Calisthenics Vs Weights: Which One Is Better?

Weightlifting is much more popular than calisthenics, why is that? Is it maybe because it’s simply better than calisthenics? Or is calisthenics better than weightlifting? In this article, I will compare calisthenics vs weights to find out which one is actually better.

What you will learn in this article:

  • What is calisthenics?
  • What is weightlifting?
  • What is the difference? calisthenics vs Weights
  • comparing them
  • Which one is better: calisthenics vs weights?

What is calisthenics?

Calisthenics vs Weights


Calisthenics is all about using your own body weight to build strength and muscle. You won’t be lifting weights in this game. Nope, it’s more about those classic moves like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and planks—exercises where your body becomes the gym.

Unlike weight training, where you pump iron, calisthenics is all about functional movements. The beauty is that you don’t need fancy equipment or a pricey gym membership. You can do these bodyweight workouts practically anywhere, and they’re super effective for building that lean, mean muscle, plus you get to learn cool-looking skills like the handstand and the muscle-up.

What is weightlifting?

Calisthenics vs weights


Weightlifting is when you use weights as resistance to build muscle and strength. You will be using things like dumbbells, barbells, and machines. Some of the most basic moves in weightlifting would be things like bicep curls, bench press, squats, deadlifts, and a few others.

The good thing about it is that, unlike with calisthenics, it is very simple to progress; you just add some extra weight, whereas with calisthenics you have to sometimes get creative. Weightlifting is very effective for building muscle mass and strength.

What is the difference? Calisthenics vs Weights?

The main difference between calisthenics and weightlifting boils down to the way you get resistance. Calisthenics uses your own body weight as resistance in exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and planks. Whereas with weightlifting, you use external weights as resistance with exercises like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and more.


With weightlifting, you need equipment, and with calisthenics, you don’t, since you just use your bodyweight. Weightlifting is much more effective at building muscle, and calisthenics is more focused on building bodyweight strength.

Comparing Them

I will be comparing weightlifting and calisthenics based on the following factors:

  • Difficulty For beginners
  • Ability To Build Muscle
  • Risk Of Injury
  • Fat Burning
  • Cost and convenience
  • Strength building

Difficulty for Beginners:

Calisthenics is very beginner-friendly because it uses your body weight as resistance, which makes it accessible for most people at all fitness levels. Weightlifting can be just as beginner-friendly since you can adjust the weight as you like, so beginners can start with very light weights.

Ability to Build Muscle:

Calisthenics and weightlifting can both build a good amount of muscle, but weightlifting takes the win here since you can actually isolate your muscles with weightlifting, which makes building muscle easier.

Risk of Injury:

I would say weightlifting and calisthenics have the same level of risk of injury, because with both you can get injured, but if you train smart and warm up properly, the chances of you getting injured are very low.

Fat Burning:

Calisthenics exercises often involve a combination of strength and cardiovascular elements, making them effective for fat burning. Weightlifting can also help you lose fat. However, calisthenics might offer a more well-rounded fat-burning experience since it boosts your heart rate more than weightlifting.

Cost and Convenience:

Calisthenics wins by far in terms of cost and convenience, as it requires minimal to no equipment. You can practice it anywhere, making it exceptionally convenient. Weightlifting may involve purchasing weights or gym memberships, which can be more expensive. It may also be less convenient if you don’t have access to a gym or equipment.

Strength building:

Calisthenics and weightlifting both help you get stronger, but weightlifting is more focused on building muscle and calisthenics is more focused on building strength. So, calisthenics takes the win here since its main focus is to build strength to be able to do things like front levers or planches.

Which one is better: Calisthenics vs Weights?

When you compare calisthenics vs weights, it’s crucial to understand that neither one is actually better than the other. They are both good in some areas and bad in others, so you can’t really say that one is better because they both tailor to different people and help you achieve different goals.

Weightlifting is good for building a lot of muscle mass and isolating your muscles during the exercises. It is the training style that most bodybuilders or people’s main goal is to put on a lot of muscle picks. It consists of some exercises like bicep curls, bench press, squats, etc.

Calisthenics is a more versatile approach. The main focus of calisthenics is to build functional strength, mobility, agility, and master skills like the handstand or muscle up. You do not need a lot of equipment, and it can be done almost anywhere.

The judgment of whether weightlifting or calisthenics is better depends on personal fitness goals. Some people even do both because they want to master their body weight and build a lot of muscle mass. But most people just do the one that aligns with their goals. Ultimately, the best training style is the one you take pleasure in and can consistently integrate into your lifestyle.

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