How is Calisthenics Different From Bodybuilding?

There are tons of fitness videos available online. In addition to weightlifting, there’s crossfit, aerobic exercises, zumba exercises, and calisthenics. Depending on your goal, you can choose from any of these fitness activities. If your aim is to gain muscle, bodybuilding is for you. If you want to further your athletic prowess, you can do aerobic exercises. 

Crossfit is a combination of high-intensity exercise (aerobic exercises) and weightlifting. Zumba practitioners are usually people who don’t prefer weights and intensive training regimen, but still want to prioritize fitness with a fun twist.

When we get to calisthenics, the list of videos played usually involve home workouts, home equipment, and playgrounds? For those of you new to fitness, this article will talk about the difference between calisthenics and traditional weight lifting.

What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a subset of gymnastic exercises focusing on functional muscle strength instead of mass. That means your goal is to make use of your whole body. The reason why calisthenics videos are mostly done at home or at children’s playgrounds is because it involves the use of bodyweight.

Monkey bars (or any other steel bar) are the most commonly used facilities for calisthenics. A lot of calisthenics activities include upper body strength. If you’ve observed gymnasts, they have graceful and powerful upper bodies, while using the rest of their body with coordination and precision. 

Calisthenics is similar to bodybuilding as it involves resistance training. The bodyweight becomes the load for the resistance while the arms and hands involve much of the lifting or pulling. This creates a readily available form of weight training without weighted plates or equipment.

At secondary or primary schools, calisthenics is a standard inclusion to Physical Education. Students perform exercises like sit ups, squats, and jumping jacks. The goal of calisthenics is to involve major muscle group movements to improve strength and muscular functionality. 

How is it Different from Bodybuilding?

Calisthenics differ from bodybuilding in the following areas:

  • Does not require equipment
  • Involves multiple groups of muscles
  • Improve functional muscle strength
  • Increase cardiovascular strength
  • Increase athletic prowess

Whereas bodybuilding will:

  • Increase muscle mass
  • Have additional exercises that focus on smaller muscle groups
  • Not necessarily need a strong cardiovascular system
  • Require several equipment
  • Focus on form than athletic ability

Why Should You Be Doing Calisthenics?

Calisthenics is a great way to start your fitness journey. You can inquire about calisthenics programs at your local gyms, or even at a Equinox’s or Gold’s Gym if they have it. Calisthenics will serve as your foundation for strength training.

Doing calisthenics first gives you an idea of your body’s current limits and capabilities. When you’ve settled into the habit of doing calisthenics, you will see an improvement on your overall wellness.

These are some of the benefits of doing calisthenics:

  • You will have a healthier heart.
  • You will feel more energized.
  • Your preference for food will change (you will lose cravings for junk food)
  • Improved mobility and body function.
  • Healthy weight loss and you can burn more fat.
  • Improved lung capacity.
  • You will save money because it’s free!
  • You become more in tune with how you use your body in any physical activity.
  • Improved posture.
  • Your strength is useful and not just for weights (you can call yourself an athlete, kind of) 

What Calisthenics Workouts Can I Do?

If you still remember your days in highschool, there are familiar exercises you can do. These are the most popular ones in calisthenics.

  1. Pushups. Push Ups help you build chest, shoulder, and arm strength. This is one of the most common routines in calisthenics. You don’t need any special equipment, or if you fancy buying something to help you target different areas of your chest, you can buy a push up board.

There is no recommended number of push ups you can do in a day. You can start with 20 on the first day and increase it daily. Some people who have been doing calisthenics for years can do 350 pushups!

  1. Pull ups. Urban calisthenics is getting more popular and people who do this frequent children’s playgrounds or any other place that give them the opportunity to use their hands and just start doing pull ups. Honestly, we find this very difficult so if you’re new to calisthenics, ready yourself with frustration.

It’s fine if you can only do one pull up on your first day, but you will eventually gain the necessary upper body strength  to lift yourself up several times. If you weigh more than the average person, you may have to focus on shedding excess weight first before attempting the push up.

  1. Squats. These are very important too. Calisthenics focuses so much on torso and upper body strength that sometimes the legs are not paid attention. Even gymnasts who focus solely on their upper body strength will eventually have to pay attention to their thighs and calves.

Performing squats at home will give you nice toned legs. The recommended number of squats is 40 if you’re a beginner, but if you can reach more than 60 on your first day, you will have no problems going for 100 or even 200.

Category: Featured