In terms of bodybuilding and strength training, we often get the million-dollar question: Is calisthenics or weights training better? The answer is, why choose when you can do both?

In order to understand how you could practice calisthenics and weights training together for many advantages (that we will discuss later), we first have to understand the difference between the two.


Calisthenics in Greece. Lemur12CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Your grandfather might be using the term to refer to physical exercise. Calisthenics is low-resistance exercises that use your body weight rather than other equipment like barbells or machines like cable triceps bar. Thus, it is also known as bodyweight training. Usually, these low-resistance routines are used as a warm-up or cool-down before a sport (say, running) or other fitness routines. It could also be its own workout, by doing many repetitions for each move to help build muscles and develop endurance. Some of the well-known calisthenic exercises are:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Chin-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Planks
  • Lunges

P.S. If you want to know Brandon Webb’s Navy SEAL calisthenics workout, he shared it here.