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If you spend a lot of time learning about new fitness routines and ways to improve your physical health, you’ve likely heard of calisthenics.

Many health-conscious people have been comparing calisthenics vs weights to figure out which method is best for their goals. However, because everybody is different, it can be hard to know which one is the better choice.

In this guide, you will learn the essentials of calisthenics and weight training. We’ll discuss what each one is, the pros and cons of both, and which comes out on top for factors such as weight loss and muscle building.

calisthenics vs weights

What Is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a fitness method that people use to incorporate their body weight to help improve muscle mass and increase flexibility. Though the name may be a little hard to pronounce, this fitness method is far from difficult.

Calisthenics uses your body weight without the use of any equipment. There is usually a lot of lunging, pushing, and lifting motions involved. There are many benefits to this, but we will dive into that more later on.

You’ve likely taken part in calisthenics without even knowing it. Some of the more common exercises that are included in this fitness method are push-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, and wall-sits. Think of elementary school gym class; it was likely filled with a whole lot of calisthenics.

Calisthenics Pros

One of the biggest pros of calisthenics is that training can be done anywhere. This is convenient for people with busy lives that can’t find time to make it to the gym. You also don’t need expensive equipment to do calisthenics. As long as you have a working body, you’ll have everything you need.

With calisthenics, it’s easy to learn new things. Learning a workout at the gym can be complicated and overwhelming. When it comes to the moves you can do with calisthenics, they are endless creative possibilities. This can keep you inspired and prevent burnout from mundane workouts.

Another great thing about calisthenics is that there aren’t any excuses. Because you don’t need expensive equipment and the fact that you can do it anywhere, there are no reasons to skip out on your work out. It’s fairly easy and quick to complete, which means that just about everyone can do it.

Calisthenics is also amazing for both weight loss and muscle building. You’re able to work multiple areas of the body at once, which can lead to more calories burned and more muscles gained. Many times, people switch between fat loss workouts and muscle building workouts. With calisthenics, you don’t have to choose, saving you time.

Calisthenics Cons

There are a handful of disadvantages to calisthenics, too. The most common is that it can be hard to isolate specific areas to work out. This means that if you want to focus on toning your legs, but not your core, calisthenics may not be for you.

There are also fewer opportunities to train your legs. Unlike weightlifting, where you can pick and choose what area of the body you’re working, calisthenics is more of an all-in-one workout. If you want to tone your legs and sculpt your calves, weight training may be better suited for you.

Lastly, it can be hard to see and measure your progress with calisthenics. While you will definitely see progress, it may not be as quick or as easy as weight training. If measurements are a high priority for you during your fitness journey, consider hiring a trainer to take them professionally.

calisthenics vs weights

What Is Weight Training?

You likely already know a bit about weight training. Trainers and fitness enthusiasts have been using weight training for several decades to improve their physical appearance and health.

To do this, different sized weights are used by lifting and pushing to build muscle gradually. As you can see, unlike calisthenics, equipment is required.

Weight lifting is also something that you have to build up to gradually. You can’t pick up a set of 50-pound barbells and expect to be at your peak physical health after sitting on the couch for six months.

Weight Training Pros

As you would have guessed from reading the cons of calisthenics, one of the biggest benefits of weight training is the ability to target specific areas. This is perfect for anyone looking to improve their physical health. If you want to tone your legs, you can do that without needing to tone your core or upper body.

It’s also much easier to increase muscle mass when comparing calisthenics vs weights. This is one reason why it’s easier to measure your progress when using weights. You may also see a large improvement in your synergy. Using weights takes a lot more concentration and coordination, therefore improving your overall coordination.

You can use weights at home, as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go and purchase a bunch of dumbells, though. You can use stuff around the house such as bags of flour, cans from your pantry, or bags of dog food.

Lastly, using weights is amazing for your mental and physical health. It can help combat anxiety, depression, and stress by dissolving cortisol and releasing dopamine. Working out with weights is an amazing way to help improve your overall heart health and can help fight off future diseases.

Weight Training Cons

One of the biggest downsides of using weights is that it is time-consuming. Slow and steady wins the race if you’re using weights correctly. This can be annoying and inconvenient for people trying to get fit in less time.

Working out with weights can also be incredibly expensive. While you can use items at home, most people opt for a gym membership or for several private sessions with a personal trainer. This can add up quickly, and not everyone has that kind of budget to spend.

Last but not least, the majority of the time you’re using weights, you’re training one area only. You won’t likely get an entire body workout when you do a few sets of bicep curls. Unless you’re looking to improve very specific areas of the body, this is a major downfall in comparison to calisthenics.

calisthenics vs weights

Calisthenics vs Weights

Endurance

When it comes to endurance, calisthenics takes the lead ahead of weights. These types of workouts are extensive and focus on your core muscles. When you do exercises such as planks or wall sits, you are focusing on endurance during the workout.

At first, you may only be able to hold a plank for five to 10 seconds. Over time, you will train your body to be able to hold that plank for longer and longer.

With weight training, you may be able to hold, lift, and push more weight over time. Calisthenics is better for your body’s overall endurance.

Strengthening Your Body

The main reason why many people work out is to gain strength all throughout their bodies. What is often associated with strength? Weights and weightlifting.

If you’re focused on training and strengthening specific areas in your body, weights would take the crown for this category. However, if you want to strengthen your entire body from head to toe, calisthenics may be a better option.

Because it helps to improve your coordination and endurance, it is better for your overall strength. When it comes to picking a winner for this category, it depends on what your health goals are and what you are focusing on.

Training Method

One of the things that we need to compare when it comes to calisthenics vs weights is how easy the training actually is. Though it may depend on the shape you’re in when you’re starting out, calisthenics tends to take the lead in this category.

Push-ups, sit-ups, and planks are much easier to do for the majority of people in comparison to weightlifting. You also don’t need any previous experience to start incorporating calisthenics in your day to day life.

It is also important to mention that the training can be done just about anywhere. Weights require you to be in a gym or your own home. Realistically, you could bring weights to your work and get in a few reps during lunch.

You may find it important to remember that when you begin using weights, you will need to start with lighter weights and slowly work your way up over time.

Losing Weight

When you think of weight loss, you’ll likely think of cardio for a workout. While walking and running are great ways to lose weight, who takes the cake when it comes to calisthenics vs weights?

The answer is a bit of a double-edged sword. When you build muscle from using weights, your body burns calories quicker. This can make it easier for you to lose weight.

On the other hand, weight lifting is known for helping people gain muscle and lose fat. Muscle weighs more than fat, which is why many people think that they are not losing weight when the number on the scale goes up after weightlifting.

You’ve likely heard of yoga or Pilates. Both of these are considered types of calisthenics and are amazing for cutting fat. When you cut fat, you lose weight. Both calisthenics and weights are great for losing fat on your body. It’s best to try to incorporate a little of both to get the best results possible.

Building Muscle

Speaking of building muscle, you may be shocked to hear that calisthenics helps you build muscle mass better than lifting weights. How is this possible?

Calisthenics makes it much easier to build muscle because it helps work in several areas all at once. You’re essentially using your own bodyweight instead of a dumbbell.

With that said, lifting weights is still an amazing way to build muscle mass. The only reason why it takes second place in this category is that you will have to focus on one area at a time. It tends to be more work and is more time-consuming.

Overall Winner

When it comes to calisthenics vs weights, we’d have to give it to calisthenics. It is obvious that there are far more pros than with weight training. You can do sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, and other calisthenics anywhere. What’s more, you don’t need expensive equipment or a gym membership to do it, either.

Calisthenics can also be done by people of all ages, and it works out several areas of your body at the same time. Nonetheless, it may not be everyone’s top choice, especially if you’re trying to focus on one area or want to build muscle in your legs.

Final Thoughts

We hope that now you have a better idea of what both calisthenics and weights have in store for you. When comparing the two, you may have noticed that one is better suited for your fitness goals than the other. Our overall winner may not be yours, and that’s perfectly okay.

Both of these methods are amazing ways to improve your physical and mental health. Write down your fitness goals and what oppositions you have. This will allow you to choose between calisthenics vs weights easily. You may even want to combine the two if you’re looking for an entire body transformation!

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