The world’s premier network for those seeking to share and discuss high-impact,high results, super practical information for the developmentof superiorphysical performance.
Results 1 to 10 of 10
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Filth Infatuated

Thread: Calisthenics vs Weights vs Kettlebells.

  1. #1
    Filth Infatuated is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    10

    Default Calisthenics vs Weights vs Kettlebells.

    What do you guys think each practice is best for? What are the pro's and cons of each in your experience? From what i've read and can make out from what i've done of each already -

    Calisthenics - Convenience obviously being the biggest benefit as most of the exercises can be done anywhere with no equipment. Flexibility, joint health, lean mass went up. I switched to Calisthenics after years of weights was wearing on some of my joints and i'd incurred quite a few injuries. Most of these things cleared up as a result - but I did lose a fair bit of mass. I enjoyed the super lean, ripped look and being a stone or so lighter for a while but eventually took up kettlebells as my main method.

    Weights - I guess if you're purely looking to build muscle weights are your best option. The barbell also seems the obvious choice for building maximal strength for powerlifters. In my experience doing weights long term lead to many more injuries than other practices and seemed to make me somewhat stiff and less flexible.

    Kettlbells - Conditioning seems to be the main appeal. My strength-endurance and cardio fitness are undoubtedly higher than they have ever been since i've been on the KB's. I'm also enjoying the rugged, more natural looking "all over" physique they build. Injury free and still flexible thus far too! The convenience of only having one piece of training equipment that is easily transportable is also a massive appeal. To me the kettlebells seem like a happy medium between weights and calisthenics.

    Please let me know your opinions!

  2. #2
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4,508

    Default

    I enjoy all forms of training. I have barbell phases, kettlebell phases, and BW phases. I do not hold one method above others, as being the best, but I do ENJOY kettlebell training a great deal for the uniqueness and barbell training for the way it makes me feel significantly stronger and more powerfuller. BW training comes into play when I begin to notice I am putting on too many lbs and need to streamline. But BW trng is not as much fun as kettlebells and barbells - more drudgery for me anyway...Dennis

  3. #3
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,124

    Default

    I think the convenience of calisthenics is context specific. You can do pushups and squats anywhere but what if you don't have a pullup bar or you don't have a place to practice your handstand pushups? You can get a full body workout with a barbell and some floor space, if you happen to have that.

    In regards to weights causing injuries - I think we'd need more information about what's going on that injuries are being caused. It could be a case of poor form, lifting too heavy, etc.

  4. #4
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4,508

    Default

    Forgot to mention that whatever method you choose, it should match what your goals, sport etc...Also BW training is VERY much cheaper. Pull up bar, dip station is all you need. Barbells and plates is within the money means of most people. But then you need a bench and squat rack. But still doable money wise. Kettlebells (good quality) is very pricey as you need at least as a minimum three kettlebells at various weights...But we all know this hehehe!!!...Dennis

  5. #5
    Adam R Mundorf is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default Pros and Cons

    Calisthenics
    • Pros
      • Accessibility
      • Teaches great lessons in strength and tension
      • Mastery of bodyweight translates well to other endeavors
      • Improves every aspect of human fitness
      • Promotes tendon and connective tissue strength
      • Not as easy to overload yourself. Compared too weights. They only way to overload yourself really is through too many reps which will cause tendinitis.
      • Time tested and are just simply effective.

    • Cons
      • Not as easy to progress. Allot more time is spent on skill.
      • You simply won't pack on as much muscle compared to weight training
      • Advanced movements require great connective tissue and tendon strength
      • Less likelihood of serious injury

    Barbell
    • Pros
      • Easier to pack on muscle
      • Easier to progress by just slapping on another plate
      • Some moves like the deadlift are just easier with the barbell

    • Cons
      • It's easy to hurt yourself
      • I'm not convinced that long term heavy weight training doesn't wreck habit on the joints, even when done with proper form.
      • There can be zero slip up in form. The consequences can be really severe when you have a heavy weight above or on top of you.
      • Eventually the risk to reward of going up in weight won't be worth it anymore.

    Kettlebells
    • Pros
      • Great for ballistic and one handed exercises
      • Great for squats, swings and turkish getups.
      • Portable
      • They're great for movement chains because of they're ballistic nature.

    • Cons
      • Rather expensive compared to other modalities.
      • Large weight jumps which by some is considered a benefit.
      • Believe or not kettlebell ballistics ARE rough on the elbows and shoulders. Even when done with proper form. Microtrauma is a real thing.
      • The majority of exercises can be performed more effectively with other modalities. The only exceptions are the swing, goblet squat and turkish get up. This came out of the marketing ploy that kettlebells are good/the best for everything. They're not.
      • Many people ate the marketing right up on kettlebells. They're cool and unique but there are better, more cost effective tools out there.


    Overall calisthenics win in almost every category except for packing on mass and replicating the hinge/loaded carry movements. I think calisthenics should make up the bulk of anyone's training. If you can't move your body, you have no business moving large weights. Honestly a good program could be mainly calisthenics with weights for the occasional deadlift and loaded carry. I haven't accomplished jack by the way so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  6. #6
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,124

    Default

    I don't see why you have to limit yourself to one modality. I commonly use barbells, calisthenics, and Kbs in a single workout.

    Choose exercises/rep ranges that match your goals. A 5ish rm pushups variation, a 5rm weighted dip, and a 5rm bench press will all build strength for example.

  7. #7
    Filth Infatuated is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ad5ly View Post
    I enjoy all forms of training. I have barbell phases, kettlebell phases, and BW phases. I do not hold one method above others, as being the best, but I do ENJOY kettlebell training a great deal for the uniqueness and barbell training for the way it makes me feel significantly stronger and more powerfuller. BW training comes into play when I begin to notice I am putting on too many lbs and need to streamline. But BW trng is not as much fun as kettlebells and barbells - more drudgery for me anyway...Dennis
    Yeah i've gotta agree on the enjoyability front, I find weights and KB's more fun than bodyweight, especially the ballistic movements. I don't think any one method is superior for everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    I think the convenience of calisthenics is context specific. You can do pushups and squats anywhere but what if you don't have a pullup bar or you don't have a place to practice your handstand pushups? You can get a full body workout with a barbell and some floor space, if you happen to have that.

    In regards to weights causing injuries - I think we'd need more information about what's going on that injuries are being caused. It could be a case of poor form, lifting too heavy, etc.
    I meant generally more convenient. Pushups, Squats, Bridges, Leg raise etc can all be done anywhere. You only need a wall to do shoulder presses. Not having a pullup bar makes things more difficult but you could always find a tree, door frame, ledge etc. I can also get a great workout done with just a barbell and floor space, but I was referring more to being able to do calisthenics when you're on the move.

    Weights caused me a few major injuries from bad form or using too much weight, but a lot of minor "wear and tear" injuries over a decade of doing weights three times a week. Rotator cuffs, sore knees etc. As another poster said, I just don't think using heavy weights regualarly is good for your joints long term, even with perfect form.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    I don't see why you have to limit yourself to one modality. I commonly use barbells, calisthenics, and Kbs in a single workout.

    Choose exercises/rep ranges that match your goals. A 5ish rm pushups variation, a 5rm weighted dip, and a 5rm bench press will all build strength for example.
    Well, it is my plan to mix all 3 modalities when I get back from travelling Asia, where I will be doing solely calisthenics due to moving around constantly.

    @Adam R Mundorf thanks for the comprehensive reply, I agree on most of your points. Certainly with weights being the easiest to injure yourself with, KB's being the best for basllistic movement and Calisthenics being the best overall. After I return from travelling I plan to combine all 3 practices in one workout to reap the benefits of each. In an ideal world, once I own a house with a garage, I'll have a barbell for deadlifts, kettlebells for swings and snatches and the rest of my routine will be all bodyweight.
    Adam R Mundorf likes this.

  8. #8
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,124

    Default

    Strength coach Mike Boyle wrote that he thinks some people just aren't meant to lift heavy weights. Whenever his squat and deadlift approached 500 pounds he would get an injury. That's one reason he likes single leg exercises, you don't need as much weight to get a good workout.

    Personally, if my squat and deadlift were approaching 500 pounds, I think I'd call that good and move on.

  9. #9
    Adam R Mundorf is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I can agree with that. Past a certain point you become a specialist which is what most people don't need or want to be.

  10. #10
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,124

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Filth Infatuated View Post

    Well, it is my plan to mix all 3 modalities when I get back from travelling Asia, where I will be doing solely calisthenics due to moving around constantly.
    If you'll be without equipment for a while, this might be an interesting read: Leg Blaster Match Front Squat in Building Lower Body Strength

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Free Course
Close