Weightlifting vs. calisthenics: Which one is better for you?

Working out is demanding both mentally and physically, so it's important to know that you're doing the kind of exercises that will push you closer to your goals. When it comes to weights or calisthenics, which regimen is best?

Calisthenics is simply a fancy term for bodyweight exercises, according to Healthline. These include many common moves like pushups, pullups, squats, lunges, and crunches. Weightlifting is another form of strength training but it involves using an exterior weight, like a dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell to augment the weight of your body. Bicep curls, triceps extensions, bench presses, and shoulder presses are all examples of weightlifting exercises.

Both types of exercises have benefits. Weightlifting is one key to building not only strong muscles, but also strong bones, according to Well+Good. It's also been proven to combat some diseases associated with aging, like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mobility problems. Weightlifting, like all exercise, releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain — key chemicals involved in happiness and mood regulation.

Both can be challenging workouts

Calisthenics will also provide many of these important bodily benefits, and unlike weight training, it's a workout you can do anywhere. Because it doesn't require any equipment, calisthenics can be performed when you're traveling or can't make it to your regular workout, according to Livestrong.

With weightlifting it's easy to increase your effort by adding more weight. With calisthenics that's also possible, but requires a little creativity. For example, if you can't perform a regular pushup, then start on your knees, says Healthline. Once regular pushups become easy, you can make them more challenging by doing them with one arm, or putting your feet on an elevated surface, creating a decline pushup.

Similar modifications work on nearly all exercises. You can perform a triceps dip by putting your hands behind you on a table, then lowering your body to the floor. To make the exercise more challenging, try lifting one leg while you dip.

Overall, for increasing size or building a lot of strength, stick with weightlifting. But if you want to burn more calories in a workout, consider adding a regular calisthenics session to your regimen, according to Livestrong. Each form of exercise has its place, and together they make a powerhouse workout plan.