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You may have read about the benefits of basic calisthenics. Bodyweight training is an effective way of building overall strength. But, it doesn’t have to stop here.
Calisthenics isn’t just limited to body weight. For weight lifters and those looking to progress, weighted calisthenics could be the next step. Think along the lines of weighted pull ups and heavier dips.
If you want to see how weighted calisthenics can help you to optimize your training, keep reading.
What is Weighted Calisthenics?
Weighted calisthenics is strength training with weights. For a weighted calisthenics workout, you add weights to your training to increase strength and muscle growth.
In this way, you are not limited to your body weight. You can achieve a progressive overload when it comes to your strength and muscular development. More on this later.
Fact: If you can perform more than 12 reps of any exercise you are no longer in the muscle-building rep range. You enter an endurance rep range.
This isn’t a problem if you are trying to improve your endurance. But, if you want to build muscle and strength, then this isn’t ideal.
Eventually, you may hit a strength plateau because you are not challenging your body with more resistance.
Weighted Calisthenics Equipment
You will need to use equipment other than your body weight. The type of equipment you choose can depend on the exercise you want to perform and your preference.
You can use any of the following equipment in weighted calisthenics: :
- Calisthenics weight vests
- Ankles and wrists weights
- Dip belts
- Weight plates
- Resistance bands
- Dumbbells and kettlebells
Don’t feel limited by the above list. Weights can come in many shapes and forms. And, there are always other items you can add to your workout for comfort, variety and progressions, like:
- Elbow sleeves
- Workout grips
- Workout rings, and
- Dip bars
We will take a look at some of the mentioned equipment below.
Weighted vest for calisthenics workouts
Using a weight vest in calisthenics is a low impact option for increasing your fitness level. It adds extra weight when you are performing calisthenics exercises like push ups, muscle ups, and burpees.
Weighted vests are versatile, which makes them fitting for calisthenics. You can wear them securely during strength and cardio exercises. And, these can increase the intensity of lower body, core, and upper body workouts.
Some of these can be pricey. But, they may be a worthwhile investment. The best thing to do is to weigh up the pros and cons.
Take a look at our guide to pick out the best weighted vest for you.
Ankle and wrists weights
These weights are convenient, affordable, and pretty non-obstructive. You just strap them to your ankles or wrists for a bit of extra weight during your workout.
You can buy two sets of each or just one set. Ankle and wrist weights can easily be transitioned from wrists to ankles between workout routines to help strengthen legs or arms.
Ankle and wrist weights are limited in that these will only add a few pounds of resistance. But, these still provide a challenge and are beneficial for pull ups, leg raises, jumping jacks, and dips.
A dip belt is also known as a weight belt. It is wrapped around your lower body.
Dip belts are available in various materials such as neoprene, nylon, and leather.
There are a few reasons why investing in a dip belt is beneficial:
- It’s versatile
- Affordable and portable
- Bigger and stronger muscles across different muscle groups
Resistance bands are bands that are often used in strength training. These bands are also used in physical therapy. They can be made of elastic, fabric, or latex.
Bands can offer different levels of resistance. Some offer a slight resistance whereas others provide a more intense level of difficulty.
Resistance bands are affordable compared to heavy duty weights. And, they’re easy to use at home. You can also take them anywhere and use them as part on any workout, even as calisthenics bands.
Weighted Calisthenics Benefits
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of weighted calisthenics.
Progressive overload is the main benefit of weighted calisthenics. By adding weights to your workout, you increase its difficulty and the resistance your body experiences.
In this way, you don’t have to add reps to your workout to build your fitness and improve your strength. You can also increase the weight according to your progress.
This doesn’t have to be in huge leaps and bounds. You can make smaller weight adjustments according to your needs.
Weighted calisthenics saves time
Since you will need to perform less reps to get the same stimulus, you will save time. You achieve the benefit of added resistance while cutting down the number of reps you need to perform.
Less equipment required
Lastly, with weighted calisthenics, you do not need a lot of equipment. For example, a weighted pull-up will require just a bar and a weighted vest or plates. A lat pulldown will require an entire lat pulldown machine.
Weighted Calisthenics Program
We’ve discussed the equipment. Now, let’s see what a weighted calisthenics routine looks like. Try this out:
- Weighted dips 3 x 6 reps with vest or belt
- Push ups 3 x 10 reps with belt
- Pike push-up 3 x 10 reps with vest
- Weighted tricep push ups 3 x 10 reps with vest or belt
- Sit ups 3 x 12 reps with a weighted vest
- Squats 3 x 10 reps with resistance bands, a kettlebell, or dumbbells
- Burpees 3 x 10 reps with wrist and ankle weights
Rest 1-2 minutes between each set. Increase or decrease the reps and number of exercises according to your fitness level, target muscle group, and needs.
Before you start, please consult with a medical professional before you take part in physical activity.
Weighted Calisthenics Results
Results, results, results. So, what results can we expect to see with weighted calisthenics?
You can look forward to improved:
- Endurance, and
Weighted calisthenics exercises can also help in the reduction of body fat and increase muscular definition. Work hard and you’ll achieve that defined chiseled look you’re hoping for.
Final Thoughts on Weighted Calisthenics
Weighted calisthenics is a form of training, especially if you want to save time and still achieve a progressive overload. There is plenty of affordable equipment you can use to add that little bit of extra resistance to your workout.
Whether you’re looking for defined abs or improved strength, adding weights to your calisthenics sessions will go a long way!
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