When you think about it, gym training or weightlifting and calisthenics are both forms of strength training. But the difference is they yield different results. What is the difference between a calisthenics body and a gym body?
First, we need to talk about strength training or resistance training. It is an activity during which we use our muscles against resistance. This makes them bigger and stronger.
Strength training is a key part of any fitness regimen. While lifting weights is the most commonly known strength training workout, there are many more ways to do it.
The main difference is calisthenics uses your own body weight as resistance.
Why Is Calisthenics Better?
As we said before, with calisthenics training, you use your own body weight as resistance. You use it to perform a bodyweight exercise and you do not need any special equipment.
You will, however, need a pullup bar or similar machine for some calisthenics exercises. Common exercises include:
Here are some reasons why it is better than common gym training.
Affordable And Convenient
Because you can do it without any equipment, calisthenics is affordable and convenient. You can do it anywhere and whenever you like it. Even during summer, do some pushups on the beach and you are good to go. As long as you have enough space to move, you can do it.
Easy To Modify
Because we are performing a bodyweight exercise, you can easily modify it. All you need is some creativity. Do know there are more than 40 variations of squats? They are classified into different categories like plyometric, equipment, body weight, and weighted. And you can also do almost 100 types of different pushups.
Talk about variations. All you have to do is develop an understanding of how your body moves and then you can easily modify your body workout. For example, when you are a beginner, you can make pushups easier by placing your knees on the floor. If you want to make them harder, you can do pushups with one arm.
Uses Multiple Muscle Groups
One of the big benefits of calisthenics is that it uses different muscle groups at once. With this type of body workout, you can involve compound exercises. Calisthenics requires a high amount of movement, allowing you to burn a lot more calories in a shorter amount of time.
This results in lower body fat and increased muscle definition.
Improves Flexibility And Balance
Another major benefit of calisthenics training is that it improves flexibility, coordination, balance, and endurance. You have to understand how your body moves and functions. And that will help you improve your balance and flexibility.
Benefits Of Weightlifting
Now let’s talk about the gym part of strength training. Weightlifting is a form in which you use weighted objects as resistance. You lift the weight repeatedly and challenge your muscles in the process.
You can do it with free weights or weights on a machine. Here is why it is better than calisthenics.
Easy To Progress
Unlike calisthenics, you can see your progress better. Progressing your effort with weight lifting is more straightforward. Every now and then, you use a heavier dumbbell and make your workout harder.
You Can Isolate Specific Muscle Groups
It is easier to isolate a specific muscle group and perform isolated exercises with weight training. With these movements, you can use just a primary muscle group to work against the resistance. It is that concentrated load that will make it easier to increase the size of that specific muscle group.
Calisthenics Body VS Gym Body
Now let’s talk about some differences between the two and which is better for specific goals and results.
For Building Strength
If your goal is to build strength, you should know both types of exercises can help you achieve that. But they do it in a different way.
A calisthenics workout is great for defining muscles that you have already built. On the other hand, a gym workout will increase the size of your muscles.
The best way to grow muscle is by lifting heavy weights. There is no other way around it. Yet, both of these exercises are suitable for functional strength.
For Burning Calories
As we said before, because you activate different muscle groups, calisthenics is better for burning calories. It involves a broader range of movements and uses more of your energy.
Calisthenics workout forces your body to use stored fat as fuel. But you can do that only if you push yourself as far as you can in the workout. Only by doing that, you can burn many calories in a single session.
For Weight Loss
Logically, because calisthenics is better for burning calories, it is better for weight loss as well. You lose more weight by doing calisthenics. And faster too.
This type of exercise also provides more flexibility in the way you lose weight.
Now, you also have to understand the following. Losing weight is a mathematical formula. You burn more than you consume. So, no matter whether you use calisthenics or gym workout, you have to modify your diet accordingly.
For Building Stamina
You can build stamina with either approach. Stamina is just another word we use for endurance. And when you look at the term endurance, it is increased through regular repetition of intense exercises.
You can do that with calisthenics or weight training. Either route will result in increased stamina. Mix the two or find a combination that works for you.
For Upper Body
When it comes to upper body development, calisthenics body versus gym body is a worthy debate. The former is better if you are starting from a low baseline.
You can use calisthenics to build up the frame of your upper body. Then, you can use targeted gym training to emphasize the upper body. With calisthenics, you work out different muscle groups at once, helping you build a frame.
For Lower Body
When it comes to the lower body, it is better that you put it as part of your gym workout. Why? Because you can do weighted exercises like deadlifts and squats. Yes, squatting can be done without resistance.
But it is resistance that builds muscles. Squats and deadlifts are powerful compound exercises that benefit the whole body. Yet, they focus on the legs and back.
If You Want A Good Physique
If your main goal is to achieve a good physique, we cannot give you a clear winner. It depends on your preferences. Both are legitimate and effective ways to develop a good physique.
But if you are truly dedicated to getting that physique, we recommend hiring a personal trainer. Only a professional trainer can mix and match the exercises that will result in your elusive dream.
If You Want Six-pack Abs
If your goal is to get the elusive dream of six-pack abs, then it is calisthenics. It is ideal for defining core muscles. Many calisthenics exercises rely on the core for stability and posture.
Yes, weighted exercises can help the development of six-pack abs. But calisthenics is a clear winner here.
How Does A Gym Body Look Vs A Calisthenic Body?
We are now at the end of the calisthenics body versus gym body debate. Let’s define how a particular body should look.
Bodybuilding can produce some absolute tanks. You can grow some serious muscles with it. Usually, a bodybuilding body is huge, symmetrical, and usually posturally sound.
Gym workout focuses on the entire body. Nobody wants chicken legs. Every part of the body deserves equal attention.
One thing is certain, calisthenics builds super lean and defined bodies. You will be able to get an athletic and functional body with an insane strength-to-mass ratio.
What About Combining The Two?
A great option is to combine calisthenics with weightlifting. It is the ideal combination if you want to enjoy the benefits of both worlds. How do you combine them?
Well, you can either do both techniques on the same day or on alternate days. Do the latter if you want to focus on one method at a time.
Both techniques add resistance to your muscles. So, it is important to avoid overdoing it. Make sure to add rest days and pay attention to your body. Otherwise, you will burn your body and get no results. We always recommend working with a professional trainer to achieve your specific goals.
Which One To Choose?
As we said multiple times, it comes down to preferences. Yet, here are some general ideas.
Try calisthenics if:
- You prefer to work out at home or you lack time to go to the gym
- You prefer to use a minimal amount of equipment
- You are a beginner and want to start with the basics
- You desire functional strength
Try weightlifting and gym training if:
- You have close access to a fully stocked gym
- You are willing to learn how to use a proper technique
- You want to isolate specific muscles
- You want to build more muscle mass
Combine the two if:
- You want to develop a strong and well-rounded body
- You want to add variety to your training