5 Calisthenics Myths A Lot Of People Still Believe

Strong men is doing a deep push-up on high parallel bars

Months ago, you saw a massive rise in the popularity of calisthenics. The reason was because of Covid-19. Almost every gym closed, and people had to find a way to still workout. That is when most people found out about calisthenics. With bodyweight training, it is possible to work out at home with minimal equipment. However, all these people who just started with calisthenics caused a lot of misconceptions. Even when I began with calisthenics in 2016, I believed a few of these calisthenics myths, which eventually were false. To fully inform you about this sport and create more clarity, I made a list of the most believed misconceptions about calisthenics, and I will tell you why they are false.

#1 Calisthenics does not build muscle

This calisthenics myth is very incorrect, of course. Lots of people still believe this misconception because most calisthenics athletes are not as big as the bodybuilders you see in the gym.

However, You can get just as big with calisthenics as with weightlifting. Both are forms of resistance training. You will damage your muscles by working out, and they will recover and grow after a while. It does not matter how you train. The process is the same. Repeat this process, and I guarantee you, you will build muscle.

And maybe it is true. The average calisthenics athlete is not as big as the average bodybuilder. But there is also a difference in goals. A bodybuilder wants to get as muscular as possible. The calisthenics athlete, on the other hand, focuses more on having complete body-control. With this, I mean strength, balance, and coordination. These three are really hard to master if you are too big.

But, to get back to my point. It is really possible to build muscle with calisthenics. I suggest you take a look at gymnasts, absolutely jacked, and mostly build out of bodyweight exercises.

#2 Calisthenics athletes skip leg day

The next misconception a lot of people believe about calisthenics is that it is impossible to build massive legs with bodyweight exercises. This calisthenics myth originated because of a stereotype. Calishtenics athletes tend to have smaller leg muscles than weightlifters. Bodyweight squats and lunges are not that effective.

Well, It is quite hard to build muscular legs with calisthenics. However, it is not impossible. There are enough calisthenics leg exercises such as the pistol squat, which can definitely put some strong legs together. Furthermore you can also use a weight vest to increase the resistance with your bodyweight leg workout. However we can’t forget that building strong legs with bodyweight exercises will take somewhat longer than with weights.

#3 Calisthenics is only for beginners

Many people believe that calisthenics is perfect for beginners who just got into fitness. You build a base strength with bodyweight exercises and then move on to the free weights. You move on to weights because eventually, push-ups, pull-ups, and dips will be too easy for you. People tend to think that calisthenics does not go any further than these few basic exercises. So once you mastered these, it is time to move on to the “harder” weights.

This myth, however, can easily be debunked. Calisthenics is much more than just the basics exercises. There are many ways to make these exercises more challenging. There are countless advanced exercises, which are definitely not for beginners. For example, you can progress from the regular pull-up to the one-arm pull-up. It is the same story with push-ups. You can even move on to advanced exercises such as the planche or the front lever. Some of these moves take years to master.

Of course, it is an option to choose whether you want to keep going with calishtenics or move on to lifting free weights. With both, it is possible to make it harder. With free weights, this is easier. You just need to add some extra weight. With calisthenics, you only need to adjust the lever to make it harder.

#4 Calisthenics athletes do not rest

When I started with calishtenics, I also believed in this misconception. I always thought, because you only use your bodyweight as resistance, you do not have to rest as much as with weightlifting. I noticed more people believe in this myth.

However, this is absolutely false, of course. Like I said before, Bodyweight training is the same as weight training. Therefore, rest days are essential. They are a crucial part of your muscle recovery. Once I have started implementing them, I noticed a significant difference in progress. I felt much stronger on training days because I let my muscles rest more.

#5 Calisthenics is only for short people

The last misconception a lot of people have about calisthenics is that it is not for tall people. I get why people believe in this misconception. Taller people are more likely to be heavier. The weight of your bodyweight really determines your strength in calisthenics. A lighter person will be able to perform pull-ups with much more ease than a heavier person. Besides, a taller person will have much more trouble with exercises, where leverage is crucial. Exercises such as the planche or front lever will be almost unattainable for tall people.

However, calisthenics is much more than only these couple of exercises. The basic exercises, such as the push-up, pull-up, and dip, can be perfect for tall people.

I can tell because, here in the Netherlands. The average height is one of the tallest in the world. And I see many great tall calisthenics athletes who are unbelievably strong. This shows you that being tall is not an excuse for not starting with calisthenics.

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