Calisthenics vs weights

If you’re looking to get in shape and lose weight, then there might seem like an endless number of exercise options for you to choose from. While there are many different forms of physical activity, strength training is mostly done.

Strength training, or resistance training, is a form of exercise that uses weight training or other resistance-based exercises. Its purpose is to prevent muscle loss and promote the growth of new muscle fibers.

The two most popular types are weightlifting and calisthenics. But between calisthenics vs. weightlifting, which one is best for you?

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What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a form of strength training that uses bodyweight to condition and build muscle. It’s making them leaner and stronger over time through various movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, bodyweight squats, planks, etc.

The main focus when performing calisthenic exercises is to isolate a certain set of muscles to achieve a targeted effect. For example, when performing a pull-up (which uses your back and arm muscles), the main objective is to do as many repetitions as possible without assistance from other body parts such as your legs.

The core characteristic of calisthenics is that it can be done anywhere at any time with no need for equipment or gym membership.

Types of calisthenics

Calisthenics is an exercise that focuses on the body’s natural movements. This includes exercises such as push-ups, squats, and pull-ups. These exercises can be done with no equipment in a short amount of time, making them perfect for those with busy schedules. 

Risk of injury

The exercises are often easier on joints because they don’t involve any heavy lifting or high-impact movements. The risk of injury is low due to the fact that you are lifting your body weight rather than a heavy external load.

However, getting an injury is still possible. This is because many calisthenic movements involve extending your body’s full range of motion (e.g., pull-ups).

It can be beneficial to start with easier variations before progressing to more challenging forms of the same movement. (e.g., pull-ups vs. chin-ups). This way, you can reduce the risk of injury and ensure that your form is perfect each time. With any exercise or workout regimen, it’s important to take things slow and pay attention to details at all times.

Benefits of calisthenics

As mentioned above, there are lots of different benefits when performing calisthenic exercises. For example:

  • You do not need any equipment to perform calisthenic exercises.
  • Low barrier to entry (i.e., simple movements that are easy to learn)
  • You can do it anywhere at any time with no gym membership required
  • Anyone of any fitness level can perform calisthenic exercises

Who is calisthenics best for?

Calisthenics is suitable for people of all ages and backgrounds looking to make strength gains using their body weight. This makes it beneficial for everyone who wants to stay active while growing stronger.

People of all fitness levels can successfully integrate calisthenic exercises into their daily workouts. It gives you the amount of freedom you have when programming your regimen. 

If you’re a beginner, beginning with simple exercises like planks and push-ups can help build a strong foundation for more intense movements, like pull-ups and flys later on down the road.

On the other hand, people who already have experience working out and want to keep it fresh can find success in adding calisthenics into their workouts. They can do it by choosing harder variations of moves they’ve done before. Or by mixing up which muscles they target during each workout session.

What is weightlifting?

Weightlifting is another excellent exercise that uses free weights or machines to build more lean muscle mass. Weightlifting involves lifting different types of weights/barbells to target specific muscle groups. This is a type of physical exercise that focuses on improving muscle strength through lifting weights. It is one of the major forms of resistance training.

For example, during a bench press, you’ll want to try and push as much weight up as possible. During a bicep curl, you’ll want to try and raise the weight with your arm.

Weightlifting is great for people looking to pack more size onto their frame to get stronger. However, unlike calisthenics, it can be harder to learn how to do some of these movements properly without proper guidance from an experienced trainer.

One of the best weightlifting exercises is the deadlift. It works on your back, legs, and shoulders.

Bench pressing is also considered one of the best exercises because it strengthens your chest, triceps, and abs.

Lastly, squats are an excellent exercise for weightlifters because it strengthens the lower body.

Risk of injury

Weightlifting has a very low injury rate compared to other sports. It is a lot less likely to injure your back or knees as your focus is on lifting the weight and not moving quickly.

However, people who are new to weightlifting may experience injuries such as:

  • Back or shoulder pain due to improper form
  • Tendonitis if overused / not warmed up before attempting intense workouts
  • Stress on joints can be problematic for those with preexisting conditions

To avoid injury, always warm up before performing weightlifting techniques. Also, be sure to keep your form as best as possible throughout each movement.

Benefits of weightlifting

The benefits of weightlifting are well-known to the fitness community. It has many benefits for our physical health, mental health, and social life. Weightlifting is an activity that anyone can enjoy regardless of age or skill level.

Increase muscle mass

Weightlifting is a great way to increase muscle mass. If you are seeking to bulk up, this type of workout may be the best option for you. It can result in an increased metabolism which can help you lose weight.

Increase bone density and strengthens joints

Weightlifting strengthens the muscles that support the bones. In turn, it helps to increase bone density, which can combat osteoporosis as you get older. This also plays a role in how weightlifting benefits your joints.

Lunges, squats, and push-ups work your legs to build strong muscles without the compression from heavier weights. Weightlifting strengthens your joints because it creates resistance against forces that typically load the joints with a lot of weight.

Who is weightlifting best for?

  • People who are more interested in getting bigger and stronger over time
  • People with no experience lifting weights or have done so before
  • Someone looking for new challenges that keep them motivated

Comparisons of calisthenics vs. weights

Both calisthenics and weightlifting are great, and every person should include them in their workout regimen. While both have their own unique benefits, it is important to remember that there is no “best” form of exercise.

The best type of fitness regimen for you will depend on your interests, goals, fitness level, etc. If you’re looking to exercise more, try reading up on calisthenics and weightlifting to determine which one might be best for you.

Calisthenics are exercises that are performed by working against the force of gravity. These exercises are difficult to use in a gym because they require space to make moves like dips, pull-ups, and push-ups.

Weightlifting is an exercise where weights are used to increase the resistance being worked against.

The difference between calisthenics vs. weights is the way these exercises work to build muscle. Calisthenics use muscles all over the body, while weightlifting builds specific areas of the body.

Calisthenics vs. weights – Which is better for burning calories? 

The answer can vary depending on the workout you are doing. Calisthenics and weightlifting both burn calories and are good for fat loss. However, calisthenics burns more calories in general due to the types of exercises used. 

If you were trying to lose weight or improve your cardiovascular system, it would be a better idea to perform mostly calisthenics.

Calisthenics vs. weights – Which is better for building strength? 

For pure strength, weightlifting techniques will always be more beneficial than calisthenics. An excellent example of this is the bench press. During a bench press, you want to try and push as much weight up as possible.

This means that an increase in weight will equate to an increase in sheer physical force being exerted onto your arms and chest muscles. This kind of exercise doesn’t have any “equivalent” form within the realm of bodyweight exercises.

There are many great examples of calisthenic exercises that you can use to improve your strength, but none work exactly like a weighted bench press. This makes weightlifting “more effective” at building strength.

Calisthenics vs. weights – Strength and cardiovascular health

Both types of exercises can be beneficial for your health. However, which is better for you depends on your goals.

If you want to improve your strength and performance, you should focus on weightlifting. If you want to maintain or increase your cardiovascular health, calisthenics is a better option.

Combining calisthenics and weightlifting

Many people choose to combine both weightlifting and calisthenics into their fitness regimen. This is a great way to get the best of both worlds. When trying to build more lean muscle, it can be a great idea to perform higher reps with lower weights.

This allows you to keep your heart rate steady while building lean muscle tissue. If you’re looking to get ripped or lose weight, it can be effective to focus primarily on calisthenics.

Remember that an effective workout regimen should include some form of both calisthenics and weightlifting. That way, you work all parts of your body/muscles effectively.


Both calisthenics and weightlifting are highly beneficial in their unique ways. While people looking to build strength will generally benefit more from techniques like weightlifting, it is important to remember that the best type of exercise for you will depend on your personal goals.

For example, someone who is just starting exercising might benefit more from calisthenic exercises. But, someone looking to become strong both in terms of muscle mass/size and functional strength might do better focusing on weightlifting instead.

Also read: Outdoor pull up bar – DIY, benefits, best variations


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