What Is a Disadvantage of Performing Calisthenics for Muscular Fitness?

Calisthenics is a combination of resistance exercises that involves the use of your body weight. These exercises can be done anywhere with no equipment needed. Common calisthenics include pushups, crunches and jumping jacks. There are numerous benefits reaped from using calisthenics to improve muscular fitness. However, there are disadvantages as well.

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Push-ups are an example of a calisthenic exercise. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Identification

Calisthenics can help strengthen your muscles through anaerobic activity that uses your body weight. Since ancient times, calisthenics have been used to tone, strengthen and build muscles. Resistance training can help improve your overall muscular fitness. The military routinely employs calisthenics when training recruits during boot camp. Calisthenics can work out the lower body, upper body and core. Some examples of calisthenics include squats, situps, pushups, pullups and lunges. Calisthenics combined with aerobic exercise can help improve fitness.

Weight Increases

One disadvantage of calisthenics is the lack of increases in weight resistance. Although using your body weight can be effective in strengthening and toning muscles, you may eventually reach a plateau. Unlike weight training, in which the amount of weight that you add is unlimited, you only have your body weight to utilize when doing calisthenics. If you want larger muscles or want muscles to develop quickly, you may be limited in reaching your goals by using calisthenics alone.

Muscle Isolation

Calisthenics can provide resistance to certain parts of your body. Pushups work on your upper body while squats and lunges tone your buttocks and legs. To build or tone a specific muscle, such as your triceps, you could start with a tricep pushup or tricep dip using your body weight for resistance. If you want to isolate a particular muscle group more, add in free weights, resistance bands or fitness machines.

Variety

Although there are different types of calisthenics that can increase muscular fitness, you may become tired of your options. Unlike machines at a gym, there are a limited number of calisthenics for each muscle group. This can be a disadvantage and make workouts boring. However, there are ways to vary calisthenics and make the exercise more difficult if you are creative. For example, you can do your normal workouts with only one arm or reduce rest time between repetitions.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports: Stay Active and Be Fit! Military.com: Avoid the Gym by Using Calisthenics American College of Sports Medicine: Conditioning Beyond Strength Training