One of the main reasons most people start doing calisthenics is because of the amazing calisthenics physiques they see online. While there are many advantages to bodyweight training, there is no denying that calisthenics athletes frequently have an appealing, muscular physique that most people find attractive.
In this guide, we will go through some of the main characteristics that bodyweight training results in, as well as look at some incredible, realistic transformations.
Calisthenics Physique: What To Expect
Calisthenics is a unique form of training that mostly relies on using your own body weight for resistance. Since this style of training can be quite different from what you may do with a barbell and squat rack, the type of physique will also be different. Here are some of the main things that most advanced calisthenics athletes have in common:
Low Body Fat
If you look online, almost all calisthenics athletes are shredded. This is partly because the style of training is better suited for lighter athletes. In comparison, a lift like a bench press will always be easier the heavier you get. For this reason, calisthenics athletes are directly incentivized to stay as lean as possible to maximize their lifts.
You also have to consider that, past a certain point, your own body weight will become relatively light for you. With enough experience, you will be able to do dozens of dips, pull-ups, and push-ups with no problem. To keep your workouts hard, you will start adding in more volume or shortening your rest periods. Over time, this will result in you burning more calories than you would with a typical barbell and weights workout.
Almost every calisthenic exercise that you do requires high levels of core strength to stabilize your body. This constant tension, combined with direct ab training, results in calisthenics physiques having some of the most defined abs you will ever see.
Another common aspect of a calisthenics physique is the “pop” or 3-D look that the muscles have. This can be largely attributed to the high levels of time under tension that most calisthenic workouts require. The combination of both strength and time under tension gains will give your muscles that larger-than-life appearance.
Upper Body Heavy
It is no secret that if calisthenic athletes have one weakness, it is their legs. Since your legs are usually one of your stronger body parts, it is hard to properly load them using just your body weight.
That being said, if you do proper bodyweight leg training you can still have defined, muscular leg training just with your body weight. Just be aware, that your physique and training will always be more biased toward your upper body.
Calisthenics Only Physique Transformations: Influencers
Here are some of the noteworthy calisthenics physiques from influencers. Keep in mind that many of these athletes have been training for years. But also, know that with enough consistency, these transformations are very realistic.
Chris is one of the more famous calisthenics athletes in the world. He has garnered the majority of his following thanks to both his impressive physique as well as his helpful youtube tutorials and lessons.
As a natural athlete, Chris has shown firsthand what is possible with dedication and hard work. He went from the skinny young man you see on the left, to the man on the left capable of doing some incredible feats of strength.
Another famous influencer in the bodyweight training space is Frank Medrano. Frank is a pure calisthenics athlete and has been following this form of training for over 15 years.
He initially got started in a local park when he was a kid and has been dedicated since. While Frank may not be huge, there is no denying that he has an impressive physique with minimal body fat.
Frank is also a large proponent of the vegan diet which makes his feats of strength all the more impressive.
Sven is one of the more modest calisthenic influences that you will encounter. He has been very open about his reasons for getting into the sport as well as sharing what his initial starting point was.
Unlike many other influencers, Sven will be the first to tell you that what he did was not easy. Sven frequently mentions in his content that to see real results, it will take years of dedicated training and proper nutrition.
Inspiring Calisthenics Physique Transformations From Regular People
While it is usually influencers that you see online, it is important to remember that regular people are making incredible transformations using calisthenics on a regular basis. Here are just a few of the more inspiring transformations:
Yvguo was inspired to train seriously after his father tragically passed away. Initially, he worked out in his room doing push-ups and pull-ups. Eventually, he started doing more complex movements in a local park and was hooked ever since.
In the inspirational video, you can drastic transformation that occurred in just 4 years.
Gavin is one of the younger entries on our list, which makes his transformation all the more inspiring. At just 14 years old, he began training with the simple goal of doing a muscle up, not realizing that after one workout he would become hooked.
In just a year, he made a drastic transformation in both strength and size. Capable of doing several muscle-ups, Gavin then transitioned to doing even more difficult exercises like the one-arm pull-up.
Much like previous transformations, Cruz began his calisthenics transformation due to insecurities stemming from a skinny frame and low body weight. In just two years, with limited equipment, Cruz made an incredible transformation.
Although he still considers himself a beginner, Cruz has already made incredible progress and packed on easily over 10 pounds of muscle. Although he has quite a way to go before he reaches his full potential, Cruz is well on his way to achieving his goals.
Calisthenics vs Weights Physiques
At the end of the day, resistance is resistance so both calisthenics and traditional weight training will result in muscle gains. However, calisthenics physiques do have a few unique things that can make them stand out in the debate of calisthenics vs bodybuilding:
With most calisthenics movements, you have to make sure that your entire body is strong so you can move on to a harder progression. As the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
In contrast, thanks to things like benches and machines providing stability, weigh training allows you to push heavier and heavier weights even if you neglect certain portions of your body.
While there are exceptions, the majority of the time when you see someone with tree trunk legs, they have come from doing heavy squats and deadlifts with weight. You can still develop decent legs with calisthenics but understand that athletes that train with weights will have the advantage here.
If you want a shredded, aesthetic physique, calisthenics is a great way to get there. Time and time again, some of the most impressive transformations seen online come from athletes that train with just their body weight. With just some basic calisthenics equipment, you can really go a long way.
Is calisthiecs better for physique?
Calisthenics will lead to higher caloric burn during workouts, higher levels of ad development, and an overall more balanced physique than what you would get with typical weight training.
Why are calisthenics athletes so ripped?
The primary reason calisthenics athletes have such low levels of body fat is that their style of training benefits from being lighter. Unlike weight training where some extra body fat may increase performance, the leaner you are will benefit your performance.