Alex Zinchenko – Calisthenics and Weight training, which one is better?
Calisthenics and Weight training – which one is better?
I came across this article by Alex Zinchenko over at Rough Strength and thought I would share his take on the debate that always get’s asked when it comes to building strength.
Bodyweight training or weight training? A lot of people get confused in their choice. They try to find the ultimate tool for gaining strength, building muscle, getting ripped. Some of them became fans of one tool, some prefer the other. It’s ok. But people are funny creatures. Some of them just need to make their point of view as the only possible. And there’s no better place to make it than the internet. That is why we have epic battles of calisthenics disciples and weight training advocates. Life-or-death battles. And get even more confused.
As an open-minded reasonable and smart trianee you should ask yourself: “Ok, so which one is better?” The answer may surprise you. Read on.
So Which One Is Better?
The right answer is none. None is better. Calisthenics as well as weight training have their own places in training world. Well I may go even further and state that it’s possible that you won’t get complete development with just one of them. Besides, you can always mix them as you wish. One doesn’t exclude the other. Oldtime strongmen knew that. Their goal was ultimate strength. They didn’t divide their strength training into tools like we see now. If they couldn’t move their body through space then they were weak and worked on that area. If they couldn’t lift the barbell or dumbbell, or kettlebell in the way they wanted to lift it then they were weak and worked on that area of strength. If they couldn’t lift sandbags, stones or other real-world objects they considered them weak and worked on that area too. That’s the approach I like. This way you have no weak links. That’s all strength training. Listen to old school wisdom. Don’t be afraid to cheat your favorite training tool with the other. It’s not cheating – it’s all-around strength development. Don’t limit yourself to one tool. They all are fun and useful.
But How Can I Get Time for All of Them?
Well, try to find it. Again you don’t need to devote a lot of time and effort to minor tools. For example, if your main priority is bodyweight proficiency then you can add 2-4 training sessions per week with weights. Use simple approach like Pavel’s “3-5 method”. You can learn it from his book “Beyond Bodybuilding” (which you can find here). Other way, if your main goal is proficiency with weights it would be by all means wise and beneficial idea to throw in some dips, pull-ups, pistols and handstands to the mix.
It’s really frustrating when people start idealize one tool over the other. If your goal is to build as much muscle as possible and you don’t care about strength (I don’t get it but there are lots of such people out there) then barbell and dumbbells are your best friends. This type of training doesn’t involve a lot of thinking. Just pick some routine, eat big, sleep big and grow your all-show-no-go body. You probably won’t need any other tool. Regarding strength their is powerlifting which is fine until those guys begin to use their supercostumes, wrap all possible joints, fat up to move more weight etc. That’s not strength in my opinion. With every gadget you make lift easier instead of making it harder. In the end they all end up screwed up, fat guys who can bench, squat and deadlift plenty but can’t do a pull-up. That’s not right.
Anyway, the main point here is that strength is all about weak links. You are as strong as your weak link is. Don’t be foolish and ignorant. Start thinking. Eliminate your weak links and become superstrong.
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MC is a professional photographer from Manchester in the UK. He has been crossfitting for 3 years now and has travelled, together with different athletes, through Europe to make some impact, and try to connect the European community. Martin is a CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Trainer, and also has a CrossFit Gymnastics cert. [Fran 3.50. Grace 2.36. Karen 7.30] Martin is one of the founders of BOXROXmedia, so if you have any questions regarding our services, let him know! Want to be a contributor for us - get in touch!