Many people don’t understand that Calisthenics and Weight Training are not that different. If you want to get stronger, you have to set the muscle under tension for the enough time and for the enough resistance for your goal. There are many ways to train depending on your goals. Some want to learn advanced movements. Some want to build a good physique. And some just want to stay fit and active.
Let’s see what kind of training is right for you, here are the pros and cons of each type of training.
Calisthenics can be done nearly anywhere and anytime.
One of the biggest pros and you also need very little or no equipment for your training. You can learn new movements and have more creativity and overall freedom. In weight training, the exercises stay nearly the same. Bench Press is Bench Press, no matter which weight you use. All you do is adding of weight.
But if you do calisthenics, you can learn new movements after you’ve mastered the basics. You can learn stuff like levers, flags, handstand, pushups, planche, muscle ups and also combinations of these exercises. You can use calisthenics to build up a physique. You can train for strength or just learn complex movements and master your body weight. Another benefit is that you target various qualities simultaneously.
When you progress into the advance Calisthenic move, you are going to be challenging in various ways. Such as you are going to build strength, coordination, mobility, flexibility, and overall body control.
The next point is compound movement training which means you have no isolation exercises, which can be a pro and a con. Isolating muscle’s weak spot is very hard to do with bodyweight exercises. You always have some stabilizing components in every move which also train other than the targeted areas. Good because in most cases you don’t need isolation exercises.
Our body is designed for complex movements which involve multiple muscle groups and joints.
Another benefit is that you tense more than one or just a few muscle group which gives you a well-coordinated component and saves you some time when training. But if you want to target only a particular muscle or to recover from an injury, you can integrate isolation exercises by using machines or other equipment.
Now let’s talk about the cons of calisthenics.
Like mentioned above, it’s hard to isolate muscles. In few cases, isolation exercises are necessary to train weak points or help recover from different injuries. If you have such an issue, you need to use the machines or other equipment because you almost can not isolate a particular muscle completely with calisthenics.
You have limitations in leg training. You can train your legs only with your body weight. Because our legs have large and strong muscles and most calisthenic leg exercises would be a strength endurance or endurance training.
There’s no problem to train your legs for strength endurance and your upper body for maximum strength, as long as you keep a balanced body and avoid too big imbalances. But if you want to build massive legs or train for maximum strength, you should train your legs with weights.
Even if you do pistol squats and are only able to do like 5 reps or so, in the most cases, it’s more limited because of missing technique than a lack of strength.
The progressions are harder to measure and to understand. In weightlifting, you can progress in very little steps by adding small weights. In calisthenics, you all progress from a move you already mastered to a harder one. You do this by changing the lever or work into work with 1 armed or 1 legged execution.
It’s harder to understand how you can change a body weight exercise to make it more difficult or easier than just adding weight.
The steps from one progression to another can sometimes also be very big and hard. And it’s much easier if you can just add up an exact amount of weight.