Will Calisthenics Build Muscle? (Finally Fall in Love With Your Body)

I'm a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

With calisthenics becoming the big social media fitness trend, you might be wondering will calisthenics build muscle? Many people know that resistance training builds muscle, but when it comes to calisthenics vs weight, which one is really the best? We’re going to dive deep into this subject to show you which is best for your body and goals.

So, can calisthenics build muscle? The short answer is yes, but read on for the more detailed answer. Make sure that you’re prepared as well, we’ve made numerous lists for the top calisthenics equipment based on your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, we found the best equipment for you.

Best Calisthenics Equipment

BalanceFrom 3-in-1 Plyo BoxONETWOFIT Multifunctional Chin UpSV SCOOL VALUE Dip Bar, Parallel Bars

Will Calisthenics Build Muscle?

Bodyweight exercises will absolutely build muscle. These exercises are actually fantastic for getting ripped and packing on pounds of muscle. Many people find that their upper body grows the most from a variety of push ups, pull ups, and other exercises. There are also many ways to increase resistance once your bodyweight alone isn’t enough to challenge you.

Another major bonus is that calisthenics is actually easier for most people. It may not seem like it at first, but this is actually much easier on your joints when compared to weight lifting. Both are great for getting stronger, but bodyweight movements shouldn’t tax your joints as much.

Are Calisthenics Stronger Than Bodybuilders?

This is a hard one to answer because it really depends on what you mean by “strong.” As we covered before, calisthenics is great for bulking up and packing on muscle. While you likely won’t get as much resistance as you would with a massive barbell, you can still greatly increase the resistance with the right movements and equipment.

Bodybuilders tend to keep going up and up with their weights. However, only limited movements are practiced. This tends to make bodybuilders incredibly strong, but only in very specific ways. For example, being able to bicep curl a massive weight makes you strong at that movement, but it may not translate to some other arm movements.

When it comes to packing on muscle and seeing the weights increase, bodybuilding might be better. However, when it comes to functional strength and being able to control your body in all situations, then calisthenics is far superior.

If your definition of strength is being able to easily move your body around and control your muscles to an advanced degree, then yes, calisthenics are stronger than bodybuilders.

Can Calisthenics Burn Fat?

So we covered how you can build muscle with calisthenics, but can calisthenics burn fat? Weight lifting burns fat to a degree, but only somewhat. Bodyweight exercises burn fat to an extraordinary degree.

You’re essentially combining both weight lifting and cardio when doing these movements. This allows you to burn significantly more calories, which can also translate into losing more body fat and overall weight. The movements require more energy than lifting. When it comes to calisthenics vs weights, this is one of the big advantages. You should lose more weight and fat than with lifting alone.

How Calisthenics Changes Your Body

Let’s first talk about the basics and how a muscle is built. Whether you’re lifting weight or doing push ups, muscles are built the exact same way. All that work puts tiny little tears in the fibers. The body repairs the muscle fibers and makes them bigger and stronger. This is why you get larger as you exercise. There are also many hormones involved in muscle production such as testosterone, insulin, human growth hormone, and more. These may change how big the muscle grows and how long it takes to recover.

That’s not the only way calisthenics changes your body. Along with muscle growth, you are also reducing the stress on your joints when compared to lifting weights. This actually improves the longevity of your joints, which may reduce pain from walking, sitting, and other routine activities. Calisthenics can increase your resting metabolic rate for weight loss, better aerobic endurance, and improved health.

Many people also work on their flexibility with bodyweight movements. Another big component of the weights vs calisthenics debate is that weights only make you move in specific directions, so it doesn’t really help your flexibility. Calisthenics however can involve splits, push ups, squats, and many other movements that push your body in new and novel ways. This can increase your range of motion.

So, what calisthenics does to your body? It improves health, builds muscle, enhances flexibility, and ramps up your metabolism.

BalanceFrom 3-in-1 Plyo BoxONETWOFIT Multifunctional Chin UpSV SCOOL VALUE Dip Bar, Parallel Bars

What Calisthenics Workout?

What are calisthenics, and are you doing them right? This sounds like such a fancy term that it must mean very specific exercises. The truth is that the calisthenics definition just means the same as bodyweight exercises. These are workouts where your body weight is the main form of resistance.

Some people take a purist approach and only use their body and nothing else. No equipment, no added resistance, just pure bodyweight. While that’s fine, it does limit you in some ways.

Many others use calisthenics equipment that enhances range of motion, increases bodyweight, or inversely decreases resistance to make them beginner friendly. You’ll find that this commonly involves bars, rings, bands, and other similar equipment. This allows you to work all of your muscles while still adhering to the main tenets of using your bodyweight and no added weight.

Can I Do Calisthenics When Overweight?

Yes, calisthenics when overweight is a fantastic way to lose fat and gain muscle. Some people are worried that the extra weight will make these exercises too difficult. While that is true that you will be pushing and pulling more weight, the bigger problem is an overall lack of fitness. However, this can be corrected.

Many people focus on how to increase resistance with calisthenics. If you’re overweight or new to fitness, then you need to shift and figure out how to decrease resistance with calisthenics. This is actually very easy.

Let’s take some common exercises, such as push ups. Try doing push ups on your knees. This greatly decreases how much weight you’re moving. Just make sure to have a towel or something under your knees. If that’s too much, then do wall push ups, that’s even easier and a great place to start.

Pull ups are tough for many people, but using an assistance band can make them much easier by reducing how much weight your pulling. Squats can be made easier with chair squats. You’re working your muscles, but giving yourself support so it’s easier. There’s also chair dips, which tend to be easier than doing dips with a bar.

Calisthenics When to Progress

This might seem like a difficult question, but it’s the same as with weights. You should progress when you find that the exercise you’re doing is too easy and not giving you any results. If you can do 100 wall push ups and you don’t feel tired at all, then progress to knee or regular push ups.

The same can be said for dips, pull ups, squats, and anything else. If it’s too easy, then it’s time to progress.

Calisthenics Where to Start

When you check out the crazy TikTok fitness clips you might think that you need to do insane flips, spins, and jumps to make any progress. No, that’s not where you should start at all. Bodyweight exercises are best if you start small and then build up.

Which calisthenics skills to learn first? Start with the basics. Make sure that you can do push ups, squats, lunges, and pull ups before moving onto anything more difficult. Dips are incredibly effective, as are box jumps and handstands.

Make sure that you master the basics though before moving on. Some people think they’re ready for a handstand after doing 10 push ups for the first time. Take it slow and let your body adjust to the new movements.

BalanceFrom 3-in-1 Plyo BoxONETWOFIT Multifunctional Chin UpSV SCOOL VALUE Dip Bar, Parallel Bars

Why Calisthenics is Better Than Gym?

We’re not going to say that calisthenics is better than gym workouts or even lifting, but rather that it has certain benefits and advantages. You protect your joints better, get much more functional strength, improve your flexibility, get a cardio workout at the same time, and build a good amount of muscle.

The main disadvantages would be lack of resistance and difficulty progressing. Weight lifting gives you tons of resistance, and progressing is simple. Finding a 10lbs dumbbell is too light? Then use a 15lb dumbbell?

You sometimes need to get creative with progressing through calisthenics, and some progressions are hard unless you’re a professional. At the same time, getting started and getting good is fairly easy if you’re willing to put in the time. Plus, you can get tremendously fit (and faster than you expect) if you still to a calisthenics routine.

Leave a Comment