Calisthenic VS Weight Lifting – which one to get better looking

For those of you who don’t know Personal note: make an article on What’s Calisthenics? calisthenic is the art of using the weight of your body to train your muscle. Most people call it body-weight training. Think of it as all the variations of basic push-ups, pull-ups, squats…

Weight lifting is the art of playing with gravity added to your body so it must fight back and win. Your body being strong & resilient grows out of these movements. It’s called adaptation. And yes, adaption is still viable even if you only practice calisthenics.

Let’s break this down in some big chunks, it’ll be easier for you to understand these, and for me to write them.


Practicing calisthenics will build you a strong body. No question asked. However it’s overall slower, and requires more dedication than lifting weights to get visible results. This is how Spartans trained for war – and if you watched 300, you understand why this is so cool!

The hardest part about body weight training (Calisthenics) is that you’ll need to grind a lot before throwing several repetition of a movement. This happens every time you want to practice a new exercice. Now, this is not a bad thing. It’s just different from lifting weights where you only add more weights which adds more gravity to fight.

Practicing calisthenics will make you very familiar with the way your body works. Instead of training only a handful of muscle per exercise, the most complex body-weight exercices requires you to contract all your muscle in coordination to perform them… It’s so tough you end up training your nervous system – and you’ll feel pretty tired afterward! That’s a feeling you won’t get after lifting weights.

Calisthenics will ensure you are able to use ALL your muscle to move faster, and help you feel more confident with your overall body. Not only by adding muscle mass, but by giving you the power to execute some exercices most people will never come close to perform.

What’s great about calisthenics:

  • Reduced injuries compared to lifting heavy weights
  • Can train everywhere. Everywhere
  • Increased strength means more than adding 20 lbs to the bar. With increased strength you “unlock” new movements just like in video games
  • Can perform crazy stunts 99,9% person can’t even dream of doing- Plank push ups, walking on your hands…
  • Building muscle strength you can transfer to practically any sport
  • Training your nervous system – weight lifting will never do this one!
  • Some of the hardest movements require you to be super lean to perform them – another source of motivation!
  • Superior mind-muscle connection – improved coordination, most Parkour men are training with calisthenics
  • That’s how Spartans trained!

What’s not that great

  • Without mastering the 5 fundamentals – push ups, pull ups, dips, squats, leg raises – you’ll be stuck with very basic movements
  • It’s not as straight forward as hitting the gym. There’s a learning curve, and yes it’s harder to understand it than just hitting the weight
  • It’ll take you more time to build a lean and mean look through calisthenics than by lifting heavy weights
  • Telling your friends you are doing Calisthenics. Nobody will understand unless you point them to Nerdow – hint, hint
  • Less online ressources – more people are into weight lifting

Weight lifting

Playing with gravity. Lifting weight is just about that. Gravity. And then you add some more gravity above your body. Building resistance. You get tougher. And understand how gravity affects you, whatever you are doing. Walking. Swimming. Lifting weights.

Your relationship with gravity is the most important thing you learn when lifting weights. This and how your body adapts to the charge. Add in more weights every time you pass a threshold and you’ll get stronger. No question asked, it just “happens”.

Different from calisthenics where you add in more difficult exercices, hitting the gym is about adding weights and rotating exercices. In fact repeating the same exercices over and over for way too long will work up to a point. Then you must rotate movements for your body. Sounds boring? It’s not.

You learn how to properly lift heavy weights – not just bars and dumbbells! You learn about nutrition, what to eat and what to avoid. What makes you fat. How calories don’t matter. Making friends at the gym…

Lifting weights is way more complex than what your average man thinks of the sport.

What’s great about lifting weights:

  • You’ll get better looking faster than by practicing calisthenics
  • All movements are “unlocked” by default. Difficult is adjusted by adding weight on the bar
  • Can brag about hitting the gym – only works when you look like someone who’s lifting weights
  • You can start weight lifting with machines which has zero prerequisite
  • See your progress in real time – fat loss and muscle building
  • Builds huge self-esteem through a bigger than average body
  • Making friends at the gym – having spotters to help you, give tips…

What’s not great:

  • You’ll repeat the same movements again, and again…
  • Pay a membership to lift weights
  • Higher risk of injuring yourself without proper warm up
  • People will take you for one of these gym bro’ – Actually not a bad thing

My not-so personal story

I started lifting weights when I was 18 years old – I’m living in France, keep that in mind – since then I never stopped for more than 1 month. This month being training for a mountain biking race. It makes 1.5 years I’m lifting weights as I’m writing these words. And I can say it out loud. I learned a lot. And there’s still plenty more than my knowledge out there I’m trying to grab – and yes, it’ll be added on this website!

Now, I’m not only lifting weights. I’m practicing calisthenics, swimming and riding bikes. Lifting weights is my main activity. Calisthenics second. Swimming and riding bikes? I’m not tracking these. If I’m improving? Great. If I’m not? Fine too. That’s just for fun.

Calisthenics being my second favorite sport… I’ve developed a lot of strength and body capacity due to it. And that’s something different from weight lifting. It’s a faster adaptation of your body to different pressures. Being it jobs, exercices or different sports. When you lift weights and practice calisthenics, your body understands *how* to adapt quickly to new situations. It gets super simple to learn new sports, and you progress faster than someone not performing any of those. Let’s say you are into climbing, because you trained your body for years with calisthenics & weightlifting, it’ll be much easier for you to grasp how *gravity* and *adaptation* works than for a beginner.

In fine

Lift heavy weights and practice calisthenics.

Calisthenics will bring you adaptable strength and stamina.

Lifting weights will get you better looking fast and increase your strength