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Benefits of Weighted Calisthenics on Your Body
What are the benefits of weighted calisthenics?
Well, there are plenty of benefits.
But, the first thing to realize is, adding weights to a workout is almost always beneficial.
One great way to add weight to your calisthenics routine is by using a weighted dip belt.
Here at Dark Iron Fitness, we have the highest quality, genuine leather dip belt on the market.
You will find that a dip belt is one of the more appropriate tools to add weight to calisthenics.
However, to understand the benefits of adding weights, we will need to look at various exercises.
Many calisthenic movements can incorporate weights, but to what success?
In this article, we will be going over three beneficial movements that you should start doing.
Also, if you have no prior experience with calisthenics, we will go over some basics.
Long ago, calisthenics was seen as a form of exercise used mainly to optimize gymnastic ability.
Now, calisthenics has broken into the fitness world with a fury, showing that real muscle can be built.
In adding weight to your calisthenics, that muscle building will only get more prominent.
Benefits of Weighted Calisthenics — Why Do Calisthenics?
What is Calisthenics?
Calisthenics tends to promote mobility and motor skills.
These exercises focus on jumping, grabbing, grasping, pulling and pushing.
Many calisthenics movements are performed in either high repetitions or in a timed manner.
As general training and overall fitness, calisthenics can reign supreme.
For athletes, and those who are serving in the military, calisthenics can be highly beneficial.
Your common exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, burpees, and dips are the foundation of calisthenics.
You’ll often see people in the gym doing these popular movements in their bodybuilding or fitness routines, as well.
When these are done for calisthenics, however, they become the main movements during exercise.
For the most part, weighted exercises and things like deadlifts, overhead press, etc. are supplemental movements in the calisthenics world.
The beauty of calisthenics is that you don’t need any equipment — or at least the movements can be done anywhere.
Calisthenics can be done in public parks and jungle gyms because these areas are optimal for the exercises.
You will often see “calisthenic parks” in public, which house things like monkey bars, pull-up bars, parallel bars, and occasionally rings.
So, what happens when you add some iron to these exercises?
What are the benefits of weighted calisthenics?
Related: Benefits of Wall Squats
How Can You Add Weights?
Adding weights to your calisthenic routines should be easy.
I say this because the general idea of calisthenics is not needing much — so keep it simple.
Of course, you can mix in barbells and other weights that you find in the gym.
But, for this article, we will be talking about using more portable and streamlined weights.
In my opinion, weight plates, dumbbells, and kettlebells are the best for calisthenics.
All three of these weights are fairly portable, but also work well with calisthenic movements.
You can hold the dumbbell between your hands or between your feet.
Weight plates can be held between your hands, placed on your body or used with a high-quality dip belt, like the one from Dark Iron Fitness.
With kettlebells, you can use them for more explosive calisthenic movements or also strap them through a dip belt if you want.
Applying these three types of weights to your calisthenics will be the easiest and most convenient.
But, what are the three best exercises to do with these kinds of weights?
What are the most optimal exercises and what are the benefits of weighted calisthenics when using them?
Let’s discuss what I believe to be your best options, that are easy to implement, and work well in optimizing the calisthenics.
Benefits of Weighted Calisthenics — 3 Exercises to Do
Lunges are an overall great exercise.
For calisthenics, they are a great way to build mobility and stretch out your muscles.
Doing lunges will build your core strength, glute muscles, and quads.
Now, if you add in weights, your lunges will be much more challenging.
For lunges, you can hold dumbbells in both hands and this will force you to maintain balance.
Furthermore, you can hold a 45-lb weight plate at your chest while you perform the lunge.
Doing these styles of weighted lunges will boost the amount of work your core will be doing.
Along with testing your core, your stabilizer muscles in your legs and back will be in overdrive.
These are just some of the benefits of weighted calisthenics — mainly the way your body adapts to stabilizing the weight added.
Since lunges are such a core calisthenic exercise, utilizing weight can only make you get better at doing lunges in general.
Related: What Muscles Do Lunges Work?
Weighted Pistol Squats
Pistol squats are another strong calisthenic exercise that you don’t see too often outside of calisthenics.
For the most part, pistol squats are one of those movements that require a lot of balance and stability.
If you aren’t someone who does calisthenics, then getting the form on pistol squats may take some time.
Once you can properly perform a pistol squat, and successfully stand back up, then you can add weight.
These are best to be done with a single dumbbell or kettlebell held in the goblet position.
Then, going down with one leg cocked out in front of you like a pistol, you will squat all the way down.
Supplementing your pistol squats with weights will be extremely challenging.
Though this is one of the exercises I highly recommend, I also caution you to practice your form daily.
The more you get comfortable with the pistol squat position and form, the more likely you’ll be able to achieve these other variations.
Related: Why Are Kettlebells So Effective?
Weighted Dips, Pull-Ups, Muscle-Ups
For upper body, I am combining all of the exercises that can be done with the Dark Iron Fitness weighted dip belt.
These calisthenic movements included dips, pull-ups/chin-ups, and muscle-ups.
A dip belt will test your ability by adding more resistance.
Doing dips can target your chest and triceps like no other, depending on how you perform them.
Yes, you can do dips in the gym, but the beauty is that you can also do them at the park.
Most parks with any kind of jungle gym or bars will have a set of parallel bars.
Doing dips on parallel bars is like a calisthenic dream.
Now, imagine strapping on a high-quality dip belt and throwing a 45-lb plate on it.
These will no doubt be challenging, but a lot less of a learning curve compared to pistol squats.
I’m sure you’ve seen people in the gym with two full plates loaded on their dip belt.
With dips, though, you can also hold a dumbbell in between your feet and get a similar effect.
The same goes for doing weighted pull-ups and muscle-ups.
You’ll get a much deeper stretch in these muscles and have to recruit all of your power to explode out of the bottom of the movement.
For a lot of people, doing a set of pull-ups can be challenging on their own.
If you put on a dip belt and think you’ll knock those pull-ups out, think again!
But, that doesn’t mean it won’t be beneficial for your muscle growth and progression if you struggle some.
Using a weighted dip belt for pull-ups, even if you can’t get as many reps, will still build solid muscle.
Related: Bodyweight Chest Exercises
Benefits of Weighted Calisthenics — Conclusion
The Value of Weighted Calisthenics Lies Within Experimentation
With these three examples I’ve given to boost your calisthenic routine, the true value comes from your own experimentation.
Doing weighted lunges, pistol squats and dips will be a great starting point.
Don’t stop there, though!
Take your calisthenics training to the best of your ability — add weights and see what happens.
If you have the environment to perform calisthenics and include barbells, resistance bands, and other free weights, then do so.
Calisthenics has a lot to do with explosiveness, stamina and the ability to string together various movements.
If you can factor in some weights somewhere in those routines, then you can only benefit from it.
For anyone who is interested in trying to do any of these weighted calisthenic movements, then pick up the Dark Iron Fitness dip belt as your go-to accessory!
Do your weighted calisthenics in the gym, but also out in the world.
This will give you a great idea of how universal and versatile weighted calisthenics can be.