Calisthenics Physique: Guide to Muscle Building Transformation

Man with calisthenics physique

Calisthenics is unlike other types of muscle building transformation exercises. This is because it uses your body’s natural weight to stimulate muscle growth and increase your overall fitness levels.

Our post on beginner’s calisthenics is a great place to start your journey towards total calisthenics body and muscle building transformations.

In this post, we will look in detail at what the major differences are between calisthenics workouts and weighted workouts. We will explore how these affect your form and aesthetics.

You’ll also discover why bodyweight training is the ideal workout strategy to develop a foundation for total muscular transformation and a shredded calisthenics physique.

Calisthenics Body vs Gym Body – Is There A Difference?

Calisthenics body

The goals of bodyweight training are ultimately to learn how to get bigger with calisthenics and lose body fat while maintaining your functional strength.

Calisthenics transformation does not only include stimulating muscular build. It also promotes healthier joints and increased flexibility.

This is because the calisthenics movements require a lot more practice. These, therefore, stimulate muscle-building transformation through repetition of similar exercises.

Transformation goals can extend anywhere from ‘female body transformation 3 months’ to ‘general body muscle transformation 1 year’! Commitment and consistency are key. The fitness journey never ends unless you let it.

Bodybuilding vs calisthenics training

The secret to building an amazing physique using calisthenics training lies in its bodyweight-focused workouts.

Calisthenics exercises make use of your body’s natural weight, in tandem with compound exercises, to build a lean, strong, and athletic body.

This makes it a highly effective form of exercise, because it requires very little equipment, and works various muscle groups. It incorporates simple exercises and promotes advanced body movement for both male and female body types.

In comparison, bodybuilding or weighted exercises require more equipment and often lead to a more massive size as opposed to the more shredded, leaner, and defined look of a calisthenics body. Remember, size does not always equal strength.

The calisthenics approach to muscle transformation is based on the principle of progressive overload. Over time you are able to do more and more with your body, so although you build muscle mass at a slower rate, your relative strength is not compromised.

So, what’s the difference?

In comparison, weightlifting exercises involve the use of external weights and isolated exercises, which results in muscle growth to very particular muscle groups.

In simple terms, weight lifting can help you build form with the particular muscles involved in your workout. But, calisthenics is ideal for building muscle and strength throughout your body.

Aesthetics vs Calisthenics Training

Man performing shoulder exercise

You’ll be relieved to know that you don’t have to compromise on either building strength or maintaining muscular aesthetics when it comes to training calisthenics.

One of the greatest benefits of bodyweight exercises is the empowerment of both strength training and body composition.

Calisthenics bodies: what’s the aesthetic appeal?

Calisthenics bodies are often synonymous with muscular endurance, rippled whole body composition, including a ripped upper body and lower body, as well as minimal body fat.

Bodyweight training results in a cohesive body transformation. This aesthetic is achieved because of the way the compound exercises are designed to target your whole body.

Unlike the isolated exercises associated with weight training, these often result in a rippled aesthetic to only the parts of the body that you focus on the most. It can sometimes lead to an uneven shape, or a bulkier top and skinnier bottom. 

Goals: skinny to strong transformation

It’s also possible to use bodyweight training as a means to obtain a strong body transformation. This is great news for people with a skinny body type!

But, it is not limited to skinnier body types. Larger bodies can benefit just as greatly from bodyweight workouts.

The benefits come from using your body’s natural muscle mass to perform pull ups, bodyweight squats, and resistance training. These can include several advanced bodyweight movements such as handstand push ups and pistol squats.

One size can fit all – if you adjust

When you are training with calisthenics, no matter what your body type is, you can obtain your desired muscular physique. All it takes is adjusting the volume and intensity of your workouts to match your goals.

It’s important to also remember to supplement your workouts with the correct diet and optimal nutrition. There is no limit to your ability to build strength and obtain the aesthetics of a muscular form.

How To Achieve Your Calisthenics Body

Woman with calisthenics physique doing box jump

There are many approaches to building your calisthenics aesthetics by using bodyweight training. It depends, firstly, on your current fitness and training regimen. Even if you haven’t begun to exercise but you want to know how to get bigger with calisthenics, there’s a starting point for you.

Many well-known calisthenics athletes are famous for their ability to utilize more and more of the strength that is created through muscle building with calisthenics. This is because of the progressive overload that occurs as they increase the weight, reps, and difficulty of their strength training routines.

Chris Heria is one such athlete that is renowned for his calisthenics body transformation. See some Chris Heria before and after pictures here.

Below, we discuss approaches for beginners, as well as more advanced movements for calisthenics training. These will help you to get bigger and build muscles with calisthenics.

Remember to consult a medical professional before embarking on a new exercise routine!

Beginners calisthenics workouts

Woman performing a plank in living room

No matter what fitness level you are at, it’s always good to start with the basics and build your way up. These exercises will help to give you an idea of how much your body can handle and how far you can push yourself.

A simple beginner bodyweight training exercise regime could look similar to the example we give below

Perform between 2 and 3 rounds of the exercises below, ensuring you take a 1 to 2-minute rest in between.

Ideally, start with between 5 and 20 reps of push ups. Additionally, you can include 15 to 20 bodyweight squats.

A 30 to 45-second plank. Remember to make sure that your hips are not sagging during this exercise, as you could hurt your lower back and reduce the benefits to your core and abs.

Similar to the push ups, do between 5 and 20 reps of close-grip inverted rows. Further, when it comes to walking lunges you want to balance the reps to each leg, so try to perform 10 to 15 reps for each leg.

Side planks are a great way to engage your muscles. Similar to the lunges, you want to balance your reps so perform 30 seconds for each side.

These exercises are ideal because they are simple enough to allow you to focus on your body’s form while performing the exercises. There is also the added benefit that these exercises require no equipment.

So, you can begin your bodyweight training journey without dolling out extra dollars on pricey equipment.

Pull ups for body transformation

Man performing pullup outside

Once you’ve established an effective bodyweight training scheme and you’re starting to see results, you can move onto more complex exercises.

These can come with the additional requirement of equipment. But the equipment really helps to unlock your potential to build muscle with calisthenics at an increased rate.

A more advanced workout scheme could look like this:

Perform between 2 and 3 rounds of the exercises below, ensuring you take a 1 to 2 minute rest in between.

Start with 5 to 20 reps of wide-grip pull ups. Additionally, you will need a pull-up bar for this exercise.

You can go for a stand-alone pull up bar, or if you lack space at home, doorway pull up bars.

What’s more, these types of pull up exercises also function as lat calisthenics exercises and can help you to achieve a more v-shaped physique.

Squat jumps are a great replacement for squats and jumping jacks. It’s recommended to do between 5 to 20 reps. An extended arm plank will also replace an ordinary plank, and should take around 30 to 34 seconds.

Dips are a great way to practice patience with your form and strength building exercises. We recommend between 5 to 20 reps, and you’ll want a dip station for these exercises. We don’t recommend DIY solutions as these can result in injuries.

Between 10 to 15 reps of jumping lunges. Remember to balance it out and do your repetitions for each leg. You can also add between 10 to 15 reps hanging leg raises.

With the above exercises, you can increase your reps, or add another round, as your body starts to adjust to the more intensive workouts.

Seeing results: before and after your journey

A strong calisthenics body transformation starts with determining what your current fitness level is and secondly, by keeping in mind your fitness goals. From there you’ll be able to decide which bodyweight training movements and how many repetitions will be suitable for your aesthetics body goals.

Then, wait for the results. If you are working out a minimum of twice a week then you should begin to see significant results in around 2 to 3 months. Expect greater strength in your upper body, especially when compared to regular weighted exercises. You can expect a more shredded physique when using calisthenics weight training, as opposed to a bulkier aesthetic seen with bodybuilding techniques.

Final Thoughts On Calisthenics Bodies

Man doing crunch

Calisthenics is not more advanced than any other form of exercise. However, it can create a strong foundation for other bodybuilding or weighted exercises.

What’s more, the variety of exercises that are available can help you to build your ultimate calisthenics muscular physique!

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