Calisthenics vs. weight training

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Rickson, Jun 30, 2008.

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Weights or calisthenics?

  1. Give me the weights!

    35.0%
  2. Calisthenics for me!

    15.0%
  3. I do both and will not choose one over the other!

    50.0%
  4. I only do cardio and will not do any resistance training!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I used to be into heavy weight training several years ago and working at various gyms at the time made it easy for me, but recently, I've been doing more calisthenics than anything else. What I've noticed is that people who lift light weights exclusively can not do calisthenics particularly well while people who lift heavy weights are usually pretty good at calisthenics too. People who do calisthenics exclusively can obviously lift their own bodyweight so they could transition into weights well if they wanted, but they usually can't lift extremely heavy weights. I like doing both and if I had to choose one over the other, I wouldn't choose, but I know some guys who love the weights exclusively and I know even more guys who do calisthenics exclusively. If you work on machines, that counts as weight training. What's your opinion?
     
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  2. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    I said weights but I guess I do both, since I do pull-ups and crunches and dips.

    Some of the fittest people out there do solely calisthenics and cardio. They do it every day, or almost every day, and their bodies get ripped. I'll probably go more in that direction when I get older. Even though I push myself hard in the weight room, I think heavy weight training is relatively easy compared to what some of these super fit people do.
     
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  3. dcottrill

    dcottrill Rookie

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    While I believe that both are useful, as I get older, I am starting to lean more towards calisthenics. I think it is more important to be able to control your own body rather than throw big weights around. One of the most pathetic sights I have ever seen was a powerlifter trying to do pullups. Really sad. :cry:
     
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  4. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I met an assistant wrestling coach from Boston and this guy was in sick shape. This guy would climb the ropes at the Santa Monica Beach with his body in an L shape meaning he didn't even use his legs. This guy did the traveling rings with ease and if anyone's ever tried them, you'll know they're not easy. I always wondered if the wrestling coach could bench press what I could and I thought, probably not, but one thing I knew for sure was that I couldn't do a lot of the things he could do. You can be in good shape by lifting weights and by doing calisthenics, but I believe that someone who's proficient in calisthenics has better body control than someone who lifts weights exclusively. Don't get me wrong, one is not necessarily better than the other, but if you want to be a mountain climber one day, I'd say calisthenics would be better training than free weights.
     
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  5. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    I do both, but I favor bodyweight exercises. I only use weights for legs since I need the extra resistance. I think the problem with calistenics is that the weight is too light. Of the common exercises, only dips and pullups will usually cause someone to max out in the 8-10 range. Pushups, squats and lunges are childs play for most people until 20 reps is hit. So, they get themselves out of the anaerobic strength range. I think if people tried to work up to planche pushups, pistols, and advanced pull ups, the necessity of weights would be diminished.

    To be honest, I think calisthenics are much better for a majority of athletes. I think weights got popular due to isolation exercises and the ability to compete with fellow gym members with a number system. I think the prime advantage of weights is for lower body development.
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    This is why we have weight belts. You can use a combination of weights and calisthenics by adding a 45 between your legs. Yes, sometimes bodyweight exercises become too easy, but variations of certain exercises make them much more difficult. Almost everyone can do a pullup, but how many people can do a muscleup on a pullup bar? You'd have to be able to do at least 20 pullups to the chest and at least 20 deep dips in order to do a single bar muscleup. The 45 between the legs might speed up the process due to higher intensity.
     
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  7. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, one reason why Crossfit training has broken into mainstream fitness is because it balances aspects of weight training with functional movement training, which includes a lot of BW exercises and imbalanced weighted movements. A supercharged version of calisthenics.

    This kind of training offers two real benefits that overlap into weight training (i.e. powerlifting or use plain ol' lifting heavy.) First, often, you're dealing with skill acquisition issues where you're trying to coordinate your body, especially your lower and upper body to some new movement pattern. Even well trained gym rats often get very sore when trying out rings or rope climbing, because it's just alien to move against a weight without having your feet as a base. All this improves the use of your core, which translates back to better lifts because your ability to coordinate the core with simpler movements becomes significantly improved. Second, when you undergo this training, because you're activating a lot of muscles at the same time, you push your neural drive capacity, especially in those muscles. That increases your intensity, and that can also increase speed of strength adaptation.

    Calisthenics and high level movement training is important in sports like tennis, because most of the power comes from loading of complex kinetic chain sequences in a dynamic (i.e. moving) environment. As your coordination and movement patterns improve against weight, your ability to adjust, relax and then explode improves. That is why a guy like Federer may not be the biggest guy in the gym, but he is a world class and explosive athlete for his sport.
     
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  8. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Have you seen the YouTube videos of Murray's fitness routines? LOL. After beating Gasquet (a sad day in Wimby history) he had the chutzpah to flex his anemic bicep. But, for tennis, I'm guessing that what matters most-technique aside-is simply some overloading. After that, it's all a matter of degree.

    I prefer lifting. I enjoy lifting heavy one day per week. I think it keeps me strong for stuff like occasional heavy lifting I do in life.

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
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  9. NotAtTheNet

    NotAtTheNet Semi-Pro

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    I love both, though routine-wise I typically hit the weights more religiously, I recently purchased a pull, dip and push up station. Anytime I'm tempted to something like eat junk food or watch tv, I do consecutive sets of pull ups, push ups and dips to exhaustion (normally about 20/40/18 ) and i average about at least 6-8 sets of these a day (with depreciating reps of course). Also since I tend to not lift on days prior to a match or hitting with a rival, the calisthenics do a great job of some muscle maintenance. I feel it also keeps limber and not so tight, as opposed to when I was only lifting. Hmm... hope some of this makes some sense to people...
     
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  10. dcottrill

    dcottrill Rookie

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    I'm guessing you're not a Murray fan.
     
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  11. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    I love weight lifting and I dislike calisthenics.I don't know what is better for your body,but.. I don't really care.
    For exercise I do what I like the best,because is personal time,like a hobby.
     
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  12. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Good grief, no. He pulls more faces than Red Skelton did. What a whiney Scot.... In his defense, he did show some character pulling out the match against Gasquet. :) If he wins his next match I'll have to reassess my view, but that seems most unlikely. ;)

    -Robert
     
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  13. TopShelf

    TopShelf Rookie

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    I lift weights but include "dips, pullups" etc. for each body part
    I don't raise my "lifting level" greatly so I can be more leaner on the court.
     
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  14. summer

    summer New User

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    How much did the machine cost?
     
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  15. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    It's not actually a machine as much as a stand. If you're looking for a pullup/dip assist machine, that'll cost you some extra bucks, but if you have no problem moving your own bodyweight, you can pick up a dip/pullup stand for around a hundred bucks.
     
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  16. NotAtTheNet

    NotAtTheNet Semi-Pro

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    yeah, its not a machine, but a bunch of metal pipes really... and i bought it used of craigs list for like 20 bucks. usually around march to april when people abandon their new years resolutions you'll find deals on good used exercise equipment.
     
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  17. Klatu Verata Necktie

    Klatu Verata Necktie Hall of Fame

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    I choose weights because I enjoy doing them. Since I enjoy my workouts, I do them happily and consistently.
     
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  18. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Klatu! I'm shocked that you don't include dips and pullups in your routine! Whatever you do, Klatu, make those workouts count and keep the intensity high.
     
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  19. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    I agree.The best exercise is the one you enjoy.If you actually don't like the workout sooner or later you will stop.
     
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  20. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Noone can be forced into liking an exercise so if you hate pullups, you're not gonna do them. I have never done lunges in my life and I probably never will so yeah, if you don't like a particular exercise, don't do it. Have fun with your workouts.
     
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  21. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    *sigh* Pullup is my last fitness goal for this year.I can't do any,but I hope by the end of the year.:( -don't laugh at me- :p
     
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  22. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I was a personal trainer, I'm not allowed to laugh. I've trained a lot of women and how many of them do you think could do a single pullup? Try some assisted pullups for now. If you can do them with 80 lbs. of assistance, keep lowering the assistance until you can get them with 20 lbs.. By the time you're using just 20, you can bet that you can do your bw. Good luck.
     
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  23. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    In my gym only one girl can do them.It's very frustrating,because even when the gym trainers see me near the weights they give me some 3 kilos pink dumbells,tell me to do 15x4 "because this will help you tone up and not bulk up" http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m105/bagdaddy_2006/smilies/******.gif and come near me yelling when I put them down and tell them I know don't worry.:roll: It's very stereotypical.I had them made me a program focused on upper body and the trainer actually laughed.Good thing I will change gym for the summer.I wil try the assisted pull up machine for now I was only doing lat. pullups.:/ ok,rant over lol.:(
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
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  24. Klatu Verata Necktie

    Klatu Verata Necktie Hall of Fame

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    You'd better believe I do dips and pullups. Sometimes I do them on their own, other times I include them in supersets toward the end of a long workout. I thought the idea here was to choose between the two forms of exercise.
     
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  25. Klatu Verata Necktie

    Klatu Verata Necktie Hall of Fame

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    Rickson provided great advise. Another thing I would try is to invert your grip. Many people find it more difficult to do pullups with the palms facing out than with them facing in. Try both ways. You can also try using both wide and narrow grips.
     
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  26. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    That's great news, Klatu! Dips and pullups are great exercises and are the staple of my calisthenics. BTW, you have option number 3 on the poll.
     
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  27. NotAtTheNet

    NotAtTheNet Semi-Pro

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    When i started seriously working out 10 years ago, i was in the same boat. since I was only 15 i didn't have access to an assisted pull up machine. What I ended up doing is jumping up, use the jump momentum to get my chin over the bar, and hold the pull up position as long as I could. Either that or use a stool or something. After a good week of that you should build up enough to get to at least one. Once you're there, the sky's the limit! Oh and you can build a pull up bar in your backyard on the cheap. Some 5x5 posts, a sturdy metal tube, cement, drill and shovel! Thats what I did bc as a skinny twerb in my younger years I was embarrassed in not being able to do one.
     
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  28. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    wow thank you!That's very good advice,and something I can easily do and at home!!Without having the :roll: stares and ridicule too :p thanx!:)
     
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  29. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Stares and ridicule? Why care what they think? I was working in the gym when I had a serious back injury. I took several days off and when I came back to rehab my back, I was doing squats with 95 lbs.. I normally squatted 315 at the time, but I knew I had to rehab slowly. One guy even asked me why I was going so light and I told him I was injured. He gave me his condolences and continued his workout. The only reason he asked me was because he knew how I trained in the past, but otherwise, he wouldn't have looked twice. If a big guy like me can resort to using children's weights, you don't need to be embarrassed about a thing. Trust me, people are doing their own thing in the gym and if they're not, they need to get a life. Even as a trainer, I never corrected anyone outside of my clients unless they specifically asked me for advice. It's not my business and correcting people's forms is not a good way to land new clients.
     
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  30. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    I don't know,probably you are very well trained and such,but when you're like the only woman in the weight room who actually tries to break a sweat and lift really ,then you get a lot of stares.:neutral: From guys and girls equally.I don't like it,and when most times I try and ignore it but if I can I will avoid it.So,it won't stop me from going there and do my stuff,but if there's another way,and an easy one that I can do at home,then I'm all for that.;)
     
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  31. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Malakas, are you circuit training? If you're going to the gym and jumping from the leg press right to a bench press, you are circuit training. If you are, then stop that and focus on training individual bodyparts. Do legs one day, and chest on another.
     
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  32. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Rickson - just wondering. Is there something wrong with circuit training?

    I do circuits with free weights and body weight exercises.

    something like - squats, bench press, lunges, pull-ups, straight leg dead-lifts, abs, shoulder/rotator cuff exercises. - repeat circuit 3x.

    Right now, my main goal is to lose weight and to gain a little strength for tennis.

    Just wondering.

    To answer the OP - I do a bit of both.
     
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  33. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Circuit training was designed to combine aerobic and anaerobic exercise and it's not a bad thing if your goal is conditioning, but for muscle hypertrophy, you might want to break down your bodyparts because keeping the blood flow in one area of the body will get you more muscle breakdown than jumping from one bodypart to another. If you want to condition yourself then keep doing what you're doing, but if you want to improve your overall muscle development, break down your bodyparts to 2 a day such as chest and back one day, and legs and shoulders on another day.
     
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  34. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    Rickson,I break into upper and lower but I jump from one to other straight!What is it called? Also,my aim is muscle maintaining not gaining (since I'm in catabolic state) and strength gaining.I almost can lift my weight after only 2 months of weightlifting-which from my starting lifting weight is very big improvement :p.Only 2,because I was in the only cardio trap because of misinformation.
     
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  35. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    It's called don't do that anymore! Here's a sample day of what you could do:

    Chest: 1 set of 15 reps Flat bench press with 45 lb barbell, 1 set of 15 reps incline dumbbell presses with 15 lb. dumbbells, 1 set of machine assisted dips for 15 reps, and you're done with chest.

    Back: 1 set of lat pulldowns with 40 lbs. for 15 reps, one set of seated rows with 40 lbs. 15 reps, one set of hyperextensions for 15.

    You keep the blood flow in the same area and you're not jumping bodyparts. Good luck.
     
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  36. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    Thanx very much for the advise.That's almost like I do only 2-3 sets of 8-9 reps because in that last couples reps I'm really exhausted and I know I have to stop.I don't want duration,so I do heavy,few reps.I have read,the way you lift,you train different kinds of muscle fibres and can go either for duration or strenght or bit of both.Anyway,thank you very much for the advice.You help people with weights,and people help you with friends.:mrgreen:
     
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  37. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    If you're familiar with a particular exercise, you can do 2 sets, but most people make the mistake of doing way too many sets. Personally I do 2 or 3 sets max. I usually do 15 reps with a very light weight for my standards and 10 reps with a weight that's somewhat challenging to me. If I do a 3rd set, I'll do 8 reps with a challenging weight and by that, I mean a weight that most people can't do. Sorry to brag there. Don't do multiple sets of the same exercise. That's a no no. Do 1 to 3 sets max and always start with 15 reps with a fairly light weight for you.
     
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  38. malakas

    malakas Banned

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    I didn't think the warming up-easy set was necessary if you're already warmed up,but you probably know better than me.I will try that,and see the results.:) Thanx again.
     
    #38
  39. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Actually, I shouldn't have put always before the 15. 15 reps is what NASM set as the number of reps a beginner should do to acclimate during a set. I do 1 set of 15 reps if I've taken more than a month off from the gym. By the 2nd week, I move back to 2 sets and if I somehow make it to the 3rd week, I do 3 sets starting at 15, 10, and ending with 6-8 reps on the last set. When I powerlift, I skip the 15 starting set altogether and do only 8 reps for my 1st set with a light weight. I move to a decent weight for the 2nd set, but I do only 5 reps, and I finish the last 2 sets with 2-3 reps. I save my strength that way for power sets.
     
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  40. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the answer Rickson. Right now, I think I'll stick with the circuit - I could use the conditioning for my tennis game and the aerobic element also seems to help me slim down a bit. Also, it lets me get my work-out in since I can usualy make it to the gym 2x or 3x a week.

    But in the past, once I got bored of circuits and was able to get to the gym
    4x a week, I usually broke things out into a push/pull split or an uppper and lower body split.
     
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  41. NotAtTheNet

    NotAtTheNet Semi-Pro

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    Hey Rickson, you seem to be a pretty serious into working out and must be a pretty big guy. Did you ever experience that all the strength and muscle gains you got from lifting affected your range of motion in tennis negatively?

    Years ago I used to be a gym rat and found that my transition from weight lifting into triathlons was difficult bc of lack of range of motion for the swim (chest felt tight, couldn't get arms back much for a good stroke). I've slimmed down considerably now but I'd imagine the same would hold true for tennis as well...

    But you also seem like a serious tennis player too, so I don't think that is the case. Is there anything you do specifically to keep your range of motion? When I do lift I've always stuck to the basics exercises: bench, inclines, pull downs, squats, deadlifts, etc... split up according as chest/bi, back/tri, shoulders/legs days. Thanks.
     
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  42. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    If by big, you mean fat, I am that these days. My inconsistent workouts along with my 4K caloric intake has turned me into a combination of muscle and fat. I'm sort of like Jeff Monson right now, but with less muscle mass.

    Jeff

    To answer your other question, my tennis was never hampered by my muscle size because I have decent flexibility. I'm also what's known as a hard gainer meaning although I could bench press 315 lbs., I don't look as big as I am strong. I can lift a lot of weight, but I don't grow quickly. In other words, my muscles are not actually that big anyway.
     
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  43. Julieta

    Julieta Guest

    Don't worry about it! I grew up in gyms and to this day, if people start staring at me for whatever I do I just give them this look like I am in complete control, which I am, lol, and ignore them. Besides that half of the guys starting at you probably have hideous form and dont know what they are doing. They are probably lifting too much weight and hoping it will make them look like a cover model. And they might be looking around because they are bored and/or you look cute. I think feeling confident and projecting it is the key to turning the gym into your private sanctuary. Also if you aren't sure about how to do something, but you want to try, dont be afraid to ask! Most gyms have someone on hand who is happy to show you how to use a machine or perform an exercise. I really wish I could take every female into the gym and help them get over that feeling of self-conciousness. Because the gym is a great place. i prefer the gym over the real world, lol.
     
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  44. Julieta

    Julieta Guest

    Not sure where pilates fits in but I used to do super-advanced pilates stuff like the kind that Romana teaches at Dragos, and those were some of the hardest exercises out there. Legend has it that Joe Pilates used to challenge truckers and any other muscle bound guys to do some of the exercises and they always struggled. I know of a trainer who is a huge weighthead power lifter type probably roided out and he tried pilates at some convention and got hooked on it. He couldnt do any of the exercises even though he is big as a house. Eventually got certified himself and now works it into his clients routines. I would love to start pilates training again but its a total ripoff. You have to buy the equipment yourself or pay their insane private lesson prices.
     
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  45. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    Not everybody like training around people. People can be distracting for some. I believe Halil Mutlu used to train alone in a reasonably dark gym so he could focus. It depends what you are trying to accomplish. I stopped training around people because they just get in my way. When I work out I have a goal; I want to accomplish that goal and get on with my life.
     
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  46. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    I know that those women who never venture past the cardio machines know how important weight training is to attaining their ideal physique, but they're intimidated to go into a room with a bunch of sweaty, grunting guys who are lifting big weights. They see exercising as being in kind of a vulnerable position (i.e. your butt is sticking out, you're straining, and everyone can see you).

    But most of the guys in there are friendly and most of them have jobs and families and are educated and are focused on their own routine. It's true that the guys will sneak looks at attractive women, but they will rarely stare. And it's not like women aren't used to being looked at. We look at you all the time. You look at us too.

    If you're still intimidated, a home gym might be the best idea. Eventually when I'm settled down I'll set one up for myself.
     
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  47. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I'm extremely happy to see that nobody picked the last option. Cardio is a good thing, but cardio without any resistance training whatsoever can have a lot of negative effects on the body with the major one being a slower metabolism. That's absolutely correct, constant cardio with no resistance training will decrease your metabolic rate.
     
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  48. ShooterMcMarco

    ShooterMcMarco Hall of Fame

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    I did my very first crossfit session with a certified level 1 trainer recently and it kicked my ass. I haven't sweated that much in a while and I felt a major endorphin rush afterward. I basically did a "mini cindy" which is essentially:

    5 pull ups
    10 push ups
    15 body weight squats

    I did as many rounds as I could in 10 minutes with no rest. I ended up with 8 rounds + 5 pull ups 10 pushups and 10 squats, since I didn't reach the total amount for squats it didn't count as a round I guess. My chest hasn't been this sore in a while. One thing I realized immediately after the session was that I cheated often when I exercised, especially when doing pull ups and deadlifts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
    #48
  49. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    12,740
    Location:
    USA
    Damn, Shooter. I still think about Dorkus McDickey and Teets MgJigglesworth when I see your name.
     
    #49
  50. ShooterMcMarco

    ShooterMcMarco Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    3,017
    lmao, I totally forgot about that thread, haha. Thanks for reminding me though because that thread was epic.

    I plan on continuing crossfit from here on out. Now its time to start building some paralettes from scratch :)
     
    #50

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