Are There Any Calisthenics Disadvantages? (Pros and Cons)

Woman Doing Push Ups

Are you looking to find out if calisthenics is suitable for your fitness routine?

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced gym-goer, learning the pros and cons of calisthenics can help you decide if it’s the right fit for your lifestyle and goals.

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring all sides of calisthenics — from the potential benefits to any disadvantages that may apply — so read on to learn more!

What are some calisthenics disadvantages?

Now that we’ve discussed the pros of calisthenics exercises, let’s look at some cons of calisthenics.

1. May require additional equipment to progress

While calisthenics can be done with minimal equipment, as you become stronger and more advanced, you may need to invest in equipment such as resistance bands or weight vests to continue challenging yourself.

calisthenics equipment

If you don’t want to add on external weight, you can increase the intensity by slowing down your reps and perfecting your form.

2. Can be time-consuming

Calisthenics exercises often involve multiple repetitions and sets, which can be time-consuming for those with busy schedules.

calisthenics disadvantages - time consuming

3. Little to no muscle isolation

Isolation exercises are great for improving the undeveloped muscles you may have. Unfortunately, the options for isolation exercises in calisthenics are limited.

4. Not optimal for muscle gain

While you can still gain muscle from doing bodyweight exercises, weight-lifting methods are still the optimal form of resistance training to gain muscle.

Calisthenics may not be as effective for those solely looking to bulk up and gain muscle mass.

5. Can get boring

Since calisthenics involve repetitive movements, it may become boring for some individuals over time. To combat this, you can switch up your routine by incorporating new exercises or adding variations to existing ones.

You can also challenge yourself by increasing the difficulty level or setting specific goals to keep things interesting.

6. Limited leg training

Calisthenics has been criticized for the lack of leg training methods. While building mass might be difficult, you can still get a good workout for your legs using just your body weight.

pistol squats -

Try exercises like:

  • Lunges

  • Bodyweight Squats

  • Bulgarian Split Squats

  • Pistol Squats (advanced)

What are the benefits of calisthenics?

Calisthenics has gained popularity over the years and for good reasons. Here are the advantages you get by training with this form of exercise.

1. No equipment needed

Calisthenics is a form of exercise that requires little to no equipment. This makes it accessible for those who do not have access to a gym or cannot afford expensive workout equipment.

The main piece of equipment you would need is a pull-up bar if anything.

2. Can be done anywhere

As mentioned, calisthenics does not require any special equipment, making it ideal for outdoor or home workouts. All you need is some open space and your own body weight.

Dragon flag on a bench in the forest

This makes it a great form of exercise for when you’re traveling or don’t have access to a gym.

3. Full-body workout

Calisthenics exercises target multiple muscle groups at once, providing a total body workout. This makes it an efficient and effective exercise option for those with limited time.

Also, with most calisthenics exercises being compound movements, you’ll decrease the chances of muscle imbalances.

4. Builds functional strength

The movements in calisthenics mimic everyday activities such as pushing, pulling, and lifting. This helps build functional strength that can be applied in daily life.

Unlike certain free-weight exercises that just work on building muscle and not so much functionality.

For example, when would you ever need to do a single arm bent over row in real life?

5. Improves balance and coordination

Calisthenics exercises require proper form and control, which can improve balance and coordination over time.

improves balance and coordination

This can be beneficial for activities such as sports (ex. martial arts) and preventing injuries.

6. Can be modified for all fitness levels

Calisthenics uses what’s known as “progressions,” which help you level up as you get better.

This makes it a versatile form of exercise that can be challenging for all individuals.

For example, doing push-ups on your knees (knee push-ups) can be helpful to do until you’re ready to perform proper pull-ups.

7. Low risk of injury

Since calisthenics uses only body weight and natural movements, there is a lower risk of injury compared to exercises that involve heavy weights or complex equipment.

So unless you’re doing the exercises incorrectly or doing an advanced movement from your skill level, you’ll be less likely to get hurt.

8. Cost-effective

As mentioned, calisthenics does not require any special equipment, making it a cost-effective form of exercise. You can save money on gym memberships or expensive workout equipment.

Now you’ll have no excuse to get some daily exercise in.

9. Increases flexibility

Calisthenics exercises often involve a full range of motion, which can gradually enhance flexibility and mobility.

This is especially beneficial for older adults who may experience stiffness and joint pain.

10. Variety of exercises

Calisthenics offers a wide variety of exercises that can target different muscle groups and provide a diverse workout experience.

Some calisthenics movements:

  • Jumping Jacks

  • Push-ups

  • Pull-ups

  • Chin-ups

  • Dips

  • Lunges

Some advanced calisthenics movements:

  • Muscle Ups

  • Single Arm Pull-ups

  • Weighted calisthenics

  • Pistol Squat (one-legged squats)


Is weight training better than calisthenics?

While weight training is more optimal for muscle gain, there isn’t a superior exercise style. It comes down to what your fitness goals are and how you want to get there.

If you aim to gain muscle faster, then weight training might be better for you.

If your goal is body control and functionality, then calisthenics is the better option.

At the end of the day, choose the workout style you enjoy that helps you continue your fitness journey.

Why is calisthenics so difficult?

For any beginner, doing calisthenics can be difficult at first since your body is unfamiliar with the movements. Also, since most bodyweight exercises are compound movements, it takes more energy with each rep.

It’s best to slowly progress your way up before trying anything too advanced. This will help prevent injury.

Is it safe to do calisthenics every day?

Yes. It is safe to do calisthenics every day, but it is best to give your body at least 1-2 days a week of rest so your body can recover. If you choose to do it every day, it’s not advised to train at a high intensity every time.

You can do 3-4 intense workouts per week depending on your skill level and incorporate low-intensity/recovery days for stretching, walking, or whatever low-intensity movements you like.

Final Thoughts

After reviewing some of the advantages and disadvantages of calisthenics, we hope that this comprehensive guide has been helpful in giving you a better understanding of the pros and cons associated with this form of exercise.

While both methods have their respective merits, choosing an exercise method based on your needs, values, goals, and overall lifestyle is important.

No matter which type of physical activity you choose, however, just be sure that you are engaging in regular exercise for its many incredible benefits, such as improved strength, mobility, and overall health.

With dedication and commitment–plus some inventive calisthenics exercises–a healthier body awaits! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start having some fun while improving your body’s performance!

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