Calisthenics is a great sport with a lot of benefits and advantages, but just like everything else, calisthenics also has disadvantages. In this article, I will be talking about 5 disadvantages of calisthenics and why you might not want to do it.
Not enough money in the sport
One of the disadvantages of calisthenics is that there is not enough money in the sport. If you look at other sports like MMA or football, if you can become one of the best in the sport, you are basically sorted for the rest of your life. In calisthenics, it is a bit different. Calisthenics is not as big or as popular, and it does not have huge amounts of prize money. So, if you want to make a living through calisthenics, you will have to find a different way to monetize your skills. A few ways can be selling programs or doing personal coaching.
It is not as easy to progressively overload
With things like bodybuilding or powerlifting, you can just add extra weight to progressive overload; in calisthenics, it’s a little different. With things like weighted dips or weighted pull-ups, you can still just add weight, but when it comes to specific skills or exercises where you cannot add weight, it can get tricky. You have to find a way to manipulate the leverage by changing your position to make it more difficult. For example, if push-ups have become too easy for you, you can move on to things like diamond push-ups or explosive push-ups. The problem with this way of progressive overload is the fact that if you change your position, the focused muscles also change.
Easier to get injured
All pros in calisthenics will tell you that one of the most important things you can do is warm up properly. The reason for this is because it is so easy to get injured in calisthenics. If you are just a beginner, you might not get injured easily because you will be doing basic exercises like pull-ups and push-ups, but when you get to the more advanced skills, your risk of injury is extremely high. Some pros even warm up for 30–60 minutes before getting into their training.
The way to avoid getting injured is to:
- Warm up: Get yourself a proper warm-up routine, and if you train skills, do specific warm-ups for that skill.
- Train with proper form: One of the reasons athletes get injured is because they train with improper form. Make sure when you are doing calisthenics that your form is spot on.
- Do not try skills you cannot do yet: If you just started calisthenics, do not get straight into attempting the planche or front lever. If you do that, you will most likely get injured. Focus on the things you can do and slowly progress to those skills.
Harder to build muscle
Calisthenics is not the best at building muscle, and that is a huge downside. You can still build muscle doing it, but not as much as when you do bodybuilding. The reason calisthenics is not so great at building muscle is because, in calisthenics, you cannot isolate your muscles like you can with bodybuilding.
As I said, you can still build muscle in good amounts by properly using progressive overload or adding weight to certain exercises like pull-ups or dips, but you will never be able to get as big as you can in bodybuilding.
It takes a lot of patience
Learning skills like the handstand, muscle up, planche etc. does not happen overnight; it takes time. If you do calisthenics, you need a lot of patience, because learning these skills and building strength can take years. The time it takes to get there depends on your genetics and how you train, but I can promise you it is not going to come quickly and easily.