: The decision whether to do calisthenics or strength training with weights depends mainly on your personal training goal.
Calisthenics vs. strength training with weights
Calisthenics is a special form of physical training that involves simple, often rhythmic movements. The training equipment used in calisthenics is almost exclusively your own body weight. Since hardly any additional weights are used, a progressive increase in load is achieved by changing the lever arm or by performing the exercises more explosively. Supersets are also possible and a heavier form of exercise can be chosen (for example, one-arm push-ups instead of push-ups with both arms).
Strength training with weights is different. Here you simply adjust the load by increasing the training weight. Another fundamental difference between calisthenics and strength training with weights is the number of repetitions (for muscle building): while strength training involves training in sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each, the number of repetitions per set is significantly higher in calisthenics.
The advantages of Calisthenics
Probably the biggest advantage of calisthenics is that you don't need a lot of calisthenics equipment for an effective workout, usually a pull-up bar or gymnastics rings are enough. Accordingly, you can train anywhere and at any time, i.e., you are very flexible as far as your training times are concerned.
Admittedly, in big cities there are many gyms that are open 24/7. But at Calisthenics, for example, you also have the option of doing your workout outdoors. This is especially advantageous on hot summer days - who doesn't know the stuffy air in the gym as soon as the 20-degree mark is cracked.
Pushing your limits in a group
Another big plus of calisthenics is the community within the training group. Working out together is not only more fun, but it motivates you to really push yourself to your limits. Of course, calisthenics can also be done alone. And if you want to ensure the best possible variety, simply alternate between training alone and in a group.
Save money with dead weight exercises
Calisthenics is very inexpensive in the long run, after all, you only need a little equipment, which you will own for many years in the best case. And even if you decide to buy a portable pull-up bar and other equipment to increase the intensity even more, you'll save a lot of money compared to a gym membership.
No two workouts are the same
This aspect is especially interesting for those who don't just follow a trend, but want to keep fit for years to come: With calisthenics, no two workouts are the same! This is mainly due to the group dynamic and the fact that you don't increase the load by simply adding weights. Instead, you vary the exercises so that they become more and more challenging. There is a wide variety of exercises available, so you can be sure that Calisthenics will never be boring. This is often different for the experienced athlete when strength training with weights. Anyone who has ever trained for several months at a stretch knows what we are talking about.
Strength training with weights - benefits
Now you may have the impression that calisthenics is superior to strength training with weights in every way. However, it is not that simple. There are also some aspects that speak for strength training with weights:
Generally speaking, strength training with weights is more effective in terms of muscle building. The reason is simply that the dumbbells offer more room to move upwards, so progress is faster.
To explain, in calisthenics, your own body weight is the maximum resistance. In strength training with weights, on the other hand, you can easily put on 100 kg and more.
Even though calisthenics exercise always targets more muscles at once than strength training, dumbbell exercises are more effective in strengthening the passive musculoskeletal system. The increased resistance not only works and strengthens the muscles, but also the tendons and bones.
When strength training with weights, you can adjust the resistance much more precisely to your performance level in order to set an optimal training stimulus. This ensures a more consistent muscle development and a linear increase in form.
Calisthenics or strength training with weights: the training goal gives the answer
As you can see from the above explanations, your training goal determines the answer to the question whether calisthenics or strength training with weights.
Dead weight exercises are great for increasing your overall fitness and for shaping your body. Functional strength is also the main focus here. If you also want to achieve very good body control and optimal coordination, calisthenics is just right for you!
In addition, dead weight workouts are excellent for stimulating fat burning. This is mainly due to the fact that each exercise involves multiple muscle groups.
On the other hand, if you want to build strength and muscles in the shortest possible time, strength training with weights is the right measure. Of course, you can also build muscle mass with bodyweight training. However, it takes much longer than with dumbbells and barbells. We have already explained the reason for this.
Attention: If you are completely new to the strength training scene, the question of whether calisthenics or strength training with weights is irrelevant for you at first. Beginners should first train on guided machines. This way the body gets used to the new load and the basic movements and training principles are learned.
Combine the exercises for the best possible training results
Many strength athletes combine their own weight exercises and strength training with weights. In this way, the benefits of both training gardens can be combined. While you specifically build muscle in the gym, you improve your coordination and functional strength with calisthenics exercises. In addition, with bodyweight training you automatically develop better body control and better flexibility.
Calisthenics or Strength Training with Weights - Conclusion
There is no clear answer as to whether calisthenics or strength training with weights is better or more effective. Rather, both training options have their advantages and are suitable for achieving different goals. It is best to combine both types of training. This way you get the maximum out of your body. After all, that's what most exercisers want to achieve. Use heavy weights to build strength and muscle, and bodyweight exercises to build athleticism. Not only will you stay extremely powerful, but you'll look super athletic to boot.
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