Calisthenics Explained

The truth about bodyweight training

Photo By Men's Health

I know a lot of you reading this article have probably been introduced to or have heard of calisthenics for a while due to the lockdown and I have explained a few articles about how to implement calisthenics into your workouts, but I’ve never explained what calisthenics really is, and what makes it different than weight training. Let’s take a quick look and what makes calisthenics different than other training methods.

What is Calisthenics

Everyone knows what the word calisthenics means — bodyweight training, which originated from the ancient greek “kállos” meaning beauty, and “sthenous” meaning strength. All it is is using your own resistance as a mechanism for growth. Bodyweight exercises such as pushups, pullups, and dips are calisthenic exercises. (It would also be key to note that there are weight calisthenics exercises such as back squats, weighted pushups, and pull-ups, which are a version of calisthenic exercises that uses weights.)

What makes Calisthenics Different From other Training methods

Due to Covid-19, many people had to change the way they approached their workouts. Calisthenics makes it very convenient to get a sufficient workout without having to really go anywhere. Pushups, pullups, and dips can be done almost anywhere and anytime, the most you’ll ever need equipment-wise is a pull-up bar. Compared to weight training which requires you to go somewhere in order to complete your workouts.

Calisthenics exercises are plentiful compared to other training methods. There are different variations of exercises that you can do in order to get better at that movement. For example, pushups can be done on an incline to increase muscular strength, or maybe you decide to do archer pushups to increase the amount of work that is produced by one arm. Then there are wide pushups, pyramid pushups, cobra pushups, OAP, etc… Calisthenics is great to implement into a routine for someone who gets bored with their workouts easily.

Difference between Weights and Calisthenics

Besides the obvious difference in using body weight in calisthenics and weight in weight training, calisthenics requires a lot of strength to perform movements such as an HSPU, while weightlifting is geared more towards hypertrophy. This is because of all the closed chain kinetic exercises involved in calisthenics. (If you don’t know what a closed chain kinetic exercise is they are exercises performed in a fixed position due to the connection with the floor or maybe a bar. ) Open chain kinetic exercises, on the other hand, such as bicep curls and tricep extensions allows for the limbs to be free, giving them the name open rather than closed chain kinetic exercises. This would be mainly performed by doing weighted-based training.

Calisthenics is geared towards compound exercises( exercises that require multiple muscle groups), while weight lifting can focus on both isolation movements( exercises that focus on one muscle group) and compound movements.


In conclusion, calisthenics is just bodyweight movements that allow you to exercise without the hassle of going to the gym. Calisthenics is geared more toward strength, while weight training is geared more toward hypertrophy gains. If you enjoyed this article comment on what training style you do and why, it would be most appreciated.

Thanks for reading! ❤️

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