Weighted calisthenics, also known as "street lifting," involves performing exercises like pull-ups, dips, or squats with added weight. Many athletes turn to this training method when the basics are mastered and become too easy. After mastering the basics, there are several paths an athlete can take to make further progress in training. The most popular disciplines are weighted calisthenics, endurance, statics and freestyle.
If you are a big fan of basic exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, dips or squats, the weighted calisthenics and endurance sections are perfect for you. Endurance focuses on completing as many repetitions as possible without the need for additional weight. In weighted calisthenics, the goal is to increase maximum strength.
In this blog we will go into more detail about weighted calisthenics and give you 5 reasons why you should start doing weighted calisthenics.
You increase your maximum strength because a bigger weight is moved. You can also use this maximum strength for static holds and improve in several areas. Comparable to the gym: A workout with high weight and fewer repetitions improves maximum strength. A workout with low weight (in calisthenics without additional weight) and many repetitions improves the strength endurance.
You don't have to choose one discipline, you can also choose multiple areas as part of your workout. One of the world's most successful freestyle calisthenics athletes, "Antonio Gastelum" adds weights to his freestyle training. This way, he additionally strengthens his joints and benefits from fewer injuries, which is a great advantage. This advantage can be transferred to every area of training. See more in our interview with Antonio Gastelum:
You have a better overview of your progress. For example, if you do 5 pull-ups with 5KG extra in the 1st week and 5 pull-ups with 7.5KG extra in the 2nd week, you will know exactly how much strength you have gained. Just like in the gym, you can use the weight as a benchmark to track your progress.
Very important to progress in training is the progressive overload. Here is an example to better understand what progressive overload means:
You can do a maximum of 5 pull-ups with 10KG of additional weight in one set. Your goal is to do 5 pull-ups with more additional weight. Make a plan for 4 weeks, which looks like this:
1st week 2 pull-ups with 10KG x 5 sets (10 reps total).
2nd week 2 pull-ups with 10KG x 6 sets (12 reps total)
3rd week 3 pull-ups with 10KG x 5 sets (15 reps total)
4th week deload 1 pull-up with 10KG x 5 sets (5 reps total)
By doing this, you are forcing yourself to put in a higher load each week. This will create a healthy strength gain that you can track optimally. The next week you can start with 3 pull-ups and later increase the weight, for example, when you can do 5 pull-ups with 10KG.
Building muscle mass is also possible in calisthenics. If you don't use any additional weight, however, it becomes more difficult to build up muscle mass after a certain point. By increasing strength with bodyweight training, you can do more repetitions and mostly move towards strength endurance. In this area, it becomes very difficult to build up even more muscle mass. Weighted calisthenics offers the solution, as you go for more additional weight and not more repetitions due to the increase in strength.
The dip belt is essential in weighted calisthenics because it is the easiest and most effective way to add weight to your body. It is very easy to attach and has a very high load capacity. You can find more details about the dip belt in our blog. There you can also find the 7 best exercises with the dip belt.
Especially when training with additional weight, the joints can be very stressed. The solution to this are wrist wraps, which lead to better stability of your wrists. With this advantage, you will also feel an improvement in your performance and thus make faster progress in training.
Workout grips provide you with a better grip and ensure that you don't slip off the bar during pull-ups. They also help you against calluses on your hands and make your workout more comfortable.
Resistance bands can make your workout not only easier, but also harder. You can use resistance bands to add resistance to your exercises when you don't have weights available. Read more about it in our blog "10 exercises with resistance bands".
Elbow sleeves have a similar effect as wrist wraps. Your elbows are better stabilized and kept warm. The risk of injury is minimized, and you benefit from a safe workout, even with heavy weights.
If you're not a fan of gloves, chalk is great for getting the perfect grip during your workout. A bad grip is often the reason for 1-2 repetitions less, although you still have enough strength. Liquid Chalk can be washed off with water after training.
Once you've chosen the right equipment, there's nothing standing in the way of your weighted calisthenics journey. Start with a small amount of extra weight and increase over time. The advantage is that you can easily track your progress. It's best to write down your training weight so that you can get an overview of your successes.
Later, you can also do advanced exercises like muscle ups with additional weight.
Maybe you'll even participate in weighted competitions?
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