Eugene Sandow
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Eugene Sandow – A “performing” Strongman from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. This was in the day before gyms and Calisthenics played a huge part in his physical development.

If you are not into weight training but desperately want to pack on some muscle, I’ve got some great news for you. In this article, I’m going to explain to you how to build muscle with Calisthenics.


The misconception of strength…

Due to modern media coverage, men’s magazines, “modern” bodybuilding competitions etc, people aka the general public, have this “perception” of what strength is, and what the male (and female) physical form should look like….and most of it is wrong!

This is because despite being built like brick shithouses, bodybuilders are generally only “strong” at the specific exercises they train in (bar squats, bench press etc). Few of them train in Calisthenics which is why level levels of functional strength aka real world strength are actually not in proportion to their level of muscular development.

I have seen plenty of serious lifters struggle with Calisthenics exercises like the handstand push up. This is simply because they lack the levels of strength and balance obtained through Calisthenics training.


Godlike physique…

If you look back at the performing strongmen of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, they had incredible physiques and they were not going to the gym and doing free weights. Usually their routines consisted of nothing more than advanced Calisthenics. Some supplemented their training with weights but the weights they used were usually nothing more than a regular bar or a set of kettlebells.

The feats of strength displayed by these guys would absolutely shame a modern lifter and so would their physiques!

They weren’t “top heavy” monstrosities with tiny waists like you see these days. These guys had mid sections that looked like 40 gallon drums wrapped horizontally with steel cabling, topped off with a with a layer of skin stretched over top! Their bodies often resembled those of the Greek gods often depicted in statues.


So what does all this mean?…

It means thatif you follow a decent “old school” Calisthenics training routine, you will develop an incredible level of functional, real world strength.

You will build muscle mass as well, but instead of large, heavy, bulky muscle you will develop hard, lean, flexible muscle tissue and tendons.

You will develop functional, real world strength.


Convict Conditioning Book Review
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Paul “Coach” Wade’s Convict Conditioning is one of the best best, if not the holy grail of Calisthenics books!

But how do I actually build the muscle?…

You really only need a couple of things…

  • A comprehensive Calisthenics program, designed by an expert (Go to the reviews section of this website to check out the ones that I recommend)
  • Proper Nutrition
  • The time, effort and determination to train regularly

That’s it.


Calisthenics Programs…

As above, I have reviewed several of the best programs including:

So, if you want more in depth info on these training programs and what they have to offer, head over to the reviews section of this website or click on the links above.


Proper Nutrition…

Healthy Food and Eating Clean.
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“Eating Clean” means avoiding additives and synthetic preservatives. Quick tip….Buy Fresh.

Nutrition is critical in any exercise program whether it be Calisthenics, classic weight training, or bodybuilding.

Your body needs essential nutrients to grow and recover from your training sessions and they also need enough energy to perform. To ensure that they do, you need to make sure you are eating the right foods.

Also, if you are a fatty, you will never reach you full potential with exercises like pull ups. This is because of the extra weight you are carrying. If you are carrying around 10kg of fat on your body, that’s an extra 10kg you are lifting per rep!

The great thing about Calisthenics training though, is that the body recognises it for what it is, you wanting to move your body in natural ways. As such, if you are doing bodyweight exercises regularly, your body with subconsciously begin to shed unnecessary weight so that those exercises are not as difficult.

To speed the process up and to ensure you can perform at your best, eating right is essential. As far as I’m concerned you don’t have to go “crazy” with diet but there are a few guidelines to follow to keep you on the right track.

If you want more in depth info on Nutrition click here.


The time, effort and determination to train regularly…

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There is always time for Calisthenics. The workouts don’t require as much time as a traditional weights session and you’ll reap more benefits. Its a win win!

Sorry but I can’t help you here.

With regards to time, the beauty of Calisthenics is that the workout routines are generally simple and quick so your workouts are done and dusted sooner. For one thing, you don’t have to muck about adding weights to bars etc.

Effort and Determination…at the end of the day it’s up to you to push yourself hard every day that you train. Your body will grow if you give it the incentive to by training hard. It doesn’t need to think about it….it just will. It’s called adaptation, and your body is very good at it.



Probably the most common question I get is “can I build muscle with Calisthenics?”

The obvious follow up question is directly related in that “said” person then wants to know how to build muscle with Calisthenics.

I hope that I have managed to answer both those questions in this article and those articles linked to this one and that you enjoyed reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or sign up to our newsletter below.

See you…


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