Calisthenics VS Weights VS Machines – Which one is best?

Calisthenics VS Weights VS Machines – Which one is best?

Most people don’t understand that Weights and Calisthenics are not that different. If you want to get stronger, you have to set the muscle under tension for the sufficient time and for the sufficient resistance for your goal. And that’s it. Of course, there are many ways to train for different goals. Some want to learn advanced movements. Some want to build a good physique. And some just want to stay fit and active. So, if you want to know what kind of training is right for you, just take a look on the pros and cons of each type of training. Let’s start with the pros and cons of Calisthenics. PROS : Calisthenics can be done nearly anywhere and anytime. And you also need very little or no equipment for your training. One of the biggest pros, in my eyes, is that you can learn new movements and have more creativity and overall freedom. In weight training, the exercises stay nearly the same. All you do is adding of weight. Maybe you start by lifting only the bar itself and learn the correct technique. As you get better, you add up more and more weight. But the exercise stay the same. Bench Press is Bench Press, no matter which weight you use. If you do calisthenics, you can learn new movements after you’ve mastered the basics. You can learn stuff like levers, flags, handstand, pushups, planche, muscle ups and also combinations of these exercises. You can use calisthenics to build up a physique. You can train for strength or just learn complex movements and master your body weight. Another benefit is that you target multiple qualities simultaneously. When you progress into advanced Calisthenic move, you are going to be challenging a multiple ways. You are going to build strength, coordination, mobility, flexibility, and overall body control. The next point is the compound movement training which means you have really no isolation exercises, which can be a pro and a con. Isolating muscle’s weak spot is very hard to do with bodyweight exercises. You always have some stabilizing components in every move which also train other than the targeted areas. This is good because in most cases you don’t need isolation exercises. Our body is designed for complex movements which involve multiple muscle groups and joints. Another benefit is that you tense more than one or just a few muscle group which gives you a good coordinated component and saves you some time when training. But if you want to target only a specific muscle or to recover from an injury, you can integrate isolation exercises by using machines or other equipment. CONS :
This leads us directly to the cons of calisthenics. Like mentioned before, it’s hard to isolate muscles. In some few cases isolation exercises are necessary to train weak points or help recover from injuries. If you have such an issue, you need to use the machines or other equipment because you can almost not isolate a specific muscle completely with calisthenics. You have limitations in leg training. I mean you can train your legs only with your body weight. And you can’t build up some strong well-trained legs. But there are limitations. Because our legs have really large and strong muscles, and most calisthenic leg exercises would be a strength endurance or endurance training. There’s no problem to train your legs for strength endurance and your upper body for maximum strength, as long as you take an eye on a balanced body and avoid too big imbalances. But if you want to build huge legs or train for maximum strength, you should train your legs with weights. Even if you do pistols and are only able to do like 5 reps or so, in the most cases, it’s more limited because of missing technique than a lack of strength. The next con is that progressions are harder to measure and to understand. In weightlifting you can progress in very little steps by adding small weights. In calisthenics you all progress from a move you already mastered to a harder one. You do this by changing the lever or work into work with 1 armed or 1 legged execution. It’s harder to understand how you can change a body weight exercise to make it harder or easier than just adding of weight. The steps from one progression to another can sometimes also be very big and hard. And it’s much easier if you can just add up an exact amount of weight. Let’s move on to the pros and cons of free weights. PROS : Compound and isolation exercises are possible. You can do compound or isolation exercise. The greater variety of isolation exercises means you have more control over the way your body looks and develops than with body weight exercises. With body weight you can build an all around good looking body. But with weights you can define specific parts like triceps or shoulders even more precise. The progressions are easier to understand and to measure. You have nothing else to do with it and just add or remove some weight. And a hundred kilos are a hundred kilos and will never change. So you can always see if and how you progress by comparing the reps with the specific weight with each other. You have no limitations in leg training. CONS : You need equipments and space like different dumbbells, barbells, weights, benches or racks. This is always connected to spending money either for gym membership or for a lot of equipment you use at home. You often need a training partner that helps you for the last rep depending on your training method and weight. You cannot be that much creative while keeping it effective. Basic mechanics of the exercises remain the same which means that you don’t learn new movement. You can get better at that techniques but they are not that complex than calisthenic techniques. Just comepare a military press to a handstand pushup. And only take a look at the complexity of the technique and not at the intensity. This can also be an advantage because you learn techniques faster and are able to progress faster. Let’s move on to the pros and cons of machines. PROS : Machines are very safe. You can almost make no huge mistakes using a machine. They are good for rehab after injuries or for people with very bad motion perception. For someone that has a really low level of fitness and or is recovering from an injury, machines may be the
tool to get their strength up quickly and safely. Since many machines isolate muscles, it may also be easier to work around certain injuries. And of course, you can focus on specific muscles. Most machines are designed in a way that they get the most out of an isolated movement by using eccentric discs. This means you can get almost the same tension over the complete movement. But because of this, you don’t train any technique which is very important especially for maximum strength exercises. CONS : It’s non-functional. Machines have a lot of cons. But it all comes down to the one point. All movements are fixed motions. Machines don’t train complete human movement patterns. They lock you in the place for a guided movement. Our bodies are all different. And that’s the reason why we need free movements. Machines will always force you into these guided patterns without using your muscles to stabilize the movement. If you only train on machines, you have a higher risk of injury, because your body is not used to move out of those pattern. There’s also a very high risk to train yourself into an imbalanced body, because you don’t use the normal movement patterns which our bodies are made for. So what’s the conclusion? All of the three have their pros and cons. You need to know how and when you should use one of those three ways to train. Of course, it’s also possible to combine two or all. But if you don’t recover from injury, I suggest you to Calisthenics and Free Weights to train your body. The focus you choose also depends on your goals as well. If you want to learn advanced calisthenic movement, go with that. If you’re interested in bodybuilding, Combined Weights with Calisthenics and maybe also Machines to define special areas. I hope you got a basic overview of the differences between those three forms of strength training. If you have any further questions, just leave a comment below. Thx, Alex!~

100 thoughts on “Calisthenics VS Weights VS Machines – Which one is best?

  1. What about explosive leg training? You can always jump higher right? And wall sits are pretty hard. Also isometric training is amazing

  2. How i am able to hit every muscle by bodyweight training.And also i want zero fat shredded body which type of training u reccomemd for me.

  3. El says that with free weights the movements stay the same, but this is a bit misleading. I mean, how many squat variations are there? Front, back, Zercher, pin, belt, goblet, split, Bulgarian split, hack, overhead…. the list goes on, and that's just variations on one lower body movement. If you want more skill based exercise with barbells, there's olympic lifts. Single arm barbell snatch is real darn tricky…

  4. I did both. Right now i do cali and its amazing for me. My body awareness is much better, even though the progress like muscle mass is slower.

    I will go to mashines and lifting at some point, but j enjoy doing cali everywhere

  5. IMO, the biggest con about machines is that the movement is guided. Therefore, you don't work the auxiliairy muscles you need to stabilize this movement when it isn't guided anymore.

  6. Thank you for this video! I'm mainly using weight training for the time being, and have been interested in perhaps going into calisthenics, and this gave me lots of the information I was looking for. I also appreciate you trying to be (and in my opinion you succeed) as objective as possible, pointing out pros and cons for each type of training. Well done =D

  7. I do Calisthenics for Martial Arts & Parkour instead of doing weight training & machines. Because I don't want to be a Buffed Turtle Man when it comes to fights & sparrings which I might get tired easily(too much muscle contractions) if I strike.

  8. Calisthenics for the upper body as there are always higher progressions most will never reach anyway. Plus better for the elbows and shoulders. But definitely barbells for the legs unless you want underdeveloped legs.

  9. I need help , I have an average body , I have some muscles because I used to train with weight in the gym . Now Im doing Calisthenics and I like way more because it gives you a shreded body. However , I want to gain weight aswell to look big underclothes and to have wider shoulders .What should I do ? will calisthenics give me huge guns and wider shoulder?

  10. In synthesis we should do all them and put special emphasis in the callisthenics without forgetting about free weights at the gym specially for legs and machines to focus on certan weaker muscles

  11. I like this channel, is such a great way to understand the exercises, and the narrator is knowledgeable , 7:01 look at the camera man reflexes on the machine

  12. I would like to do more weights in my gym. But all the guys there are narcistic instagram idiots :/ they try to sneak up on girls etc. it’s so disgusting.

  13. of the three, calisthenics seem to be the most natural way of working out the human body, also creating a sense of physical freedom

  14. I know some people joke about it, but I really appreciate how the guys just stare straight forward while working out, they serve as a visual example of what’s happening and nothing more, no distraction from the dialogue, just a good visual.

  15. Extraordinary workouts mind focussing is important in calisthenics…… this exercise good for body & mind…. I like this guy is doing good very energetic …. keep it up

  16. Well presented. No BS. Just good, truthful info. Your calm and intelligent demeanor is also inspiring. I’m back into training. Sore, but good. Thanks so much for these vids.

  17. This was the balance I was looking for, because I absolutely love these calisthenic exercises but also noticed how "lacking" in the lower region a lot of the professionals on here are (except you, who seems to have an overall proportionate body frame). Thank you very much for this.

  18. I used to be a weights guy and now I'm a Calisthenics guy. I lost 10 pounds to be able to planche. Calisthenics feels amazing. I feel weaker when it comes to maxing out on weights, but overall I feel much stronger and having very good control of my body.
    It really depends on how you want to look and feel. I'm done being the buff guy so now I'll just be fit.

  19. Almost perfect, just have to point out the straigth legs and arms during weight exercices. Always read that you should never lock your joint at the end of an extension.

  20. Additional Pro for Weights: learning how to push/pull heavy weights… this is also a part of our daily life 😉

  21. Man…these guys have come so far…it's really a movement now…

    You are still at the top of the game…you have always been.

  22. Me: turns on iPad to watch YouTube
    YouTube: recommended me this video
    This video:BRRRR BR BR BRRR
    My parents at 2 am: ( ͡°( ͡° ͜ʖ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ʖ ͡°) ͡°)

  23. Crappy shit BENCH PRESS IS ALWAYS BECNH PRESS BUT CALISTENICS HAS VARIETY. No shit Sherlock, really? What faggot compare ONE EXERCISE ON ONE MUSCLE to shitload bodyweight exercises for hole body? Levers=back, handstand=shoulder, planche= upper body. Yeah, calistenics has VARIETY, bodybuilding are boring: Look faggot how many exercise is only for CHEST in bodybuilding and stop talking nonsense. Btw, Arnold doing 20 dips in a row, 100 kg muscle mass. Thought about it.

  24. Nothing builds you like free weights. If you mix all three, it's the shiznit!! Calisthenics stick with you more; but weights build you faster.

  25. I would say calisthenics for beginners and once u can hit 135 in all the main lifts then get start training with weights. Calisthenics alone is limited in my opinion and most of gym coaches work with weights and some plyometrics but it’s easier when u have numbers to measure progression and u actually train for a purpose like strength and conditioning for athletes. Specially for y’all that wanna hit over 400lbs in your lifts and wanna be the strongest people.

  26. 07:28 im prerry sure your not suppose to fully extend your leg to prevent them from breaking. i quess hes not a great trainer after all.

  27. It looks strange to me that you did not mention two
    additional very important drawbacks of the training solely with free weights/machines.

    The first is that you develop your muscles only for the sake of it (and
    aesthetics, too): in other words, your muscles are not functional to a broader goal,
    that may be mobility/flexibility. You do not become more athletic, and coordinated.
    On the contrary, very often in the long run you LIMIT your mobility. Take a
    look at BBers: what I mean is quite apparent.

    Second: when you concentrate your goal ONLY on the muscles,
    and not on their use, little by little you get a biased self-perception, since
    your only parameter is muscle size. So you start measuring your muscle circumference
    as the one and only indicator of your state of athleticity. Would you prefer a
    guy raising 100 kg over his shoulders, on another one who trains the same
    muscles through handstand pushups? In addition: which of the two spends more
    time in front of the mirror, touching his muscles with the fear that they might

  28. As an heavyweight mma fighter I do calisthenic as warmup and powerlifting ……. Clubs and mace workout too …..increases mobility flexibility ..strength and stamina ……

  29. I disagree on the notion that bench press is just that. You can use BB or DB, incline, decline or flat, use bands, floor press or a variety of other options. It's like "pull up is pull up", but there are muscle ups, chin ups, etc.

  30. You forgot one con for calisthenics. It’s when your body naturally resorts to the dominant side of your body thus using the non-dominant side of your body as support only which often results to muscle imbalances

  31. When I started, I used weight dumbbells, after a while I went into machines for A LONG time. Then after awhile when I achieved my first 10 push-ups and 1 pull-ups I moved into push-ups. After summer ended I was able to do 40 push-ups 10 pull-ups. Now I’m doing calisthenics with extra weight (basically a weight vest) And yes I still do machines, I’d say 4 days per week I go with my parents.

  32. I havent watched the video yet, but let me guess, the answer is "Neither is the best, they have different goals and you will achieve different things"
    Sure thats true, but the title should perhaps be different

  33. Hey, I know this is an old video but I want to say that Capoeira exercises are great for leg body weight training. If you don't believe me just look at the kicking power of some of the athletes.

  34. I'm 13 years old and i do calisthenics and weights i went from only being able to do a 5-10 pound and now my max weight is 30 pounds for one hand, I'm not going to stop because when i get older i want to be really strong

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