Hypertrophy: Bodyweight vs Lifting Weights

One of the most popular (and wrong) “paradigm” in the world of athleticism and bodybuilding is that you can grow your muscles only by lifting weights and not by using your own bodyweight (calisthenics).

Hypertrophy: Bodyweight vs Lifting Weights

The one and only way to gain muscle is by “progressive overload”. It doesn’t matter if it’s increasing the weight you are lifting or volume (reps and sets) Without complicating things, the main difference between lifting and calisthenics is in the principle and approach.

You can “grow” your muscles in two ways:

1. If you want to work out with your weight only for hypertrophy, use high volume of training (high sets – high reps principle). If you can do at least 500 reps daily it’s great. If you want to challenge yourself add some weights for extra benefit. The key in calisthenics is in always doing the basics.

2. If you want to lift weights for hypertrophy, use low volume of training (low sets – low reps principle) and progressively add weights on your bars. The main difference is that for greater effect, you should not train with heavy weights every day (5-6 days a week is OK), because you are more prone to injury from lifting than calisthenics.

However, there is a slight difference between these two types of training in terms of “strength”. Lifting is believed to give you a little more strength than calisthenics. At least, this is what the scientists tried to prove it here

So, what is the “most effective” workout approach? It doesn’t exist. The effectiveness is measured only by your approach. How much you invest – so you get. Personally, I’m more for mixed approach: balancing between low – volume weight lifting with high – volume calisthenics without overdoing anything for overall fitness, hypertrophy and strength gains.