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Calisthenics and Weight Training Split: The Perfect Combination for Optimal Fitness

Are you in a state of confusion between calisthenics and weight training?

It can be an arduous task to decide which one to prioritize as both forms of exercise have their unique benefits.

In this article, we shall delve into the advantages of calisthenics and weight training and elucidate how amalgamating them can optimize your workout routine.  

The routine outlined here aims to provide a well-balanced approach to building strength and muscle using bodyweight exercises and free weights.  

Calisthenics, also known as bodyweight training, encompasses exercises that utilize your body weight as resistance.

Illustrative examples include push-ups, squats, lunges, and pull-ups. In contrast, weight training entails using external weights, such as dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells, to augment resistance and build strength.  

By blending these two forms of exercise, you can focus on different muscle groups and attain a well-rounded workout.

This split routine comprises alternating calisthenics and weight training days, emphasizing compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at once.  

A research study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research posits that combining calisthenics and weight training can remarkably enhance overall fitness.

The study revealed that participants who engaged in a combination of bodyweight exercises and weight training demonstrated better muscle strength and endurance in comparison to those who only engaged in one form of exercise.  

Some of the perks of this split routine encompass enhanced strength, muscle definition, and cardiovascular endurance.

Furthermore, it serves as an exceptional approach to diversifying your workout routine and subjecting your body to novel challenges.  

Therefore, if you are inclined to elevate your fitness level, it is worthwhile to give this calisthenics and weight training amalgamation a try.  

Table of Contents

What is weight training?  

Weightlifting, otherwise called resistance or strength training, involves utilizing weights or other forms of opposition to incite and cultivate muscular strength and durability.

It is an immensely potent technique to build muscle mass, enhance bone density, intensify metabolism, and advance comprehensive fitness and physical performance.  

This declaration from the National Strength and Conditioning Association outlines the advantages of resistance training for elderly people, which encompasses better physical function, escalated muscle mass and strength, and diminished vulnerability to falls.  

During weightlifting, muscles undergo tension and stress, prompting adaptation and fortification over time.

This can be accomplished by lifting weights or using resistance machines, performing bodyweight exercises, or utilizing other forms of opposition such as resistance bands or kettlebells.  

Weightlifting can be conducted via various techniques and training protocols, like progressive overload, circuit training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and supersets.

It can also be tailored to fit the demands and goals of individuals of every age, fitness level, and body type.  

What is calisthenics?  

Calisthenics is a form of physical exercise that is executed using the body’s weight to develop strength, endurance, and flexibility.

The term calisthenics originated from two Greek words, namely “kalos” and “Sthenos,” which denote beauty and strength, respectively.

The central objective of calisthenics is to enhance comprehensive physical fitness via bodyweight movements that simultaneously engage multiple muscle groups.  

Calisthenics movements are typically performed without the use of any equipment or weights, thereby making it an economical and accessible method of attaining fitness.

The exercises encompass various motions, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, dips, pull-ups, and planks, which can be adjusted to cater to varying fitness levels and objectives, making it an excellent option for novices and experienced athletes alike.  

One of the foremost advantages of calisthenics is the ease with which it can be carried out anytime and anywhere, irrespective of one’s location.

Its accessibility and the absence of costly equipment requirements make it a convenient and cost-effective approach to exercise.

Moreover, these exercises are efficient since they target multiple muscle groups, enabling individuals to obtain a complete body workout in a brief time.  

A study that the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine conducted disclosed that a 12-week calisthenics program significantly improved the muscular strength and endurance of young men.  

Calisthenics is beneficial for several reasons. Apart from developing muscle and improving fitness, it also helps with weight loss, boosts coordination and balance, and reduces the risk of injuries.

It is a preferred choice for athletes, military personnel, and anyone aiming to enhance their physical health.  

The Benefits Of Calisthenics And Weight Training Together.

1. Improved Strength and Endurance for Muscles  

In its conventional form, weightlifting is indispensable for augmenting muscle mass, a crucial factor for boosting power and strength.

On the flip side, calisthenics workouts foster functional strength, a critical component for carrying out everyday tasks effortlessly.

Therefore, amalgamating weightlifting and calisthenics into your training regimen can culminate in optimal gains in both strength and endurance.  

2. Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness  

Calisthenics exercises, including jumping jacks, burpees, and mountain climbers, have the potential to elevate your heart rate and augment blood circulation, culminating in enhanced cardiovascular fitness.

When weight training is performed at high-intensity intervals, it can provide analogous cardiovascular benefits.

Merging both forms of training can lead to a comprehensive cardiovascular workout, thereby boosting overall fitness.  

3. Increased Flexibility and Mobility  

Calisthenics workouts often entail dynamic stretching, which enhances the range of motion, flexibility, and mobility.

Proper weight training form and technique can also promote joint flexibility and mobility.

When both forms of training are fused, it can result in better flexibility and mobility, reducing the chances of injuries and improving athletic performance.  

4. Greater Calorie Burn and Weight Loss  

Calisthenics workouts are effective in burning calories and eliminating excess body fat. When weight training is done in high-intensity circuits,

it can also contribute to calorie burn and weight loss. Combining both forms of training can escalate calorie burn and expedite weight loss goals.  

5. Improved Mental Focus and Discipline  

Both calisthenics and weight training necessitate mental focus and discipline, leading to the overall improvement in focus, discipline, and mental toughness.

Incorporating various exercises in a combined training program can keep you motivated and interested in your workout routine.  

6. Injury Prevention  

Weightlifting builds stronger bones and muscles, reducing the risk of injuries.

Calisthenics workouts foster functional movement patterns that can decrease the likelihood of injuries during everyday activities.

By combining both forms of training, you can attain a well-rounded physique that is sturdy and resilient, thereby mitigating the risk of injuries.  

7. Time Efficiency  

Combining calisthenics and weight training is also time-efficient, enabling you to accomplish a full-body workout in a shorter period.

Both forms of training require minimal equipment and can be effortlessly incorporated into high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs, resulting in optimal outcomes.  

How To Incorporate Calisthenics And Weight Training Into Your Workout Routine?

1. Determine Your Fitness Goals  

Before commencing any exercise regimen, it is essential to determine your fitness objectives.

Are you seeking to boost your muscle mass, enhance your stamina, shed some pounds, or attain a combination of these goals?

Once you have established your desired outcomes, you can personalize your workout program to meet your needs.  

2. Plan Your Workouts  

Planning your workout sessions can be advantageous in keeping you on track and guaranteeing that you’re integrating both calisthenics and weight training into your regimen.

Strive for a blend of exercises that challenge diverse muscle groups and encompass both bodyweight and external resistance exercises.  

For instance, you might perform a total-body workout on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that incorporates a fusion of bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, and lunges, and weighted exercises, such as bench presses, deadlifts, and overhead presses.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you might conduct a cardio-focused workout that incorporates running, cycling, or jumping rope.  

3. Start with Bodyweight Exercises  

If you’re new to calisthenics, start with bodyweight exercises to build a foundation of strength. This will help you progress to more advanced movements as you get stronger.  

Some great bodyweight exercises to include in your routine include:  

  • Push-ups  
  • Pull-ups  
  • Squats  
  • Lunges  
  • Planks  
  • Sit-ups  
  • Burpees  

4. Incorporate Weights Gradually  

As you get stronger, start incorporating external weights into your routine. This can include dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, or machines.

Begin with lighter weights and gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the exercises.  

For example, you might start with dumbbells weighing 5-10 pounds and gradually increase to 15-20 pounds over time.

Make sure to focus on the proper form and avoid using too much weight too quickly, as this can increase your risk of injury.  

5. Focus on Proper Form  

Whether you engage in calisthenics or weightlifting, maintaining appropriate form is critical to prevent harm and reap optimal benefits from your workout regimen.

Dedicate ample time to acquire knowledge of the proper form for each exercise and emphasize sustaining that form during the entirety of your fitness session.  

Various recommendations to uphold proper form encompass:  

  • Sustain an engaged core and maintain a neutral spine.  
  • Steers clear of arching your back or rounding your shoulders.  
  • Ensure that your knees are in sync with your toes whilst performing squats and lunges.  
  • The proximity of your elbows to your body should be maintained during weightlifting exercises.  
  • Avoid sudden, erratic movements or swinging weights.  
  • Employ a comprehensive range of motion during each exercise.  

6. Mix Up Your Workouts  

To obviate monotony and promote physical stimulation, it is imperative to regularly alter your fitness routine.

This can encompass varying the calisthenics you perform, the number of sets and repetitions executed, or the quantum of resistance implemented.  

As an illustration, you might engage in a circuit training session one day that encompasses a blend of exercises utilizing solely your body weight as well as those utilizing external weights, and then concentrate on powerlifting on the following day.

You could also integrate high-intensity interval training into your regimen, such as alternating between intervals of strenuous cardiovascular activity and resistance training.  

7. Rest and Recover  

It is of utmost importance to ensure adequate rest and recuperation to forestall injury and facilitate the regeneration and hypertrophy of your musculature.

Strive to allocate at minimum one day per week for rest and rejuvenation, and assimilate stretching, foam rolling, and other recovery methodologies into your regimen.  

Disadvantages  

Calisthenics and weight training are two popular forms of exercise that many people incorporate into their fitness routines.  

The fusion of calisthenics, a workout regimen reliant on body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and squats, with weight training, involving the use of barbells, dumbbells, and weight machines to enhance muscle strength and size, may entail certain disadvantages despite the individual merits they offer in attaining overall fitness. 

1. Increased Risk of Injury  

The amalgamation of calisthenics and weight training brings forth a notable drawback – a heightened vulnerability to injuries.

Calisthenics exercises, relying on the resistance offered by one’s own body weight, contribute to enhancing strength and bolstering muscular endurance.

Nevertheless, the introduction of additional weight to these exercises amplifies the strain on muscles and joints, consequently elevating the likelihood of sustaining injuries. 

Research has shown that weight training can increase the risk of injury, particularly when performed with poor form or with heavy weights.

Adding weights to calisthenics exercises can also increase the risk of injury if proper form is not maintained.  

2. Overtraining  

Yet another drawback associated with the fusion of calisthenics and weight training is the peril of overtraining.

Both these exercise modalities entail rigorous and demanding routines, and their concurrent execution can precipitate the phenomenon of overtraining.

Overtraining manifests symptoms such as fatigue, diminished performance, and a heightened susceptibility to injuries. 

Research(*) has shown that overtraining can lead to physical and psychological symptoms, including decreased performance, decreased immune function, and mood disturbances.  

3. Difficulty in Achieving Specific Goals  

Combining calisthenics and weight training can also make it difficult to achieve specific fitness goals.

Calisthenics exercises, predominantly centered around utilizing one’s body weight, have the primary objective of enhancing overall fitness and bolstering muscular endurance.

Conversely, weight training exercises are specifically tailored to foster the development of muscle strength and size. 

Research has shown that combining calisthenics and weight training can lead to conflicting goals and may make it difficult to achieve specific fitness goals, such as building muscle size or increasing muscular endurance.  

4. Muscular Imbalances 

An additional drawback that arises from the amalgamation of calisthenics and weight training is the propensity for developing muscular imbalances.

Calisthenics exercises employ the body’s weight as resistance, contributing to the improvement of overall strength.

However, when external weights are incorporated into these exercises, there is a possibility of disproportionate emphasis on specific muscle groups.

For instance, excessive concentration on upper body weight training exercises may inadvertently neglect the lower body, resulting in muscular imbalances.

These imbalances have the potential to impact one’s posture adversely and heighten the susceptibility to injuries. 

Research has shown that combining calisthenics and weight training can lead to muscular imbalances if exercises are not properly balanced.

A recent research study featured in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that individuals incorporating added weight into their calisthenics exercises exhibited a heightened susceptibility to developing muscular imbalances compared to those who exclusively performed calisthenics exercises without additional weight.

To mitigate the risk of such imbalances, it is imperative to incorporate a diverse range of exercises that effectively target all major muscle groups within your workout routine. 

5. Time Commitment 

Combining calisthenics and weight training can also require a significant time commitment.

Engaging in both calisthenics and weight training necessitates a substantial time commitment, and when these two exercise modalities are fused together, the duration and intensity of workouts tend to increase.

Research substantiates that workout sessions integrating both calisthenics and weight training tend to surpass the duration of workouts that exclusively focus on either form of exercise.

This extended time requirement may pose challenges in accommodating the workout routine within a tightly packed schedule. 

It becomes crucial to conscientiously factor in time constraints when formulating a workout regimen that incorporates both calisthenics and weight training exercises.

It might be necessary to adjust the schedule or prioritize certain exercises to ensure the successful integration of all components within the available timeframe. 

Sample Calisthenics And Weight Training Split Routines  

Monday – Weight Training (Chest and Triceps):  

Bench Press –

3 sets of 8-12 reps Begin with a warm-up set and then proceed to three working sets. The bench press is a classic exercise for building chest strength and mass.  

Incline Dumbbell Press –

3 sets of 8-12 reps This exercise targets the upper chest muscles and is an effective way to increase chest size and definition.  

Cable Flies –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Cable flies are an isolation exercise that specifically targets the chest muscles. Aim to use a weight that challenges you for each set.  

Triceps Pushdowns –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Triceps pushdowns are a great exercise for building triceps strength and definition. Use a rope attachment for maximum effectiveness.  

Overhead Dumbbell Extension –

3 sets of 12-15 reps This exercise targets the long head of the triceps muscle and helps to increase overall triceps size and strength. 

Tuesday – Calisthenics (Upper Body):  

Pull-ups –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Pull-ups are one of the most effective upper body exercises you can do. If you’re new to pull-ups, start with assisted pull-ups or negative reps to build strength.  

Dips –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Dips target the triceps, chest, and shoulders. To make this exercise more challenging, use a dip belt or weighted vest.  

Push-ups –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Push-ups are a classic calisthenics exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. If you’re struggling to perform standard push-ups, try modified push-ups or push-ups on your knees.  

Chin-ups –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Chin-ups target the biceps, upper back, and shoulders. To make this exercise more challenging, use a weighted vest or belt.  

Handstand Push-ups –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Handstand push-ups are an advanced exercise that targets the shoulders and triceps. If you’re new to this exercise, start with wall-supported handstand push-ups.  

Wednesday – Weight Training (Back and Biceps):  

Deadlifts –

Perform 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions for deadlifts, a compound exercise that targets the complete back, in addition to the hamstrings and glutes. Ensure that you use the appropriate technique and form to evade injury.  

Bent Over Rows –

Execute bent-over rows with 3 sets of 8-12 reps to target the upper back, which is a highly effective method to boost back strength and size.  

Lat Pulldowns –

Execute 3 sets of 12-15 reps for let pulldowns, which target the latissimus dorsi muscles and are an effective approach to building back strength and size. For maximum effectiveness, adopt a wide grip. 

Barbell Curls –

Carry out 3 sets of 12-15 reps for barbell curls, a classic biceps exercise that assists in augmenting biceps size and strength. Choose a weight that challenges you for each set.  

Hammer Curls –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Hammer curls target the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in the forearms and are an effective way to increase overall arm size and strength.  

Thursday – Rest Day  

Friday – Calisthenics (Lower Body):  

Squats –

3 sets of as many reps as. Squats are a compound exercise that targets the entire lower body, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Make sure to use proper form and technique to avoid injury.  

Lunges –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Lunges are an effective exercise for building leg strength and size. Alternate legs with each repetition.  

Calf Raises –

3 sets of 15-20 reps Calf raises target the calf muscles and help to increase overall lower leg size and definition. Use a weight that challenges you for each set.  

Bulgarian Split Squats –

3 sets of as many reps as possible Bulgarian split squats are an effective exercise for building leg strength and size. To increase the difficulty, hold dumbbells or wear a weighted vest.  

Glute Bridges –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Glute bridges target the glutes and are an effective way to increase lower body strength and size. Use a weight that challenges you for each set.  

Saturday – Weight Training (Shoulders and Abs):  

Military Press –

3 sets of 8-12 reps Military press is a classic exercise for building shoulder strength and size. Use a weight that challenges you for each set.  

Dumbbell Lateral Raises –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Lateral raises target the medial deltoid muscles and are an effective way to increase shoulder size and definition.  

Rear Delt Flies –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Rear delt flies target the rear deltoid muscles and help to balance out the shoulder muscles. 

Plank –

3 sets of 30-60 seconds Planks are an effective exercise for building core strength and stability. Make sure to maintain proper form and engage your abs throughout the exercise.  

Cable Crunches –

3 sets of 12-15 reps Cable crunches target the rectus abdominis muscles and help to increase overall core strength and definition.  

Sunday – Rest Day  

Remember to stretch before and after each workout to prevent injury and improve flexibility.

Also, be sure to eat a healthy diet with enough protein to support muscle growth and recovery.

Finally, adjust the weights and reps as needed to ensure continued progress over time.  

Tips For Beginners On Getting Started With Calisthenics And Weight Training  

1. Start with bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, and lunges, serve as ideal precursors to calisthenics.

Not requiring any equipment and allowing for the convenience of their performance anywhere, these exercises make for an excellent option for beginners.

Commence with simple exercises, progressively augmenting the intensity as you advance.  

2. Learn proper form 

Understanding proper form is vital to avoiding injuries and maximizing your workout’s efficacy.

Allocate the time necessary to learn the correct form for each exercise and concentrate on executing movements accurately.

Doing so will not only assist you in evading injuries but also ensure you are targeting the appropriate muscle groups for maximal benefit.  

3. Gradually increase intensity  

Gradually increasing your workout’s intensity is essential to challenge your body as you strengthen.

Incorporate additional repetitions, sets, or augment the exercises’ difficulty to achieve this.

However, be attentive to your body and avoid overexertion, as doing so may lead to injuries and setbacks.  

4. Incorporate weight training  

Including weight training in your workout routine is an excellent means of constructing muscle and enhancing overall fitness.

If a gym is accessible, begin with lighter weights, focusing on learning proper form before gradually increasing weight.

You can also use resistance bands or other equipment to add resistance to your bodyweight exercises.  

5. Rest and recovery  

Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise.

Dedicate ample time to allowing your body to rest and recover between workouts, preventing overtraining and injuries.

Aim to rest at least one day per week and consider incorporating activities such as yoga or light stretching for active recovery.  

6. Stay consistent  

Staying consistent is the cornerstone of calisthenics and weight training. Establish achievable objectives and adhere to a regular workout routine to witness results.

Consistency will aid in building a habit and propelling you toward your objectives over time.  

7. Stay hydrated and eat well  

Consuming a balanced diet and staying hydrated are critical to fueling your workouts and supporting muscle growth.

Strive to consume at least 8 glasses of water daily and focus on eating a diversity of nutrient-dense foods such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  

By adhering to these guidelines, you can begin calisthenics and weight training and accomplish your fitness objectives.

However, always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, particularly if you have underlying health conditions.

With patience, consistency, and a positive mindset, you can build strength and enhance your physical fitness through calisthenics and weight training.  

The role of diet in maximizing results from calisthenics and weight training  

1. Eat Enough Protein  

To effectively promote muscle growth and prevent muscle breakdown during exercise, it is essential to consume an adequate amount of protein.

The amino acids present in protein serve as the building blocks for muscle growth and repair.

Aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day and be sure to diversify your protein sources by including foods such as chicken, fish, beef, eggs, and dairy products in your diet.  

2. Fuel Up Before Your Workout  

Properly fueling your body with the right nutrients is essential for optimal athletic performance during workouts.

Consuming a meal or snack before exercise can provide the energy needed to power through your routine. Selecting a meal that is high in carbohydrates and protein, such as oatmeal with fruit and nuts or a protein shake, is recommended.  

3. Stay Hydrated  

Maintaining proper hydration is also crucial for maintaining energy levels, preventing dehydration, and optimizing athletic performance.

Consuming at least 8-10 glasses of water per day is advised, and it is suggested to consume even more when exercising in hot weather.

Electrolyte supplementation can also help replenish fluids lost through sweat.  

4. Eat a Balanced Diet  

Consuming a diet that comprises an assortment of nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals is fundamental for maintaining excellent health and fitness.

To achieve this, it’s essential to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet while steering clear of processed foods and sugary drinks, which can hinder your progress.  

5. Time Your Meals  

Timing your meals can help to optimize your workouts and maximize your gains.

Eating a meal or snack that includes both carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of your workout can help with muscle recovery and growth.

Consuming regular meals throughout the day is also important for maintaining energy levels and preventing hunger.  

6. Consider Supplements  

Supplements can also aid in supporting your training goals. Whey protein powder, creatine, and beta-alanine are popular supplements among athletes that can help improve strength, power, and endurance.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating supplements into your routine.  

Conclusion  

Regularly practicing a well-organized regimen that encompasses both calisthenics and weight training can substantially enhance one’s musculature, potency, stamina, and practical fitness.

By meticulously following the recommendations detailed in this manuscript, you can generate an efficacious exercise strategy that is tailored to your physical fitness level and aims.  

Recall that it is of utmost importance to give priority to rest and convalescence, shun commonplace blunders, keep track of your advancements, and solicit the counsel of a professional if deemed necessary.

Through unwavering dedication and consistency, you can actualize your coveted fitness outcomes and savor a healthier, more dynamic standard of living.  

Thus, why delay? Begin to integrate calisthenics and weight training into your physical fitness routine and experience firsthand the transformational advantages it can impart.  

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)  

How often should I train with Calisthenics and Weight Training Split?  

The frequency of your training will depend on your goals, fitness level, and recovery ability. As a beginner, it’s important to allow your body time to recover and adapt to the new stresses you’re placing on it.
A good starting point is to train 2-3 times per week, with at least one day of rest in between workouts. As you progress and become more comfortable with the exercises, you can increase the frequency to 4-5 times per week, but make sure to listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
It’s also important to incorporate proper nutrition, hydration, and rest into your routine to support your recovery and progress.

Can I still gain muscle mass with only Calisthenics?  

Yes, you can gain muscle mass with calisthenics alone. Calisthenics exercises use your body weight as resistance and can be effective for building strength and muscle. Focus on progressive overload by increasing the difficulty of exercises and ensuring proper nutrition to support muscle growth.

What are the best exercises for Calisthenics and Weight Training Split?  

Here are some great exercises for a calisthenics and weight training split:
Calisthenics: Push-ups, Pull-ups, Squats, Lunges, Dips, Plank.
Weight Training: Bench Press, Deadlifts, Squats, Overhead Press, Rows, Bicep Curls.

How long does it take to see results with Calisthenics and Weight Training Split? 

The time it takes to see results with a calisthenics and weight training split can vary depending on various factors such as your starting fitness level, consistency, intensity of workouts, and nutrition. Generally, you may begin to notice improvements in strength and muscle tone within a few weeks of consistent training.
Significant changes in muscle size and overall body composition usually take longer, typically several months of regular training. It’s important to remember that progress is gradual, and results will vary among individuals. Stay dedicated, be patient, and focus on consistent effort to achieve your fitness goals.

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