Comparing Crossfit To Calisthenics Street Workout

Posted On January 29, 2020

Crossfit and Calisthenics are diametrically opposed not only in technique but in the entire philosophy behind their teachings. Where crossfit sets out to do everything as quickly and as explosively as possible, calisthenics, having numerous elements of power, is much more focused on control and the ability to slow down, or in some cases, stop altogether the body’s natural tendency to submit to gravity.

In general, technique is greatly lacking in the crossfit community. Where the goal is to complete as many repetitions as possible in a given amount of time, there is, quite frankly, no time for technique. This is especially catastrophic when this philosophy is applied to heavy weights and to the relatively high-risk flagships borrowed from gymnastics.

When the body is already under a great deal of stress, speeding things up at the expense of technique is certain to lead to injury.

Both calisthenics and crossfit have flaws, but it’s the aim that matters


While it is true that the calisthenics and street workout community is not immune to such criticism, the goal of these disicplines is the eventual perfection movement. Whereas in crossfit, this is often pushed to a secondary seat in pursuit of ego, and encouraged by the rules of competition.

While calisthenics builds on movements it borrows, and through its entrepreneurial spirit, encouraged by the community and the competition, breathes new life into age forgotten skills; crossfit takes everything good in gymnastics and entirely purges it of value.

From ‘muscle ups’ to ‘handstands’, in crossfit the roots are forgotten and often disregarded, to create a sort of caricature of great arts in the appropriation of disicplines by will of its voracious appetite to consume, digest and shit out the principles governing correct form and injury prevention.

Calisthenics has a different attitude towards movement


Crossfit trivialises the difficulty of movement, by altering the movement rather than the athlete. By encouraging athletes that are clearly unconditioned to perform certain movements – despite the lack of fundamental strength body awareness and progression – crossfit makes it seem like anyone can do anything.

And sure enough, with enough swing, kick and hip thrusting the muscle up is doable for everyone- for only problem is that it’s no longer a muscle up.
Calisthenics finds itself in a position where few practitioners achieve even relatively basic movements.

In many senses this a good thing, and encourages progression and the building of the required strength. This also gives athletes an incredible sense of achievement when they complete a move- and they know they aren’t lying to themselves.

Have you tried calisthenics training?


Calisthenics is a fantastic way to change up your routine. The great thing about it is that it’s not about reps or sets or doing the same thing over and over again. Calisthenics is all about pushing the body to its limits by hitting various static and freestyle skills – while simultaneously burning calories and getting super strong! Get in touch with our Melbourne-based calisthenics personal trainers for more details!

Written by Vic

Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Super passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.
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