Resistance Training Vs. Calisthenics for Women Wanting to Lose Weight

Resistance training and calisthenics can help you burn fat and lose weight.
i Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

If you’ve been weighing your options about ways to lose weight, resistance training and calisthenics should both be at the top of your "to do" list. Women who include resistance training in their workouts using equipment such as dumbbells or machines, and perform calisthenics – exercises using your own body weight -- can build lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass, explains University of Dayton strength and conditioning specialist Gerry Gallo. Developing muscle mass also helps boost your metabolism so you can keep burning calories, even after your last exercise set.

Burning Body Fat

    Women who work out using forms of resistance just two or three times a week can lose as much as 4.5 pounds of fat and gain more than 2.5 pounds of muscle within just two months, according to Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., strength-training consultant for the American Council on Exercise. Even after you’ve thrown in the towel, you can continue burning calories. According to a study published in “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” women who engaged in weight training continued to burn an average of 100 more calories 24 hours after working out.

Benefits of Resistance Training

    Beyond helping you slim down, resistance training can firm up loose or sagging skin, explains Shannon Clark on She says that working out using various forms of resistance such as dumbbells, machines and exercise bands can completely reshape your body by toning muscles as you lose weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends working out with fitness equipment or your own body weight at least two days a week to target all major muscle groups including your arms, legs, back, chest, shoulders and abs.

Benefits of Calisthenics

    You won’t have to wait to use weight machines at the gym if you perform calisthenics that use your own body weight for resistance, such as pushups, planks, stepups, lunges, squats, glute bridges and ab crunches. Calisthenics that involve bending, jumping, swinging, twisting and kicking movements can develop functional core strength while providing cardiovascular fat-burning benefits.

Lift More to Weigh Less

    Lifting more weight can help you lose more weight. A study published in “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise” shows women who lifted heavier weights and performed fewer repetitions burned almost two times as many calories during the two hours following their workouts as women who used lighter weights. If you’re worried that working out with weights can make you look a bodybuilder, fear not -- women typically don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to develop big, bulky muscles.


    Routinely varying your workout routines by using different forms of resistance can prevent muscle adaptation and progress plateaus so you can reach your weight-loss goals faster. Following a healthy diet plan can also help fuel workouts and support weight-loss goals. Before exercising, consider health concerns and injuries. Consult a health care provider to determine types of workouts compatible with your fitness level.

the nest