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Bodybuilding vs Calisthenics

Bodybuilding vs Calisthenics

Hang on? Isn’t a calisthenics workout routine very different from weight training and weight lifting? Yes. It is.

And that’s why there’s such a divide in the athletic community when it comes to these two fitness methods.

Some say that building up your muscle groups and strength by bodybuilding is the way forward and others say that as calisthenics is clearly kinder to your muscle groups than lifting weights that it’s the best way to build muscle and do strength training.

But who’s right?

Well, we’d politely suggest that neither group is right. This is what you need to know.


How To Choose Bodyweight Training: Be Clear On Your Goals

Before you undertake any kind of exercise program, we’d strongly recommend that you understand what your goals are for exercising.

Once you have a good idea of your goals, you can start to think about what way to build lean muscle mass.

We would note, however, that choosing a workout regimen is only part of the battle – you will also need excellent rest and nutrition if you intend to get the most of out your fitness goals.


Body Weight Exercises And No Equipment: Calisthenics

Calisthenics athletes don’t need any equipment to improve their strength – and that means there’s no need to hit the gym.

You can do pull-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, etc. from home.

Your resistance comes from your own body mass and there’s no doubt that this means you can be a calisthenics athlete anywhere and you won’t need to pay for a gym membership as long as you’re committed.


Bodyweight Exercises And Gym Equipment: Bodybuilding

A bodybuilder, on the other hand, is built by working on their external resistance.

That means body building requires exercise equipment and you will need to be able to get regular access to a gym if you want to see muscle growth.


Why Calisthenics Workouts Can Benefit From Some Bodybuilding

This means that calisthenics is the best choice if you want to improve the endurance of your muscles, boost your overall mobility and get a strong, athletic body that is not overdeveloped. You will, generally speaking, lose more calories when carrying out this exercise than bodybuilding and paying attention to each individual muscle group.

However, you might find that your calisthenics body benefits from some bodybuilding too. What are you likely to get from this?

  • Better planning. Bodybuilders focus on compound exercises which help them to improve muscle endurance and strength. This requires strong planning if it is to succeed.
  • Better nutrition. Builders know that building muscle mass and developing a truly muscular physique means eating the right food. 70% of your success comes from eating right. And a bodybuilder learns all about nutrition.
  • Better rest. When you work with free weights, you know that each specific muscle group can only be worked so often. If it’s not given time to recover? The muscle doesn’t develop properly.
  • Better discipline. Combing the above three advantages of bodybuilding and you have a very disciplined routine which, after using it for a while, is resistant to change.

Why Bodyweight Workouts Can Benefit From Calisthenics Exercises

Bodybuilding, on the other hand, is the best choice if you want to bulk up (particularly in your upper body) or work on specific muscle groups and generally improve your strength.

However, there are still things that a bodybuilder can get from calisthenics training.

  • Breaking the routine. Sometimes if you want to give your specific muscles a rest – it can help to try out something new.
  • Improved creativity. When you work with just your bodyweight then you develop more body awareness and that allows you to be more creative in the ways that you seek muscle isolation and muscle definition.
  • Outdoor time. When your life is more than bench presses, you can exercise outdoors and calisthenic exercises lend themselves to outdoor workouts. There are lots of health benefits to spending time outdoors.

Final Thoughts

We said at the start, we think those looking for a winner when comparing calisthenics vs bodybuilding are barking up the wrong tree.

They are best combined if you want the ultimate fitness regime.

You can do calisthenics literally anywhere, it helps to burn fat and improve your overall fitness.

Bodybuilding, on the other hand, is more focused. You can easily develop anything from core muscles to your legs. You do need a gym to work in and, perhaps, a personal trainer to help you get started but once you’ve started learning? You can really develop quickly.

Stephen Oliver
Stephen Oliver
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