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Calisthenics Before or After Weights: Which is Better?

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Calisthenics and weight training have both gained immense popularity in recent years due to their unique benefits. Calisthenics, which involves bodyweight exercises, is a great way to improve your strength, flexibility, and overall fitness level. On the other hand, weight training is an effective way to build muscle mass, improve bone density, and increase metabolism.

One of the most debated topics in the fitness world is whether to perform calisthenics before or after weights. Some argue that starting with calisthenics can help you warm up your muscles and improve your form, while others believe that weight training should come first to maximize muscle growth and strength gains.

When deciding whether to perform calisthenics before or after weights, there are several factors to consider. Your fitness goals, workout routine, and personal preferences all play a role in determining the best approach. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both perspectives and provide tips on how to incorporate calisthenics with weight training to achieve optimal results.

Exploring the Pros and Cons

Calisthenics Before Weights:

Prioritizing calisthenics before weightlifting has both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons:


  • Warm-up potential: Bodyweight exercises can prepare muscles and joints for lifting, improving mobility and reducing injury risk.
  • Skill development: Prioritizing calisthenics allows focused attention on technique and progression before fatiguing with weights.
  • Metabolic boost: Can elevate heart rate and calorie expenditure early in the workout, potentially enhancing overall fat burning.


  • Fatigue impact: Performing demanding calisthenics might deplete energy reserves needed for heavy weightlifting later.
  • Strength limitations: Beginners or those targeting heavier weights might find limited progression with bodyweight alone.
  • Muscle fatigue: Intense calisthenics can fatigue specific muscle groups needed for certain weight exercises.

Weights Before Calisthenics:

Prioritizing weightlifting before calisthenics also has its pros and cons. Here are some of them:


  • Strength foundation: Lifting weights builds strength and muscle mass, potentially improving performance in calisthenics later.
  • Targeted muscle activation: Weight training allows specific muscle isolation and progressive overload for focused development.
  • Reduced fatigue risk: Prioritizing weights ensures fresh muscles for demanding calisthenics skills like pull-ups or dips.


  • Warm-up limitations: Relying solely on weight training might not provide sufficient dynamic warm-up for calisthenics.
  • Technique compromise: Fatigue from weights might impact proper form and increase injury risk during calisthenics.
  • Reduced skill focus: Lifting might leave less energy and mental focus for mastering complex calisthenics skills.

Whether you choose to do calisthenics before or after weightlifting, it ultimately depends on your fitness goals and personal preference. Keep in mind that mixing calisthenics and weightlifting can also be a great way to improve overall fitness and strength.

Finding Your Optimal Approach

Individualized Factors

When deciding whether to prioritize calisthenics or weightlifting in your workout routine, there are several individualized factors to consider. First, consider your current fitness level and experience with both calisthenics and weight training. If you are new to exercise, it may be best to start with calisthenics before progressing to weight training.

Next, identify your primary goals, whether it be strength building, skill development, or weight loss, to guide your exercise selection. Be mindful of your personal energy reserves and potential for fatigue throughout the workout. Choose a sequence that fits your available training time and allows sufficient rest between sessions.

Experimentation and Adaptation

It is recommended that you try both sequences, calisthenics before and after weights, for a few weeks each to gauge your personal responses and performance. Listen to your body and adjust the order based on fatigue levels, muscle soreness, and skill focus.

Consider incorporating both calisthenics and weight training in separate sessions for optimal benefits without immediate sequence concerns. Progressive overload is key in both calisthenics and weight training, so be sure to gradually increase the difficulty of your exercises over time.

Remember, everyone’s body responds differently to exercise, so it’s important to experiment and adapt your approach based on your individual needs and goals. With a hybrid approach that incorporates both calisthenics and weights, you can achieve a well-rounded workout routine that targets all major muscle groups and helps you reach your fitness goals.


In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether to do calisthenics before or after weights. It ultimately comes down to what works best for you and your fitness journey. Some people may prefer to prioritize calisthenics before weights to improve their functional fitness and bodyweight strength, while others may prioritize heavy weights to focus on building muscle mass and strength.

Both calisthenics and weight training offer unique benefits and can be incorporated into a well-rounded fitness routine. Calisthenics can be a great way to improve your bodyweight strength, mobility, and functional strength, while weight training can help you build muscle mass, strength, and improve your overall body composition.

When deciding whether to do calisthenics before or after weights, it’s important to consider your goals, preferences, and unique responses to different exercise types. Experiment with both approaches and see which one aligns with your goals and feels most enjoyable for you.

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Lauren Price

Lauren Price is the co-owner of Lava Barre, a specialized fitness boutique that focuses on achieving balance for the body, mind, and soul. With a passion for fitness and wellness, Lauren and her business partner Vanessa set out to create a unique barre class that not only challenges the body but also inspires the mind.

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