The Calisthenics Illusion: Bodyweight Exercises Won’t Make You Super Big

Calisthenics training is enjoying an enormous amount of fame. Popular bar athletes like Lazar Novovic, Hannibal For King, Adam Raw and LittleBeastM are considered Gods among men and receive a steady veneration on sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram. Their followers aspire to develop similar bodies by having fun on the bars too.

Cool, but it’s not that easy.

The refusal to think logically has once again created a false perception. Many muscle hungry people believe that a man can become a shredded 190lbs monster by taking over the playgrounds and hanging off of monkey bars. Please, allow me to explain why this does not make any sense whatsoever.




The lighter you are, the easier it is to do advanced bodyweight exercises. I am not talking only about extra body fat. Additional muscle mass is also counter productive.

Imagine that you are 145lbs and relative lean at 10-12% body fat when you begin your bodyweight training. Do you think that working on your planche will make you massive? Of course, not. You may gain a few pounds around your shoulder area, but for the most part, you will remain the same.

The video below shows a boy that has spent over 20 months training the planche specifically. Why isn’t he as massive as the calisthenics gangsters? Why isn’t he 180-190lbs with striated triceps? Because he is natural and has a small frame. That’s why.

You can do your dips, push-ups, pull-ups and muscle-ups, but if you are not adding weight, the body has zero reasons to grow after a certain threshold. Of course, if you are terribly untrained, bodyweight exercises alone will do wonders for your upper body, but once you have built a decent base, it’s game over, and the only way to continue is to add weight. Obviously, a push-up with 100lbs added to you requires more muscle mass than the classic version.

However, even that will not make you a shredded 180-200lbs monster like some of the popular bar athletes who supposedly rely only on bodyweight exercises. Those numbers are out of reach when you are natural unless you are tall. Therefore, it’s completely illogical for “heavyweight” calisthenics to exist in the first place.


Many unaware trainees believe that bodyweight training comes with unique muscle building capabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bodyweight training does not promote faster muscle growth than weightlifting regardless of what the brainwashed members of gymnastic cults are telling you. There is neither evidence nor logic behind such beliefs. You cannot break the natural limits regardless of how advanced your bodyweight training is. You will certainly become very strong in the upper body but massive will never be a word describing your physique as long as you remain natural.



Could anyone explain why people like Hannibal For King and other “heavyweight” calisthenics athletes have gynecomastia? How do you get it at over 35 years of age?

There is zero logic for a naturally big and muscular person to have gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia represents growth of female breasts due to high levels of estrogen. Bodybuilders using drugs get it because anabolic steroids shut down your natural testosterone production and convert into estrogen. As a result, the estrogen levels take over and give you “bitch tits”.

If you are a true natural bodybuilder, you should have high testosterone levels by default. This would render gynecomastia extremely unlikely to occur, especially past your teenage years.

The truth is that many bar athletes are not natural and take anabolic steroids. However, the naive crowd wants to believe the impossible and thinks that just because somebody is not in a gym he is a “pure brah”. Wake up, people! It’s a business, not a game.


One of the main reasons why people get caught in the net and refuse to think rationally is that their emotional state is manipulated and attacked through dramatic video clips. There are hundreds of motivational videos exercising a significant impact on your perception of reality. Like an action movie, they make you believe that the impossible is possible and kill all logic.

The motivational speeches in the background contain a powerful psychological effect which alters your state of mind. Once you are captivated, you are more likely to accept a subliminal message.

Do you really think that those guys are working that hard? Seriously. How difficult is it to go to the park and do pull-ups, dips, and muscle-ups? How hard is it to train with bodyweight exercises a few hours a week? It’s not like you are working 18-hour shifts in a medical facility or a factory. You are just doing muscle-ups.

In conclusion

You can develop a pretty decent upper body with bodyweight training, but the limitations of natural bodybuilding will remain in front of you. You ain’t breaking the natural limits just because a mainstream drama clip containing naked shots of muscle elixir drinkers says so.

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  1. Jaden

    FUCK OFF WITH THESE BULLSHIT ARTICLES. It’s always stupid bro science pricks like you that try to downgrade these exercises. Been doing calisthenics for years and look way better than a lot of dudes that lift. And for the record I’m 6″1 and weigh 209.

  2. Sam

    Bro ure just so stupid to think that calisthenics doesn’t shape the body. I did the experiment my self. First of all I was 75 kg and the became too fat like 110kg then start calisthenics till getting 82kg and for time in my life I go the six pack. So don’t come here to say that doesn’t work.

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