Updated: Jan 17
For the longest time, weight training and calisthenics (bodyweight training) have gained a lot of traction and interest because of their innate ability to change one’s body looks, as well as physical properties like strength and explosiveness.
There are people who believe your bodyweight is all you need, there are people who religiously engage in weight training, preaching bench, squats, and deadlifts even to their grandma.
But which approach is better and what benefits can you reap from these types of training?
In this article, we’ll answer this and more, so if you’ve ever wondered which type of training is better, keep reading!
Bodyweight Training, otherwise known as “calisthenics” is the activity of using your body weight to perform certain exercises under the force of gravity, without any equipment or added weight.
Some of the most common bodyweight exercises are movements like push-ups, squats, pull-ups, lunges, muscle-ups, and dips.
On the other hand, weightlifting involves the use of barbells, dumbbells, and machines to create resistance.
The squat, deadlift, and bench are the three fundamental exercises in weightlifting, which are even a benchmark for strength!
Now if you’re already wondering which type of training is superior, let us tell you this - both types of training are effective and can be utilized to leverage strength and muscle gains!
However, which one is superior depends on the context and the goal the individual has, so let us take you through the advantages and disadvantages of both types of training.
The Benefits Of Calisthenics
Bodyweight training is most of all a good way to establish fundamental strength and muscular development.
Because, well, being able to lift your own body weight before moving on to lifting weights kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?
This fundamental relative strength can then give you the opportunity to ease into weight training and maximize your potential for physical development.
The bad part of calisthenics is that it gets too easy, too quickly because you’re working with your body weight.
In less than one year, pull-ups, push-ups, and dips can become quite easy, and you then have to add more weights on top to keep progressing.
Another option is to learn more complex movements like handstands, planche, front levers, and others, but if your primary goal is to gain strength and grow your muscles, this approach is perhaps suboptimal.
The Benefits Of Weight Training
In the context of maximizing growth and strength potential, weight training appears to be the king here.
The principle of both types of training is the same – creating resistance. However, with weight training, the resistance and muscular tension are generated by an external force, making everything far more intense.
Additionally, weight training can help you seamlessly target muscle groups that you can hardly work on directly, with just calisthenics.
This implies that in terms of aesthetic development, weight training is superior.
Weight training at its very essence allows you to do more intense work during which you can easily increase the resistance by adding extra weight on the bar or picking heavier dumbbells.
Which One Should you Choose?
Here’s a wild idea - you can combine both types of training but focus more on the one that resonates with your goals best.
Do you like explosive bodyweight movements that look cool? Go for the monkey bars and bodyweight training.
You are looking to maximize your strength and muscular development? Opt for a gym membership.
As simple as that!
The human body is capable of a lot, and it has plenty of potentials lying within. It’s just a matter of you taking the necessary action to unlock that potential and realize it.
Whether you choose to engage in bodyweight training or just go to a gym, you won’t be in the wrong!
Both of these types of training offer amazing benefits and can help you develop a good-looking, strong body.
Start somewhere, see what you like better, what gets you closer to your goals and focus on that!