Are Calisthenics Better than Cardio


Are you wondering if calisthenics is better than cardio? Of course, both exercises have their fair share of benefits, but one may be a better option for you, depending on your goals. In this article, we will answer all the questions you may have about calisthenics and cardio so that you can make the best decision for your fitness journey.

👉 Depending on calisthenics and aerobics exercises you are doing, they may offer different benefits. However, calisthenics can be a better choice compared to relying solely on traditional cardio when it comes to weight loss and overall fitness. That’s because calisthenics is a type of resistance training that engages multiple muscle groups at once. This means calisthenics WILL BUILD MUSCLE 💪 WHILE LOSING FAT. The type of calisthenics you can do can also be adjusted to suit the specific goals you are trying to achieve. 

In this article,  we are going to compare and contrast the benefits of calisthenics vs cardio. We will answer all of your pressing questions so that you can make the best decision for your fitness journey.

⚡️ Here’s an overview of what this read has in store for you:



  • Builds muscle and strength
  • Various goals can be achieved such as balance training, mobility, calisthenics skills, hypertrophy, coordination, endurance, and more.
  • Minimal equipment requirement
  • Improves posture
  • Can alleviate and correct muscular/joint dysfunction that causes aches and pains
  • Strong injury prevention
  • Builds stamina
  • Improves overall aerobic working capacity
  • Excellent “fat burner“
  • Burns more calories per training session
  • Prevents lung and heart diseases
  • Can lose muscle if done without resistance training
  • If done daily without adjusting to current skill level and training protocols, can easily lead to overtraining
  • High-impact cardio such as running can be taxing on the joints


Calisthenics Exercises🤸

Side to side squat

Calisthenics exercises are bodyweight exercises that use only your weight for resistance. They are a great way to get in shape and improve your overall fitness level.

Some of the most popular calisthenics exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and handstand. The great thing about calisthenics exercises is that they can be done anywhere, with 0  to minimal equipment needed. And since they use only your body weight as resistance, they’re perfect for people just starting with strength training. Don’t let this build you a misconception that calisthenics is easy. There are always ways to keep calisthenics more challenging to stimulate your muscles for growth.

🏆What are the benefits of calisthenics?

There are several benefits associated with doing calisthenics exercises, including:

  • ✅ Improve your long term health
  • ✅ Convenient and affordable
  • ✅ Can be done anywhere
  • ✅ Builds strength, muscle, and endurance
  • ✅ Decreases your risk for injuries
  • ✅ Improves your mobility
  • ✅ Reduces aches and pains
  • ✅ Improves posture
  • ✅ Offers holistic development not only strength and muscle

🔥 Calisthenics Workout Example

As mentioned earlier, calisthenics workouts offer different goals and objectives depending on your preference. There are many different elements and protocols you can manipulate to achieve progressive overload so you can reach the specific goal you are working towards.

You can check out the following calisthenics workouts and the specific goals they are geared to:

📍 Calisthenics for Beginners

📍 Calisthenics for Intermediates

📍Bodyweight training for Advanced

📍 Planche Workout

📍 Ring Dip Workout

📍 Upper-Body Calisthenics

📍 Calisthenics Legs

📍 Calisthenics for MASS

📍 Shoulder Mobility Course for Aching Shoulders


🎯 One thing you’ll notice about these workouts is the overall recurring goal: strengthening. Even the mobility course focuses on improving the range of motion by strengthening the joints and muscles through a wider range. The calisthenics muscle-building workout builds strength overtime to develop the muscles.

Calisthenics is about strength 💪 which translates to an overall better movement for performance and daily life.

Of course, calisthenics isn’t limited to these workouts above. There are plenty more workouts and variations you can do to suit specific goals and address weaknesses. These are just examples you can check out to give you an idea of what calisthenics has to offer.👊


Cardio Exercise🏃

Jump ropes

🤜Cardio exercises are any type of physical activity that gets your heart rate up and causes you to breathe heavily. This could be anything from running or biking to jumping jacks or swimming. The key is to find something you enjoy doing so you’ll stick with it and to make sure you’re constantly challenging yourself by increasing the intensity or duration of your workouts as you get stronger.

🏃 Cardiovascular exercise is any form of exercise that works your heart and lungs. Cardio workouts can help reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, increase energy levels, and promote weight loss.

The American Heart Associate recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 high-intensity aerobic exercises per week to maximize the benefits of cardiovascular training.

🏆What are the benefits of doing cardio?

There are several benefits associated with doing cardio exercise, including:

  • ☑️ makes your blood pumping
  • ☑️ lowers your blood pressure
  • ☑️ boosts your immune system
  • ☑️ improves your sleep and mental health
  • ☑️ regulates your blood sugar
  • ☑️ gives your brain a boost by enhancing its function

🔥Cardio Workout Example

Cardiovascular training is very straightforward. You can either use steady-state training AKA SST which is basically doing one aerobic exercise for a sustained intensity for a given amount of time. For example, performing 30 minutes of continuous execution of the following movements:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Jumping jacks
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Jump rope

Here’s an example of how to implement SST: 📍 How to Use Cardio to Maximize Your Gains

You can also perform it as a High-Intensity Interval Training AKA HIIT. To implement this, you can use various aerobic exercises performed at a high intensity for a short period and then actively resting by performing a low to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. This means no strengthening exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, dips, or ab work.


Although HIIT training takes a shorter amount of time to finish, research shows that it can compete with the benefits you can achieve from longer workouts of steady-state cardio. This means you can get a shorter workout while maximizing fat loss and cardiovascular benefits!

Here’s a brief example of a HIIT workout:

HIIT sample workout

More explanation about HIIT in this article: 📍 20-Minute Bodyweight HIIT Workout for Fatloss


Cardio or calisthenics: Which is better?🤔

There is no clear-cut answer as to which is the best form of exercise between cardio and calisthenics. While cardio is more effective in terms of weight loss, calisthenics is a more all-around form of exercise that can help with strength, flexibility, and balance.

✊That being said, the best form of exercise for you depends on your individual fitness goals and what you enjoy doing most. For example, if you enjoy running or biking, cardio may be a better option. But if you prefer doing Pilates or bodyweight exercises, then calisthenics may be a better fit.

Ultimately it comes down to what works best for you, what makes you stay consistent with your progress, and what makes you happy!😃


Is calisthenics the same as cardio?🔍

Squat Jumps

There is a lot of overlap between calisthenics and cardio, but they are not the same.

Calisthenics 🤸 focuses on strength training and muscle building, whereas cardio 🏃 is more focused on aerobic exercise and getting your heart rate up.

That said, many people do combine calisthenics and cardio in their workouts because both forms of exercise have benefits to offer. If you’re looking to improve your overall fitness level, then it’s a good idea to include both calisthenics and cardio in your routine.

Additionally, calisthenics is also great for improving balance, coordination, and flexibility – all important factors for overall health and fitness. However, calisthenics training can also include movement patterns that simulate aerobic exercises so you can also build endurance.


What’s the difference between calisthenics and aerobic training?👀

When staying true to the essence of the approaches’ goals, there are a few key differences between calisthenics and aerobics.

  1. For one, calisthenics focuses more on strength training, whereas aerobics is more focused on cardiovascular exercise.
  2. Secondly, calisthenics requires longer rest periods compared to aerobic training which can be done with 0 rest times.
  3. Finally, aerobic training can be done with a monotonous movement pattern while calisthenics will require you to use various exercises to target different muscle groups and to achieve more holistic development.


☝️Does calisthenics burn a lot of calories compared to cardio?  

No. Calisthenics is categorized under resistance training. A 2012 research shows that cardiovascular training alone burns more calories compared to resistance training and resistance training + cardio.

When you do cardio, your heart rate gradually increases to a certain point and then stays there for the duration of the workout. Regardless if you’re doing a 20-minute HIIT workout or the equivalent duration for steady-state cardio, you will still burn more calories compared to the equivalent resistance training volume.

With calisthenics, your heart rate constantly fluctuates as you move from one exercise to the next. There are rest periods in between sets that demand complete rest, especially for strength and hypertrophy goals. In this case, the heart rate goes down which can affect the total calories burnt.

Some people may find that strength training is boring because of the long rest periods which also lengthens the training duration as well. If time is your problem, you can always implement circuit training for your strength and muscle goals even though it isn’t as efficient as regular straight strengths. For a better understanding of circuits, check this article out: 📍 What Is Circuit Training?


⚡️What is better for weight loss cardio or calisthenics?

In general, both cardio and calisthenics can be effective methods for weight loss, although they may work in different ways.

Cardio exercise is generally recommended for people looking to lose weight because it burns more calories than calisthenics. This means that you will burn more fat over time by doing cardio exercises such as running or biking. However, relying solely on cardio for fat loss will lead to loss of lean muscles. This means that you can end up skinny fat and lack the necessary musculature and strength for certain movement patterns.

Calisthenics can also be very effective in weight loss, especially if you also implement cardiovascular endurance training protocols within your calisthenics training. That’s the beauty of calisthenics, it can also be a type of cardio when training protocols are adjusted to suit the training goals.

For maximum results, you can combine cardio and calisthenics and form high-intensity workout routines. This way you can target both endurance, fat loss, and muscle growth at the same time.


Do calisthenics people do cardio?👍

There is a bit of debate on this topic, but many people agree that cardio (in terms of deliberate training) is not necessary for calisthenics enthusiasts.

There are certainly some benefits to adding cardio exercises into your routine. For one, cardio can help to improve your endurance and make it easier for you to complete more challenging calisthenics exercises. Additionally, cardio can help burn calories and increase your overall fitness level.

If you’re looking to add some cardio into your calisthenics routine, there are several different exercises you can try. Some good options include running, biking, swimming, and elliptical training.

Another highly effective cardio work that people tend to overlook is simply WALKING. Yes, you could be missing a lot of cardiovascular benefits if you just opt to drive in your car instead of walking a short distance. Recent research suggests aiming for around 7000 steps per day could improve cardiovascular health and avoid any complications in the process. This is when NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), a fancy way of saying keep moving that’s not deliberate exercise or sports, plays a major role in improving cardio and overall calories burnt.


Can I combine cardio and calisthenics?👊

Yes, you can combine cardio and calisthenics. In fact, many people find that this is an ideal combination for overall fitness because it allows them to work both their cardiovascular system and muscles simultaneously. In fact, a 2015 research analysis suggests that cardio training can help assist in muscle hypertrophy.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when combining these two types of exercise.

  1. First, make sure that you’re implementing just the right amount of cardiovascular training frequency and volume in conjunction with your calisthenics workouts.
  2. Stick to low-impact cardio exercises such as walking or biking for high-frequency cardio training then high-impact exercises like running or HIIT is best for 1 to 2 sessions per week (if calisthenics is the main goal).
  3. Next, start with separating your strengthening/hypertrophy training before implementing them together in a single day.
  4. Finally, be sure you’re allowing ample time of rest for recovery.


Should I do cardio and calisthenics on the same day?😲

Yes, you can do cardio and calisthenics on the same day. In fact, doing cardio and calisthenics together may be a good way to maximize the benefits of both exercises and save time.

Cardio exercises like running or cycling help to increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Calisthenics exercises like squats or push-ups help to build muscle and strength. Combining cardio and calisthenics is a great way to get the best of both worlds and improve your overall fitness level.

☝️Just remember that too much cardio can actually inhibit your ability to build muscle mass, so don’t overdo it.

Moderation is key!


🤔🤔Should I do cardio after calisthenics?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question – it all depends on what you’re hoping to achieve by doing cardio and your training protocols in your calisthenics workout.

If your goal is to burn more calories, then cardio after calisthenics would probably be more effective because your muscles will already be tired from the strength training. But if your goal is to improve your cardiovascular fitness, then it might make more sense to perform cardio on a separate day.


Is calisthenics good for the heart?♥️

There is some evidence that calisthenics can improve heart health. For example, one study showed that six months of calisthenics training enhanced cardiovascular function. It also reduced the risk of heart disease in obese postmenopausal women.

However, more research is needed to determine whether calisthenics are truly beneficial for heart health. In the meantime, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any health conditions🩺


Focus on nutrition🍌 and recovery

While cardio and calisthenics can help you improve your health and physique, it’s only one part of the equation. Nutrition and recovery are both impactful to achieving the results you are aiming for.

📌Here’s a quick general guide for nutrition and recovery:

  • Focus on whole foods
  • For weight/fat loss = caloric deficit (eating fewer calories to sustain your current body weight)
  • For weight/muscle gain = caloric surplus (eating more calories to sustain your current body weight)
  • Meet your macronutrient and micronutrient requirements mainly from whole foods
  • Don’t totally deprive yourself of your wants. Again, MODERATION IS THE KEY.
  • Get high-quality sleep for around 8 hours. The busier you are physically and mentally, the more sleep you need

More help on nutrition and recovery through these articles below:

📍 Bodybuilding Nutritional Guide

📍 The Ultimate Guide to Recovery


Fear of bulking for women💪


When talking about strength training and hypertrophy training, a common concern among women is getting “too bulky”. However, this misconception only limits women’s potential to strengthen their bodies for general movement and health.

WOMEN WILL NOT GET BULKY to the point of reaching a bodybuilder’s physique. This is because that type of physique requires YEARS of specified training and potentially hormonal enhancements to achieve. You can get a strong physique that doesn’t look too masculine even if you implement proper calisthenics training for years.

More on women’s calisthenics here: 📍 Full-body Workout for Women


📌Final Thoughts

So, is calisthenics right for you? Only you can answer that question.👊

But if you’re looking for a way to improve your overall fitness level, then calisthenics is a good option to consider. Both of these exercises are beneficial in their way, and when combined, they can provide a well-rounded workout. Just mix up your routine regularly to keep things interesting and challenging.

☝️Make a plan and list your fitness goals to help keep you on track. Start by adding just a few minutes of cardio to your existing calisthenics routine, and progress gradually as you become more fit. And most importantly, have fun!

If you’re interested in calisthenics training, then taking a personalized approach is your best option to take. This offers the safest and most efficient path toward progress since you’ll get a training program that’s suited to your current skill level, needs, and goals.💯

Cookie-cutter workouts or one-size-fits-all training programs are dangerous and could potentially be hurting your progress.

Start your personalized calisthenics journey by taking this short assessment below.👇