Does Calisthenics Make You Bigger, Stronger and Leaner? Truth

I held my breath.

After 3 seconds I would know everything. 

While I was waiting for my results the digital numbers were changing fast but there was only one number I wanted to see.

71 kg (156 lbs) or up.

And it was over. 3 seconds have passed.

But even so, I was too scared to look at the little screen. It was strange how this little number symbolizes all my hard work and sweat for the past 30 days.

Finally, I’ve got the courage and looked down.

I was shocked…

How I was feeling

70.1 kg. (154 lbs)

NOOO! Not again! 

This scale had to be wrong. That is not possible… 

After 2 more tries, the results were the same. 

70.1 kg

And then I felt it. The deep feeling of defeat.

After I got off my digital scale I sat down on my adjustable bench and started to immediately look for answers.

This is my bench

What am I doing so wrong.. Why I can’t get bigger or stronger with calisthenics… Why, why, why…”

I tried everything!

New exercises, new workouts, new meals, bought some new equipment but no matter what I tried I wasn’t seeing any positive growth.

I wasn’t getting bigger or stronger.

I was feeling so miserable that I even thought about opening the window of my apartment and throwing away that ugly scale that ruined my day.

But is it worth it? It’s not its fault that I suck.

I’m all to blame.

Instead of breaking things my brain finally found some sense and I did the most logical thing I could do:

I asked for help.

Here’s what happened next…

Hi there, my name is Bozhidar and I’m the dude who has a serious problem with digital scales. 

Don’t worry today I actually find them useful and I can’t wait to use them in order to track down my positive progress.

But how’s that?

Keep reading because in the next few chapters I will show you…

  • How does Calisthenics Make You Bigger, Stronger and Leaner? (The Truth)
  • How to Do Calisthenics in order to get bigger and more muscular
  • How to Do Calisthenics to become stronger and speed up your results
  • What are the most important things you have to do if you want to get lean with calisthenics
  • A couple of great tips, tricks, and techniques you can apply straight away.

Sounds interesting?

Here we go…

Does Calisthenics Make You Bigger, Stronger and Leaner?

The short and boring answer to this question is going to sound something like this:

Yes, calisthenics can make you bigger, stronger and leaner but only if you know what are you doing.

If you want to get positive results you have to have a solid nutrition plan, ideal workout routine based on progressive overload, a lot of patience, strong will, and a long term plan.

A lot of stuff right?

And these are only some of the main things you have to do every single day if you want to look great and get actual results.

As you can see this whole positive progress thing isn’t fast or easy but that’s exactly why I like it. 

If building muscle or strength was a super easy thing to do it would be pretty boring and unfulfilling. 

With that being said let’s see the longer and 10x better answer for the same questions. 

Here’s where you are going to find all the real answers you seek. 

Here’s how I find mine…

The next day I had a solid chest workout but I wasn’t feeling it.

Yes, I know that you are supposed to work out no matter how you feel but after seeing the same number or the scale for 6 months I’ve had enough. 

I was very mad at myself. 

Especially for all the time, energy and money, I’ve invested in this endeavor and the results I got.

Screw Youtube, all those famous blogs and useless free workout programs I’ve tried.

It was time for something new. Something better.

After I finally asked for some help I’ve got recommended to try this calisthenics workout program called Bar Brothers The System

After buying and testing its workouts I was really impressed.

For the first time in many months, I was actually getting bigger, stronger and my skills were improving.

And because of this simple decision I’ve finally had found the real problems I had. 

The 3 biggest things I was lacking were:

  1. Solid workout program
  2. Eating enough calories
  3. Having a long term progress plan.

That’s why I highly recommend you to read my entire review of the Bar Brothers The System program here <<

My review

This program really helped me get a lot bigger and stronger only by doing calisthenics. That’s why I believe it could to the same thing for you.

But that’s not all.

During my transformation process, I also learned many different things I want to share with you. 

Even though I can’t really tell you the specifics of the course because I don’t want to get sued I can still share some great knowledge you can apply straight away.

Here we go…

How to Use Calisthenics to Get Bigger

I stepped on the scale again. But this time I wasn’t afraid.

Why?

Because I was prepared. 

During the past 30 days, I’ve followed strictly the new program Bar Brothers The System, fixed my eating habits and tried some new things.

After staring at the little screen like it was my worst enemy I finally saw something I really wanted to see.

At first, I couldn’t believe my eye. 

Was this magic or was I having problems with my sight?

For the first time, the scale was actually showing something nice.

I was telling me that my current weight was 72.6 kg (160 lbs).

What? 72 kgs? This has to be a mistake…

After trying to measure myself a couple more times the results were the same: 

72.6 kg

And the new weight wasn’t fat. It was mostly muscle mass.

No way…

It happened suddenly. 

A few seconds later I was jumping and screaming like a lunatic but the unexpected kick of the edge of my desk with my feet brought me back in reality.

But I didn’t care. The only thing I was caring about was my progress.

It was finally going up.

Do you want to achieve similar progress? 

Do you want to build more muscle mass and size with calisthenics?

Here are my favorite top 3 tips on how to do it…

1. Eat a lot of food

I know this probably sounds obvious but you would be amazed at how many people are not doing it.

Sorry, but trying to eat randomly more calories isn’t going to do it.

If you want good results you’ve to do a lot better than that. 

Your main goal should be to eat a specific number of calories every single day!

Meal prepping is the king here

Yep, I’m very aware this isn’t an easy thing to do but it’s not that difficult either. 

So before you get frustrated and quit keep reading because I’ll share with you exactly how I did it.

Here we go…

Step 1: Find out how many calories you should be eating

If you really want to get bigger with the help of calisthenics you have to know your daily calories.

In my opinion, this is the number one factor that is going to make sure you get results.

If you already know that number feel free to skip this step. If not use this online free calculator, enter your details in order to find the number.

Once you know your exact number of how many calories you should eat in order to keep your current weight go to the next step.

Step 2: Increase your calories by 10-20%

In order for you to gain more muscle mass, you need to eat more calories than your body burns every day. 

I’m going to bulk and gain some muscle…

This process is also called calorie surplus.

Once you know your daily calories it’s time to do some basic math and find out how many calories you need to eat in order to get bigger.

Here’s an example of how the process looks:

Let’s say I have to eat 3000 calories every day in order for me to keep my current weight.

In order to build muscle and get bigger, I’m going to increase that number by 20%.

Here’s how to calculate it:

3000 + 0.20×3000 (20% of 3000) = 3000 + 600 = 3600 calories 

So in order for me to get bigger with the help of calisthenics, I must eat around 3600 calories every day.

As you can see finding that number is not that hard. Now it’s your turn.

Do the same thing and find out how many calories you should eat.

Quick Tip:

Take the number you got with a grain of salt because it way not be super accurate. Depending on your progress every week you should increase or decrease the number until you start seeing positive results.

Step 3: Start tracking down your calories

Once you know how many calories you should eat in order to get big as Hulk then it’s time for the hardest part.

You have to make sure you are going to eat them.

I eat 10 000 calories per hour! You mad?

The simplest way to do that is to use one of those free apps you can download on your phone. 

Simply go to Google Play Store or Apple Apps and download one of the highly-rated apps that help you track down your daily calories.

The other way you can track your calories is by using a pen and a notebook. 

woman writing down on a notebook her progress

Get yourself a nice thick notebook, name the pages of the upcoming days and write down everything you eat and how many calories it contains.

You can find all that information with a couple of basic Google searches.

And that’s everything. 

Once you start doing this on a regular basis then you will see huge growth in your muscle, weight, and size. 

2. Start doing weighted calisthenics

I looked at myself in the mirror and I really liked what I saw.

My chest was a little fuller and my shoulders had become little wider. 

Damn, those resistance bands are no joke!– I thought.

Indeed they weren’t. 

I was using them for 2 or 3 months by now and during that period I managed to pack quite a bit of muscle mass and size.

Me after

I wasn’t huge or anything like that but now anyone could easily tell than I workout even if I’m with my shirt on. 

For the first time in many months, I was happy with something I bought. 

Usually, everything I buy pretty much sucks or I don’t find it as useful as I did in the beginning. 

But not with those resistance bands. 

With the help of these bad boys, I was killing it. 

Bigger guns, fuller chest and wider shoulders… Who doesn’t want that?

That’s why I highly recommend weighted calisthenics.

Especially for people who already have some strength and want to use it in order to build more size and muscle mass.

Let’s find out what is the best equipment for weighted calisthenics….

What is the best equipment for weighted calisthenics?

In my personal arsenal, there are 3 things that had helped me to pack the biggest amount of muscle:

  1. My weighted vest
  2. My resistance bands
  3. And my ankle weights

Let’s see why I like them so much and how they can help you build more muscle using calisthenics.

1. Weighted vest

Buying a weighted vest is one of the basic and most useful pieces of equipment you can get. 

By wearing one you can increase the difficulty of every calisthenics move you can think of.

My weighted vest

If you have interested in vests my recommendation is to get yourself an adjustable one if you want to keep building muscle mass fora long period of time. 

If you are looking for a solid vest I suggest you click here to check the one I personally use.

I’m very happy with its design so far and it’s going to help you a lot.

2. Resistance bands

This is a must-have product if you want to build a ton of muscle mass and size with calisthenics.

Even if some people don’t believe in the effectiveness of resistance bands that doesn’t mean anything.

From personal experience, I can tell you that they are amazing.

Resistance bands are lightweight, extremely portable, very durable and you could be anchored almost anywhere.

You can combine them with almost every bodyweight exercise in order to make it easier or harder. 

That’s why if you can spare some cash I highly recommend you to go and get them immediately. 

I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. 

If you are looking for a solid set I would recommend you check out the bands I use from here.

3. Ankle/Wrist weights

Even if ankle weights are not one of the first things that came in mind that don’t mean they suck and should be avoided like the plague. 

I personally own a pair and find them very useful when I want to target my legs, butt, and abs. 

My ancle weights

You can even use them as additional resistance for pull-ups and dips and if you’ve got a backpack you can use them for push-ups as well.

As you can see ankle weights are a very compact and versatile piece of equipment that brings lots of value in different areas. 

And they are pretty cheap.

If you are curious about how a good pair looks like feel free to check out the ones I use from this link on Amazon.

What I like most about them is the fact that they are adjustable and not bulky. 

3. Focus on the right muscle building tempo

One of the biggest mistakes I see people do is not using the right tempo when they workout. 

Especially when their main goal is to build more muscle and get bigger and stronger.

Science has proven that one of the most efficient ways for you to build muscle is to have enough time under tension during your exercises.

And the best way to achieve that is by having the right muscle building tempo.

What is the best muscle building tempo?

The best tempo for building muscle with the help of your body weight or resistance training is 3 seconds

So your goal should be to complete a full repetition in 3 seconds and your total time under tension per set to be between 30 to 60 seconds.

Here is an example:

I want to do push-ups and my main goal is to build muscle in my chest. That’s why I will focus on slowing down my reps.

When doing push-ups I will slow down the negative part of the movement and aim to go near the ground for about 2 seconds.

Then I will slowly pause on the bottom. Right after that I will push myself up and repeat 10 more times. 

Here’s a perfect example of the speed for your push-ups

That’s going to give me roughly about 3 seconds per rep or 30 to 40 seconds of time under tension in general. These are the perfect numbers for building more muscle.

So if you want to build more muscle make sure that you are doing the same technique for all of your calisthenics exercises where you can. 

That way you are going to stimulate your muscles to grow bigger.

How to Use Calisthenics to Get Stronger

One more rep

I can do it.

With my teeth strongly squeezed I pushed every cell from my body to go up.

How I was feeling…

With a lot of trembling and a strange sound, I finally managed to complete my 50th push-up.

Once I was done I dropped myself to the ground and exhale everything I had left.

I rolled over on my back and looked up in the tree where I saw that ugly crow which was haunting me for the past 5 minutes.

I did it! Even with your ugly noises you bastard! I finally did it!

You wot mate?

The crow didn’t even flinch and kept making those awful sounds until I threw a stick in its direction.

If finally flew away and I had peace. 

Crow Disclaimer: Even if crows make hideous sounds I really like them and find them to be one of the smartest birds I know.

I took a deep breath and thought about my situation.

Finally, my new working plan and techniques have paid off. 

I managed to nearly double my strength in a short period of time. 

Only If I knew that 6 months ago…

Well, I know it now and I want to share it with you.

Do you want to improve your strength and skills in calisthenics like me?

If yes, keep reading because I’m going to show you exactly how I did it…

1. Test your limits

One of the best ways for you to become stronger is to test your limits

Don’t worry you won’t need to puke in every workout in order to do that but there are a couple of great techniques you can use.

Let’s check them out…

Tip #1 – Get outside your comfort zone

Let’s say you always do 12 pull-ups and you believe that’s everything you can do.

Well, next time you are going to do pull-ups I challenge you to do 15. 

Do 3 more.

But I can’t, because… blah-blah

No excuses – only pull-ups

Hey, stop right there!

Yes, you can! I’m 99% sure that you aren’t giving all you’ve got in those 12 reps.

Don’t believe me? Just try it

Next time you are going to do pull-ups try to do 3 more repetitions and see what happens.

It is not going to be comfortable but you are going to do them. 

And that’s what I call “test your limits”.

By doing this technique from time to time you are going to stress a lot your body and it’s going to have no other choice than to adapt by growing bigger and stronger.

As you can see this is a very simple but effective technique. 

Give it a try.

Tip #2 – Build more explosive power

Another great way to build more strength in calisthenics is to simply include a couple of explosive exercises in your workout routine.

That’s some serious explosive power

Because explosive type of training is a lot different than the traditional exercises you are going to become a lot stronger in a short amount of time.

Here are a couple of my favorite explosive exercises you can do:

  • Explosive push-ups
  • Explosive pull-ups
  • Explosive chin-ups
  • Explosive dips
  • Explosive handstands (very advanced)
  • Explosive squats
  • Anything else you can think that is going to require a lot of explosive power

Even tho these exercises can be quite effective they are not a great option for complete beginners

I’ve personally started incorporating them once I had some decent strength and skills.

Quick Tip:

If you want to take things on the next level you can try and do a full explosive workout targeting your whole body once a week.

Tip #3 – Try new things

The biggest changes I got were direct results of when I tried new things.

Here’s a great example of how I added a lot of strength on my upper body.

Like most people, I was obsessed with the pull-up bar.

Me doing some pull-ups

I’ve used it for a ton of different exercises that focus on my back, biceps, and abs but after a while, I reached a plateau. 

And that’s when I’ve decided to buy a set of gymnastic rings

My gimnastic rings

Click here if you want to check my rings on Amazon.

If you believe that a pull-up bar is tough you have to try rings

They’re going to kick your ass. Literally.

The first few workouts were awful and uncomfortable but the results I got were totally worth it

With the help of my new gymnastic rings my grip strength increased a lot, my balance gone through the roof and I could easily smash a couple more pull-ups and chin-ups during my workouts.

That is what happens when you try something new.

That’s why one of the best things you can do is to try something new.

Here are a couple of great things you can do right now:

  • Buy new workout equipment
  • Try some new exercises you know nothing about
  • Add extra resistance to your bodyweight exercises
  • Try new variations of the exercises you know
  • Do explosive type of training
  • Use your imagination

2. Use a solid calisthenics program

OMG, I’ve bought it. 

I’ve just paid $47 dollars for this program. Man, I hope it works… If it doesn’t I’m going to be super pissed and I would want a refund.

These were some of my thoughts right after I’ve bought this calisthenics program called Bar Brothers The System.

At this point, I was sick of being stuck without getting any new gains or strength and I really hoped this program could help me.

Luckily I was right and it worked. It actually worked. 

With its help, I managed to gain more size, strength and finally improved my calisthenics skills in a nice period of time.

But this program is not magic. It still requires hard work and sweat.

Bar Brothers The System isn’t just the average boring program you can find on the web.

Here are some of people following this program

Instead, all the workouts you get are specifically designed to become more and more difficult with every passing week.

You do that by doing specific variations of all the exercises in strict order.

And that’s the main reason why you must follow a solid workout program

  • If your program suck so will your results.
  • If your workout program is the bomb then you will have amazing results.

If you are looking for a solid calisthenics workout program I highly recommend you to check out my Bar Brothers The System review from here <<

Sneek peak of my review

But even if you don’t make sure that the program you are following has a similar type of structure that is based on slow progression and constant improvement.

3. Track down your progress

One of the best things you can do right now in order to improve your strength is to track down your progress.

If you don’t track anything answer this:

How are you going to find out if you are making progress or not?

That’s why tracking down your workouts can be really helpful. 

Here’s an example of what I do to track down my workouts. 

I simply write down my workouts after I do them inside a small notebook I care around. 

But that’s not really necessary. You can do the same thing inside a notepad file or an app.

Here is an example of how I structure my workouts:

27.06.2020 – Legs

Exercises

  • Explosive squats (4 sets): 1 set – 30 reps, 2 set – 30 reps, 3 set – 27 reps, 4 set – 25 reps
  • Normal squats with pause at the bottom (4 sets): 1 set – 20 reps, 2 set – 20 reps, 3 set – 20 reps, 4 set – 17 reps
  • Walking lunges with weighted vest (4 sets): 1 set – 15 reps, 2 set – 12 reps, 3 set – 10 reps, 4 – 10 reps
  • Wall-sit (1 minute): managed to hold it for 1 minute and 7 seconds for the 4th set

Yes, I know that’s a lot of details to write about but everything is important.

By taking extra 1-2 minutes to write everything down you are making sure you know where you currently are.

Use all that data to track down down your progress.

Do you want faster results?

Track down everything. Trust me, it works.

How to Use Calisthenics to Get Leaner

Using calisthenics to burn fat is quite simple.

If you want to be successful you need to:

  • Eat fewer calories than your body needs
  • Do more intensive workouts
  • Include some type of cardio.

And if you stick to those 3 things long enough you are going to lose a bunch of weight and get leaner and more ripped.

Sounds good?

If it does keep reading because I will share with you some great tips and techniques you can do today.

Here we go…

1. Eat fewer calories than your body uses

The first rule you have to follow if you want to lose weight is pretty simple:

Eat less calories.

Not that less…

If you don’t eat the right amount of calories every single day all your hard work will be done for nothing. 

Trust me you do not want that. 

Here is exactly how to do it:

Step 1: Find out how many calories you need to maintain your body weight

There are a bunch of ways you can do this but the simplest and fastest method is to use a free online calculator. 

If you don’t know that number simply use this online calculator here.

how the calculator looks

Click the link above, enter your metrics in the right places and click the button. 

Once you know your number it’s time to go to the next step.

Step 2: Eat 15-20% lower than that

Losing weight isn’t rocket science but it does require some basic math skills.

Hmm, I still don’t know how much is 1 + 1…

Don’t worry they are not anything complicated so anyone reading this can do it.

Here’s an example:

After using the online calculator I found that in order to keep my current weight I must eat about 2500 calories.

But in order for me to lose weight, I have to eat 20% less than that.

Here’s the math behind it:

2500 – 2500 x 0.20 (20% from 2500) = 2500 – 500 = 2000 calories

So in order for me to get learner with calisthenics, I have to eat approximately 2000 calories every day.

Now it’s your turn.

Use the same info and find out how many calories you have to eat in order to get lean.

When that’s done continue to the next step.

Step 3: Make sure you are following strictly that number

This is the most important step because if you fail here you will not burn any fat.

I know it’s not an easy thing to do but do what it takes in order to keep the calories below or around that number.

That will determine if you are going to see any results or not.

The easiest way you can do that is to download a free nutrition app that can calculate how many calories have you eaten every day. 

A couple of apps from the Google Store

Another way you can do it is by simply writing down everything you eat and calculating the total number at the end of the day. 

2. Increase the intensity

The second most important thing you can in order to get lean is to burn more calories during your workouts. 

The more calories you burn, the more fat you will remove.

Let’s see what are my favorite ways to burn more calories during my bodyweight workouts.

Tip #1 – Use additional equipment

One of the simplest ways for you to increase the overall intensity of everything you do is by adding some type of additional equipment to the mix. 

It will not be comfortable but it’s going to work.

What is more important for you:

To get lean or stay the same?

Here are my favorite 3 I recommend you buy:

1. Gymnastic rings

We all know that using gymnastics rings is far harder than using a static pull-up bar for many different reasons. 

That’s why you are going to do yourself a big favor if you add this bad boy to the mix.

These are tough right?

That way you are going to burn more calories while targeting your upper body in a much better way.

If you want so check some great rings I highly recommend you to take a closer look at the ones I use. 

These are made from wood and I love them. You can also fit them in any backpack and carry them anywhere you want.

2. Resistance bands

Including resistance bands into your training is one of the smartest things you can do. 

With the help of a few bands, you can really increase the overall intensity of all your bodyweight movements and burn more calories.

Bands have the power to help you get leaner and stronger at the same time.

My resistance bands

And the cool thing is that they are not expensive at all. For only $30-$40 bucks you can buy a complete set that can help you with almost anything you can think of.

If you are looking for cheap and high-quality bands click here to check mine.

I’ve been using them for the past 2 years without any problems.

3. Parallettes

Owning a set of parallettes could prove itself to be quite useful. Especially if you want to increase the intensity of your workout, burn more calories and learn some new moves.

With the help of these bad boys, you can do all sorts of different types of push-ups, dips and static holds. 

If you are looking for some solid parallettes I highly recommend you to check out these ones

They are one of my favorite ones because they are extremely portable and a great option for outdoor workouts.

Tip #2 – Lower the rest time

This tip is actually pretty basic but very efficient

If you are currently resting for 1 minute between sets lower that time to only 30 seconds.

Do you feel the intensity?

I bet you will. By doing this little change you are making sure that your body is going to burn more calories.

Especially if you are doing quite a lot of things during your workouts.

And let’s not forget the fact that by shortening your rest periods you are also going to have quicker and more effective bodyweight workouts. 

And who doesn’t want that?

Tip #3 – Build more muscle mass

Wait, what? 

How building more muscle mass is going to help me get leaner?

It’s pretty basic actually.

Science has proven that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you are going to burn.

According to the American Council on Exercise 1 pound of fat burns only 2-3 calories while 1 pound of muscle mass burns 10 calories. 

As you can see your muscles burn about 3 times more calories than your fat.

So what are you waiting for?

Use these tips, get bigger and get leaner!

3. Do some type of additional cardio

Yes, I know that doing cardio sucks and almost nobody likes doing it but we still do it a reason.

Because it works!

Cardio is one of the best ways for you to burn fat and become a lean machine.

But does it have to suck?

Luckily for you, it doesn’t!

Instead of doing the old boring soul-sucking cardio you are sick and tired off try to think outside the box.

Can you think of any physical activity you genuinely like that is going to make you sweat a lot?

For example, I really like to ride my bike in the mountains and nature. 

My bike is the one or the right

And we all know that that cycling is one of the best types of cardio you can do.

That’s why I’ve decided to do it 2 times per week. 

With my simple decision of riding a bike I’m doing 2 things

  1. I do something I enjoy.
  2. I burn more calories and fat during the process.

Do you want to do the same?

Pick something you really enjoy doing and do it 2-3 times per week. 

  • If that’s swimming go and swim.
  • If you like dancing go and dance. 
  • If you like hiking go and hike.

There are countless great activities you can do in order to speed up your heart rate and make all that stubborn fat disappear.

Be creative.

Conclusion

Now you really know if calisthenics does make you bigger, stronger and leaner.

But most importantly you know what things you can do to speed up that process.

The only thing that is left is for you is to take action and use all the information I have shared. 

If you do everything correctly you are guaranteed to see positive results in a short amount of time.

But nothing is going to help you if you don’t move a finger.

That’s why you have to take action right now! 

Pick a tip from this post and apply it in your life. Do it today!

If you had found this article helpful and want to take your results on the next level I highly recommend you read my Bar Brothers The System review from here <<.

Inside my review, you are going to find out how exactly did this program really helped me improve my skills, what results I got and how it could do the same thing for you.

Either way thanks a lot for reading my article.

Want to learn more awesome things about calisthenics?

Here are a couple more highly related articles you are going to enjoy:

If you have any questions don’t forget to leave them in the comment section below!

Like always: May the bars be with you,

– Bozhidar

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