4 Assumptions about Calisthenics

Posted on January 28 2019

4 Assumptions about Calisthenics
  1. You Can Not Build Strength and Muscle with Calisthenics

    People always assume that you have to go to weight training or you have to hit the gym really hard in order to build a considerable amount of muscle and strength. Honestly, that is not true. People who claim you can’t build strength and muscle with calisthenics don't understand the concept of progressive overload when it comes to calisthenics.

    For example; let's say you're bench pressing. When you get stronger with anything, bench pressing or weightlifting related, what do you do? You simply add on more weight. With calisthenics, you can add on more weight actually. Another way of doing this is just simply changing the variation. This allows your body to adapt to a new stimulus. If your diet is proper and right, you will build muscle and strength. As you can see from this picture right here, I started out really skinny. Then, over time with 3 years of body weight training, I was able to gain a lot of strength and, also, gain a decent amount of muscle.

  1. You Have to Do High Reps with Calisthenics

    This comes to more of the ignorance side with calisthenics. All this is pretty much ignorant in my opinion, but a lot of people, they come up and ask me like, "How many push-ups can you do? How many pull-ups can you do?" The answer I always give them is that I simply just don't know because when you're doing bodyweight training, as I said in my other point, you progress to other harder movements. You don't just stick with the normal push-up and the normal pull-up and just keep doing high reps and 20 plus rep sets. It doesn't work that way. I'm going to relate this to the bench press again. You wouldn't go on the bench press and just do the bar...50 times. Same with the push-up, you're not doing high reps. Now, keep in mind, a lot of people do train this style, this high reps style, and it works for them. That's really just to gain endurance and to get better at a movement. But if your goal is to gain strength, I don't stick with high reps. A lot of other calisthenics people don't. If you see a calisthenics person, don't ask how many pull-ups they can do or push-ups can they do, because they probably won't know.

  1. People Assume Calisthenics Does Not Translate to Weightlifting

    Again, simply not true. Now, let's reverse that situation; weightlifting really does not translate to body weight strength. I don't know why, I don't know how, but if you get the strongest person in the gym, tell them to do a muscle-up or to do 10 pull-ups, they probably couldn't do it honestly. No idea why. On the other hand, for me, for example, I literally never bench press. I can't remember the last time I did… it was probably recorded during that video when I tested my max bench press. During that video, I was able to bench press near 250 pounds without ever bench pressing. That's just all through pushing movements, and like I said in the other point, changing the variation. Yes, calisthenics can translate to weightlifting strength if you do decide to change over. The other hand just isn't true. Keep that in mind as you're training with your body weight.

  1. People Assume Body Weight Training is Superior to Weightlifting

     This can go vice versa. Neither really is true, because people have different goals and they have different weaknesses and different strengths. If you're looking to be more functional, gain more functional bodyweight strength to either perform a movement; or maybe you want to do something new and learn a skill, then, of course, body weight training is for you. If you're interested in body weight training but don't know where to start, be sure to check out my programs that give you the secrets to your desired physique. However, if you want to gain muscle faster more effectively, more efficiently, more science proven and more progressively, then, of course, weightlifting is your best option.


  • pgysgrhmlg: November 10, 2020

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

  • Sam: January 01, 2020

    What’s the age difference in the before and after pictures?

  • David Cohen: May 31, 2019

    As to weight training being not translatable to Calesthenics, that’s false. When I was 11, I went into Judo training, which included calesthenics. The night before the first class, I was unable to do one pushup. After about 10 weeks, I was up to 35 pushups and it stayed there because that’s the most we would do during class. At age 14, I started Football and we used extensive weight training. The following year, I saw another guy do 100 pushups. I tried and also completed 100 pushups as well.

    Weight training machine exercises are not as translatable because the motion is fixed to a certain range of motion and doesn’t require stabilization strength. I experienced the difference at age 16. The wrestling team got a team membership to a club that featured Nautilus machines after the season. I trained there for about three months and had added weight on all the machines. But, before using that facility, I was using 135 lbs for reps on the Incline Barbell Press and was having trouble controlling 95 lbs after training with the Nautilus machines.

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