Is calisthenics better than running?

Does the term “calisthenics” conjure up images of people doing push-ups in vintage tracksuits or going through basic military training? Calisthenics exercises are an important part of any fitness regimen; chances are you already do them. Is calisthenics, however, superior to running? Consider this article your one-stop page for all things calisthenics.


While traditional, low-resistance cardiovascular workouts like running may be a good choice for calorie burn and overall fitness, calisthenics—depending on which calisthenics and aerobic exercises you choose and how you perform them—may be the superior option.


What are calisthenics?

Calisthenics are exercises that only require the weight of the participant’s body and no other equipment. The intensity and rhythm with which these exercises are performed may differ. Sometimes small, hand-held tools like rings and wands are used during these exercises. Using these exercises, you can improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination. It’s never too late to start a fitness routine, and calisthenics is a great way to get in shape no matter your age.


Calisthenics, which originated in ancient Greece, saw a resurgence of popularity at the turn of the nineteenth century. These calisthenics exercises are used in the fitness training of athletes, military personnel, law enforcement officers, and people who want to stay in shape today. They are either used to warm up for physically demanding sports or to help build their bodies. Researchers are also looking into calisthenics as a possible way to treat several health problems, such as obesity.


Calisthenics vs. running

Running’s numerous positive psychological and physiological effects are sufficient reasons to fall in love with the sport; therefore, there is no reason to stop going for early morning runs. If, on the other hand, you want to lose weight and tone your body, combining your run with a calisthenics routine is an efficient and effective way to achieve both of those objectives.


When looking for a new exercise routine, using calisthenics to lose weight may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But incorporating calisthenics exercises into your running routine is an excellent way to supplement your current running routine.


Like running, calisthenics does not require any special equipment. Calisthenics is a type of exercise in which the participant’s body weight provides the only resistance. You can do your calisthenics workout at home before going for a run afterward; you can also do it in the park or wherever you want. There is no need to be constrained by a predetermined time or schedule because you can perform calisthenics at any time and your own pace.


Squats, lunges, push-ups, bench dips, and planks are some of the most common and effective calisthenics exercises, and they will complement your running routine nicely. Because they work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, these movements are called compound exercises. If these are too easy, you can try chin-ups and pull-ups. Jump squats, walking lunges, burpees, and mountain climbers can be added to your calisthenics routine to take it to the next level. These exercises will give your workout a cardiovascular component.


A thirty-minute intense session of calisthenics burns the same number of calories as running, which ranges between 240 and 355 calories. However, it is worth noting that performing calisthenics exercises not only help you burn calories but also strengthens your muscles and, with continued practice, helps you develop more muscle mass. But a proper dose of expert training is required to be effective with calisthenics.


The Advantages of Calisthenics Workouts

The benefits of the calisthenics exercises cannot be overstated. Hence, at The Movement Athlete, we advocate for a lifelong training system that is not another eight-week program but will take you on a lifetime journey. We also don’t advocate for fast programs that build muscle or help you lose fat; instead, we focus on building functional strength and mobility progressively that will help you do whatever you want to, especially when you are getting older. Some of the top benefits of calisthenics workouts include the following:

It Doesn’t Require Any Special Equipment

Calisthenics are great because they can be done almost anywhere and anytime; all you need is your own body. Calisthenics is one of the few non-weighted methods for increasing muscle mass and strength. You don’t have to buy expensive exercise equipment or join a fitness center to get as fit as you want.


It develops a significant strength capacity

You may be wondering, “How can that be if you’re not lifting barbells or dumbbells?” However, with calisthenics, you can accomplish much by simply using your body weight. Consider it this way: You are effectively lifting the same weight if you weigh 150 pounds and perform one pull-up using only your body weight.


You will reach a certain max point of muscle growth with calisthenics because muscle mass comes from progressive resistance, and your own body can only provide so much resistance. This is because muscle mass results from progressive resistance, and your body can only provide so much resistance. This is, however, where one’s creative side comes into play: Try performing exercises on elevated surfaces, for example, to change the angle of the movement and increase the percentage of your body weight that you are lifting. You could also experiment with new ways to challenge your body by using vertical surfaces such as walls and poles to engage your core in ways you wouldn’t believe. You can keep inducing physical and mental adaptations by going faster, slower, longer, upside down, or increasing your range of motion.


It improves your movement

Calisthenics is widely regarded as the most effective form of functional movement training because it emphasizes moving your body in space. “Functional training” refers to working out in a way that directly improves how you carry out day-to-day activities and the specific physical requirements of your job or sport.


Every muscle is strained

Calisthenics involves using the entire body rather than focusing on specific muscles over others. I’m talking about strength from the bottom of your feet to the tips of your fingers, although it is gentler on the joints and the connective tissue surrounding them. Resistance training can strain soft-tissue structures like your tendons, ligaments, and fascia if done incorrectly with too-heavy weights frequently or in an imbalanced manner. On the other hand, calisthenics develops strength and size in proportion to your muscular system through authentic and natural movements. They are movements that are performed without the use of any equipment.


It improves the connection between the brain and the body

Calisthenics training improves fine motor skills, which require your brain to work as hard as your body. This is because calisthenics training requires your body and brain to work extremely hard. A body trained in the art of calisthenics demonstrates coordination, speed, power, acceleration, strength, quickness, and agility.


It Gives You an Awesome Feeling

Someone who knows they have complete control over their body walks with undeniable confidence. It’s almost as if they’re boasting. Performing a massive deadlift or overhead kettlebell lift can make you feel like a star. However, plyometric push-ups or being able to perform a one-arm pull-up can give you the same sensation.


Calisthenics Exercises for Beginners


Stand with your feet hip-width apart and point your toes out slightly. Maintain an upright posture while moving your hips back and forth like you’re sitting in a chair. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement to ensure that your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core are all engaged.



Begin with a neutral grip on a pull-up bar and pull yourself up to meet the bar, engaging your core, rhomboids, and lats. Once you’ve gotten your chin over it, lower yourself down with control. If you can’t quite pull yourself up, you can help yourself by placing a hanging resistance band beneath your feet.



Your hands should be underneath your shoulders, your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your legs should be extended back behind you in this position. Ensure your back is flat and your hips are aligned while engaging your core and squeezing your glutes.



While in the plank position, move your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart to perform push-ups. Lower your body to the floor with your hands, then raise it to the starting position by extending your arms. Throughout the movement, keep your abdominal muscles contracted.



Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted. Put your hands on the sides of your head, fingers pointing to your toes. This exercise should be repeated five times. Raise your hips while rounding your back and contracting the muscles in your stomach, buttocks, and legs. Hold yourself at the peak for a few seconds before lowering yourself and repeating the move. As an alternative, place your hands on something higher than your shoulders.


Final Thoughts and CTA

The most important thing to accelerate your weight loss is to keep track of how many calories you consume daily. But calories can be effectively burned off by physical activities such as exercise. While running is undeniably an excellent cardiovascular exercise and the workout of choice if you want to burn calories, combining it with calisthenics for weight loss may be the ideal combination. Running and calisthenics are both excellent calorie-burning exercises. You can easily incorporate some of the calisthenics for beginners into your workout regime today and be on your way to  better health.


FAQ section

Is it better to run or do calisthenics?

Depending on which calisthenics and aerobic exercises you choose and how you perform them, calisthenics may be a better choice for calorie burning and overall fitness than traditional, low-resistance cardiovascular workouts.

Is calisthenics superior to cardio?

Aerobic exercise focuses on weight loss and improving cardiovascular health, whereas calisthenics programs focus on muscle strength. However, there is some overlap because several aerobic exercises can build muscle while calisthenics also burn calories.

Should I start with a run or calisthenics?

If you’re training for a running event, for example, you should do your cardio first and save the push-ups and sit-ups for last. When it comes to weight loss and strength gains, calisthenics should come first, along with other forms of weight training.

Does calisthenics help with running?

As a runner, incorporating calisthenics can significantly improve your endurance, stamina, power, and strength. Calisthenics workouts are a great way to strength train, cross train, and stay injury free while running.