Building size with calisthenics

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Can you build size with Calisthenics? The most common opinion about building size with Calisthenics is you can’t, it’s too easy! When answering this question I need to think about a question from a customer of mine, he asked a question about nutrition my answer was “it depends”! Well, he said he is a lawyer and they usually also answer with “it depends”. Unfortunately, the answer to the question if you can build size with Calisthenics is “yes but it depends”! It depends on your goals.

Is your goal getting huge, I mean really getting huge, then moving barbells and dumbbells is for you. This way you definitely can produce the biggest force, the bigger the force you produce the easier it is to train for hypotrophy. But is your goal to put on size, get really shredded and get insanely athletic, clearly focus on bodyweight training. I will clearly suggest you do calisthenics if your goal isn’t just getting huge, there are so many advantages doing so.

Some advantages doing Calisthenics:

  1. It supports weight loss and can get you really shredded.
  2. That’s a functional workout, that has many similarities to your everyday life.
  3. It’s so cool!
  4. Sure, you will build muscles, and extremely functional at once.
  5. You are not dependent on the gym.

That’s just a part of advantages when training with your own bodyweight!

Getting skilled with Calisthenics is way harder than just lifting weight, especially if you are big and long. Skills like the front lever or the planche will be tougher, but it’s absolutely no reason not training for it, you will even get stronger than the smaller guys due to the leverage. That’s the time to talk about the leverage: in bodybuilding you usually just change the weight to make progress, in Calisthenics you can’t change your bodyweight, so you need to change the leverage. How you exactly do it is a theme for another blog, but a good example is the front lever, the easiest variation is the tuck front lever, because the leverage is small, but when extending out your legs, it gets a lot harder. If you listened at school in physics class you know what I’m talking about, even if not, it’s logical, do you agree? Another way to manipulate the difficulty level in doing unilateral movement (with just one limb), as example the one arm pull ups, that’s a beast, agree? About repetition ranges it’s quite similar to bodybuilding or other kinds of sport with little deviations.

Do you get the same results as in Bodybuilding? As I already wrote, it depends on your goal. As of building pure mass you will have an advantage with bodybuilding due to the reason you are using weights and need to focus less on coordination, means you can move more weight which makes the work building muscle easier. With Calisthenics you can build an extremely ripped and athletic body with a really good muscle mass, sure it’s harder because there is a lot of skill work involved, but the overall package you will get is more satisfying. As conclusion I would say, it Depends on you, what you like and what your goals are.

Visit me at Coach Reef

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