How to Transition From Weight Training To Calisthenics Fast? (Step-By-Step Guide)

I was tired of going to the near gym.

I’ve had enough with all the douchebags, constantly increasing monthly prices and the smell of body odor compacted in the small artificially lighted room I was so familiar with.

I really wanted to try something new especially now because it was summer.

The weather was perfect. It was sunny, warm and wonderful outside.

I was looking for something fresh, fun and interesting.

I wanted to try outdoor calisthenics.

But my main problem was how to do it in a way that is safe so I won’t lose all my hard-earned muscle mass, strength, and size?

After all, I was using nice amounts of weight in order to train my body and the sudden drop to only using my body weight as resistance was going to be a big downfall…

One of the basic rules of building muscle is to try to become stronger by following the rules of progressive overload but what I was hoping to do was the complete opposite…

  • Was that meaning I would lose everything?
  • Do I have to start over?
  • What I’m going to do?

So many questions, so many concerns, so much fear. 

I really wanted to try calisthenics but didn’t know where to start.

But I knew that I would give it a try no matter what!

I had to do something and I had to do it FAST…

Hi there, my name is Bozhidar and in this article, I will share with my complete process of how to transition from weight training (gym) to calisthenics without losing any muscle, size or strength.

Yes, that’s really possible if you follow all the steps I will share with you so keep reading.

Here’s exactly what are you going to learn if you stick to the end of this blog post:

  • How to Transition From Weight Training To Calisthenics Fast and Efficiently? (Step-By-Step Guide)
  • Top 3 Things You Should Avoid Doing When You Transition From Weight Training To Calisthenics
  • Do These 5 Steps If You Want Fast and Smooth Transition from Weights to Calisthenics
  • and much more.

Sounds interesting?

Grab a cup of tea, a pack of protein biscuits and get ready because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Here we go…

How to Transition From Weight Training To Calisthenics Fast and Efficiently? (Step-By-Step Guide)

Luckily for me, I managed to successfully transition from weight training to calisthenics without losing any weight, size, and strength.

But how I did it?

The most efficient way to do this transition is by having a solid calisthenics workout program, nice everyday equipment and a lot of patience. In order to achieve the best results during that period, you have to slowly include calisthenics into your training regime. 

For starters start by replacing 1 day of weight training with calisthenics, next week try with 2 days, etc.

But this is only the basics… 

Only the basics….

If you want to learn all those things in a way more in-depth and practical way keep reading because I’ve prepared very good information for you.

As you can see your success is determined by a lot of different factors that you have complete control over and it doesn’t happen overnight.

But to make things simpler please answer this question:

What is the smartest ways to deal with problems?

Take a second to think. 

Ready?

Let’s see if you have got it right.

From what I know the best solution to dealing with problems is to avoid them in the first place.

And the best way to avoid problems is to learn from other people’s mistakes.

Or more specifically my common mistakes…

Let’s see what were my top 3 biggest mistakes I made that many people also do and how to avoid them.

Top 3 Things You Should Avoid Doing When You Transition From Weight Training To Calisthenics

Even if these mistakes are not something you have never heard of that doesn’t mean people are not doing them. 

Remember that sometimes the simplest things can give the biggest problems.

Here’s exactly what I’m talking about.

Mistake 1 – Making An Instant Transition

One of the worst mistakes you can do is to suddenly quit the gym and start doing calisthenics literally on the next day. 

Yes, you could feel amazing in the beginning but once you start to see how all your progress slowly starts to disappear in front of your own two eyes all that happiness will quickly turn to anger and frustration.

Here’s a good way to imagine it. 

When you step for the first time in the gym did you went straight for the 220 lbs dumbbells or did you picked the 10 lbs ones?

The exact same thing applies to the transition period between calisthenics and weight training. 

You want to make it slow and smooth so your body can adapt and keep all the gains you have so hard worked for. 

So be smart about it.

Don’t worry, later down this article I will give you an in-depth example of a good transition plan you can follow.

Mistake 2 – Using Only Your Bodyweight

Even if calisthenics is all about using your body weight as resistance that doesn’t mean it’s the smartest thing you can do when you come from a place where you use weights a lot.

It’s like driving a brand new Tesla and replacing it with a 25-year old pickup truck that barely moves. (I don’t have anything against pickup trucks. It’s used only for the example)

Use your common sense

How will your muscles feel if you have been doing regular bench-press with 220 lbs, 250 lbs squats and 100 lbs military press and you suddenly start doing similar things only with your body weight?

  • Can you do it? Sure.
  • Will you get better results? I highly doubt it.
  • Are you going to get stronger? I don’t think so.

But don’t get sad because that’s where weighted calisthenics (or bodyweight training with additional resistance) comes in place.

If you are smart about your situation the best thing you can do is to buy additional equipment for your workouts.

Trust me this is one of the best things you can do but I had to learn it way too late.

But it’s not too late for you.

Keep reading because very soon I will reveal what is the best calisthenics equipment I use and what makes it such.

Mistake 3 – Not Following a Good Program

Doing calisthenics without a good workout program is like trying to create a beautiful cake without a recipe. 

You could still do it but it’s probably going to be a total mess.

Especially when you are trying to transition from gym to calisthenics.

That’s why I strongly recommend you to find and follow some type of solid workout program designed to make you bigger and stronger.

If you have some money available and are looking for a nice program I would recommend you to take a look at the program I personally use called Bar Brothers The System.

This is a solid workout program that is going to kick your ass but that’s exactly why I like it.

And you can also easily combine it with additional equipment to make all the movements even harder which makes it the perfect option for this scenario. 

If you want to check it out and learn more about it click this link to go to my in-depth review I’ve written about it<<.

My review sneak peek

If you are too cheap and don’t want to spend any money on workout programs you could still probably find something on the web but I want to warn you that it’s most likely going to suck.

I’ve tried many free programs and nothing comes close to the complexity and structure of the Bar Brothers The System program.

That’s why I suggest you take the time and check it out.

With all those 3 problems being answered it’s time to go after the actual steps you can follow straight away if you want to have a fast and smooth transition.

Let’s check them out…

Do These 5 Steps If You Want Fast and Smooth Transition from Weights to Calisthenics

Before we continue I want to tell you that It’s recommended not to skip any of the steps because they are connected with one another.

Even if you are not obligated to do anything I still highly recommend to follow all of them if you want to have the best results in the shortest amounts of time.

With that being said let’s begin with step number 1…

Step 1 – Find A Good Calisthenics Workout Routine

One of the easiest and fastest ways you can start doing calisthenics is to find a good program.

That’s exactly why I’ve decided to place this step in the beginning.

Even if you have the best equipment, eat enough food and sleep well you are going to fail miserably if you don’t have a good workout plan.

But not just any workout plan.

Your workout plan should be designed to help you constantly improve your strength and skills. 

That way you are going to make sure all your muscle mass and progress are going to keep moving in the right direction.

But what are your options when it comes to workout routines?

Because calisthenics is far more complex than bodybuilding and weight lifting it won’t be enough to simply do some pull-ups, dips, and push-ups and call it a day. 

Not if you want to get on the next level.

That’s the main reason why I had been stuck for about half a year with no results. Eventually, I learned what my biggest mistake was and invested in a well-structured 2-month course.

If you don’t want to make this stupid mistake like me and waste months and months of hard work I highly recommend you to buy the same program that had helped me which I already mentioned called Bar Brothers The System.

Click here if you want to read my entire review where I show my results and explain who is the perfect candidate for this program and why.

No really, go check it out…

After you have found a good program that you like you are ready for the next step…

Step 2 – Buy Additional Resistance

Even if you have the best workout program on the planet it won’t give you solid results because you are probably not a complete beginner.

If you are reading this article you probably have some type of weightlifting experience. 

Meaning you are currently somewhat strong and jacked.

I bet you probably look like this:

When you’ve got some experience..

Even if you don’t look like that you still would want to keep all your gains right?

If you do you would have to buy additional equipment.

You need it in order to increase the overall difficulty and intensity of all the bodyweight exercises and movements you are going to do.

How much does additional equipment cost?

Well, I don’t know their exact price but you should pay somewhere around $100-150 for everything.

A hundred bucks is nothing compared to the price of the monthly gym membership most people pay for a year. 

Sorry, but I can’t afford to spend $100-$150 bucks right now. What to do?

Even if you don’t have that much money right now you could still buy only one thing which is going to be roughly 1/3 of the whole price.

Next, save some money and buy the second piece one you have enough. Then repeat the same thing for the 3rd and final thing,

If you don’t have any problems with spending that amount of money I would recommend you buy all the equipment in bulk because you will use everything in a short period of time.

But what to buy? What is the best equipment I need?

Great question, here are my favorite 3 things I personally use.

1 – Gymnastic Rings

This was one of the first things I bought after a lot of research on Youtube. 

And to this day I’m confident to say that this was one of the best spent $35 in my life.

Even if gymnastic rings are very different then dumbbells or a barbell they are still going to kick your ass so hard that you won’t have any choice but to build more strength, muscle mass, and balance.

The beauty of the rings is that you can hang them anywhere you like – in your home, in the garage, on the town square or on a tree branch.

Your options and exercises are limitless.

If you want to check the exact rings I’m currently using please click here. It will lead you to Amazon where you can have a better look.

But if you decide to buy them I can tell you from now that you won’t regret it. Not a bit.

2 – Resistance Bands

Owning a set of resistance bands is like owning a set of adjustable dumbbells and a barbell but without having to move the huge weights around or have limited floor space.

If you think about it your muscles don’t have eyes and can’t really tell the difference if you are using a resistance band or a dumbbell.

That’s exactly why you can build a ton of strength and muscle only with the help of resistance bands and your old friends – progressive overload and good nutrition

My resistance bands

That way you are going to make all your exercises harder and leave no other option for your muscles than to grow bigger and stronger.

If you want to get the best resistance bands for the buck I would suggest you check mine using this link

I’m currently having a whole set of these and they are working awesome. 

3 – Weighted Vest

After you own gymnastic rings and resistance bands, the next thing you should invest should be a solid weighted vest that can hold at least 40 pounds. 

This is an absolute must-have if you already have a lot of strength in your upper body and want to keep it growing.

Wearing a weighted vest while doing many basic exercises is going to make sure you are not going to lose all your gains. 

If you are looking for a solid vest that won’t rip apart you should definitely give mine a try. It’s fairly compact, adjustable and easy to use. 

And most importantly – it’s quite affordable. 

Click here if you want to check it out on Amazon. 

Is that everything?

Yes, that’s everything you need to start with. 

In time you could buy more things like parallettes, dip bars, a pull-up bar, and even a power tower but these 3 things are what I firstly bought when I transitioned from weight training to calisthenics.

With that being said let’s see what is the next step is all about…

Step 3 – Start With Weighted Calisthenics

After you have bought or already own some great equipment it’s time for you to use it.

But why?

Why should I start with weighted calisthenics instead of only using my weight?

Because you are not a complete beginner (or at least I don’t think so). If you have clicked this article it is for a reason more than just curiosity.

You have experience. And that’s exactly why I think that you should start with weighted calisthenics instead. 

Hell yeah, let’s go!

If on the other hand, you are a complete beginner and curiosity has led you to my post then your best bet is to start from scratch and do everything only with the help of your body weight. 

After you know why it’s recommended to start with additional resistance let’s see how to do it efficiently…

Step 4 – Do It Slowly and Combine Both Types Of Training

As I have said earlier in this article one of the worst things you can do is to ditch completely the weights and go head first into calisthenics.

Even if this is possible it is not the most practical and efficient way to do it.

That’s why I recommend you to be smart about it and do it slowly.

How? What do you mean by “do it slowly”?

It’s simple. 

Your goal should be to slowly include your calisthenics program into your regular workout plan while replacing some weighted sessions with bodyweight workouts.

That way you are going to give yourself enough time for your nervous system and body to adapt to the new style of exercising.

Here’s my exact 3-week training schedule I used when I first made the transition.

Feel free to use or change it as pleased:

Before Calisthenics:

  • Weight Training: 5 days
  • Calisthenics: 0 days
  • Rest Days: 2 days

1st Week of Transition

  • Weight Lifting: 4 days
  • Calisthenics: 1 day
  • Rest Days: 2 days

2nd Week of Transition

  • Weight Lifting: 3 days
  • Calisthenics: 2 day
  • Rest Days: 2 days

3rd Week of Transition

  • Weight Lifting: 2 days
  • Calisthenics: 3 day
  • Rest Days: 2 days

As you can see I’ve still left 2 days of weight training and have removed it completely out of the picture.

But why?

Because weightlifting is still one amazing and very efficient way to target your whole body and I don’t recommend you to remove it entirely. 

If you can, give yourself at least a day of weight training per week.

From my own experience, I can tell that there’s nothing more effective to build massive and strong legs than weighted squats

Yes, you can still build a lot of muscle using a lot of different activities but people who squat with weights have the best legs.

Just look at these trunks:

Even if he is full of roids he still has massive legs

But weight lifting doesn’t end there. 

With the help of weights, you can also do all the basic compound lifts and get even stronger in certain areas where calisthenics couldn’t be that efficient.

But the problem stays. You still have to go to a public gym and pay monthly taxes in order to lift weights …

Or do you?

Step 5 – Invest In A Small Basic Home Gym

Tell me what’s smarter: 

To invest $500 today and have lifetime access to a private gym where you have complete control over everything or pay $30 per month or $360 per year for the rest of your life?

If you prefer to go for the $500 investment keep reading because I will show you exactly what you need to do in order to create a mini and basic but practical home gym.

Before I continue any further I want to say that this step is completely optional and you can still have amazing results without the need of investing in a small home gym but if you have the space, money, and desire go for it.

Why you should invest in a small home gym?

Because owning such a place is vital if you want to have the complete freedom to work out your whole body without having to worry about anything or anyone.

Once it’s built it doesn’t cost you a penny and you don’t have to walk or drive long distances to reach it. 

It’s far more convenient than going to a traditional gym and can bring you similar results if you have the right equipment and know how to use it.

But what is the right equipment? What do I need to buy if I want to create a home gym suited for calisthenics?

Very good question. 

Well, there are a lot of things you can buy ranging from $50 to $500 but there are a couple of things I see really essential when it comes to pure basics.

And the best thing is that you can combine this equipment with calisthenics and kill two birds with one stone.

After all, these things are all pieces of equipment I own and find extremely important.

Let’s check them out.

1. Adjustable Set Of Dumbbells

Having adjustable dumbbells is probably one of the most important pieces of equipment every person who is serious about home training should own.

As a matter of fact, this was my first addition when I first started back when I was a teen.

Even with that huge time gap I still use mine to this day. 

Some of my dumbbells

With a nice pair of dumbbells you can isolate every muscle from your body and easily focus on your lacking areas.

If your weights are heavy enough you could even use them for basic compound lifts by replacing the need of a barbell.

These are some of the reasons why I highly recommend you to invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells if you have the budget.

Don’t worry you can buy a very decent set for only $40 – $100 depending on the total weight you need.

If you are looking for some solid dumbbells I recommend you to check these. They are currently the most popular ones you can find on the web.

2. Wall-mounted pull-up bar

If you have enough space on your wall or ceiling and you love calisthenics you should definitely invest in a nice pull-up bar.

This is probably the next best piece of equipment you could get because you can use it as an anchor point for your resistance bands, gymnastic rings, and even punching bag.

Another thing I want to mention is the fact that a mounted pull-up bar doesn’t take any floor space compared to a lot of other home gym machines you could buy.

My pull-up bar

Here’s my pull-up bar which I got for under $60 which is still standing in one place.

If you want to learn more details about it you can click here. From what I can tell you it’s a great product that is worth getting.

3. Power Tower

Even if buying a power tower isn’t the first thing you think of it’s still a great investment because it’s somewhat portable and doesn’t require drilling any holes into your walls or ceiling.

Another plus of buying this piece of equipment is the fact that it’s very stable and has everything you need in one place:

A pull-up bar, dip station, hanging abs station and some models even have a weight rack like this one.

When it comes to pricing there are many different models starting from $100 and going up to $1000. 

Luckily for you, you don’t need to spend so much money because it’s not really required.

If you want to buy the cheapest but strongest and most functional power tower you are going to love this one here. It has a really clever design and a nice price.

Conclusion

A lot of information right?

I really hope you read everything because if you did now you should know what to do in order to transition from weight training to calisthenics without losing any weight, size or muscle mass.

If you haven’t well it’s never too late.

Even if some of the steps require some initial investment I still believe they are worth doing because paying today is going to save you a lot more money, time and failure in the future.

That’s why I highly recommend you to invest in a nice program and equipment.

Here is everything I personally use. Click on the name to learn more details:

And that’s really it.

Now you have all the steps, all the know-how and everything you need in order to make that transition smoothly and safely.

Everything is in your hands.

Use all this information wisely and you will have no problems of doing fine with calisthenics.

If you have some time and want to read more useful stuff here are a couple of my articles you might find interesting:

With that being said it’s finally time for me to end this post.

I really hope it was useful and it helped you learn some awesome stuff you are going to use.

I would really appreciate if you leave some support in the comment section below.

And as I like to say…

May the bars be with you,

– Bozhidar

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