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Free Weights vs Calisthenics

The use of free weights and calisthenics for exercising have plenty of benefits, but is one better than the other?

It depends, calisthenics are better suited to improve functional body movements that are used in daily life because the basis of calisthenics is to move your body through space without any restrictions. For example, doing pull-ups and push-ups. Free weights, on the other hand, are mainly static loads, where you stay in a single place and manipulate the weight from point A to point B. For example, using bench presses and dumbbells. If you’re intention is to pack on muscle, free weights are for you. If you want to improve your capabilities in moving your body through space rather than lifting weights, calisthenics is for you. At the end of the day, do want you enjoy. I like to do both! Below, I have provided some benefits of using free weights and calisthenics.

Advantages of Free Weights

TKO Solid Steel Urethane Dumbbells

Free weights have an advantage  when it comes to simplifying progression. If you want to build strength, you simply have to lift heavier weights. The same thing goes for building muscle, by increasing volume through increasing repetitions. calisthenics doesn’t improve strength and muscle growth easily since it lacks the increase of volume. For example, if you want to achieve a more defined chest, push-ups can only do so much for you since there is not much you can do to add progression. With free weights, you can simply progress by adding more weights to the bar for bench pressing, or lift heavier dumbbells while laying on a bench. Another advantage of using free weights is the ability to target specific muscle groups for making that specific muscle larger or because you’re recovering from an injury, isolation movements are best achieved with weights. While calisthenics consist of many natural and functional movements that require multiple muscle groups to be targeted at the same time.

Advantages of Calisthenics


Body weight exercises, for the most part are free.  Free weights have to be bought or you must have a gym membership to use them. For calisthenics, you can always go to a local park that calisthenics bars to exercise, or you can do your push-ups and sit-ups at home. At the very most, you can purchase a pull-up bar or a suspension training system.  Which comes out to be a lot cheaper than buying free weights. With body weight exercises, the possibility of you getting injured is less than with free weights, since some people lift weights with improper form.

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