Is Bulking with calisthenics possible?

Many people think that weights are necessary while bulking up, but that’s not true. To bulk up the most important thing is calories surplus, doesn’t matter if you’re lifting weights or doing calisthenics.

What is bulking?

Bulking is a phase where people eat more than they need to (calories surplus) in order to gain more weight (muscles and fat, depending on your calories surplus). If your body requires 2500 calories daily, you’ll bulk up when you provide more than that.

Different bulking methods

There are 3 styles of bulking, and in each, you’ll get a different result.

dirty bulk

eating as much as possible of whatever there is to get as many excessive calories as possible. This way added weight will be mostly fat.

clean bulk

Type of bulking that tries to prioritize “eating clean” while being in a calorie surplus. This means that individuals should aim to consume whole foods that are nutrient-dense and do not have many added calories from sugars or fats.

lean bulk

Eating whatever but with small calories surplus to slowly gain only muscles without fat.

dity bulk vs clean bulk vs lean bulk

If you want to know more about the differences between these bulking methods check this article.

For calisthenics athletes, the most optimal would be the lean bulk. In calisthenics, every additional weight will make it harder. That’s why calisthenics athletes are so lean. We want to gain muscles without fat, so we won’t regress in body weight movement and we won’t need to cut down after that bulk.

who is bulking for?

bulking is for people who want to gain more weight. Overweight people shouldn’t bulk up. Underweight people should totally bulk up, for them even dirty bulk is ok.
If you’re in healthy body weight, recomp for calisthenics athletes works pretty well, you don’t have to bulk.

Bulking with calisthenics

If you’re a calisthenics athlete focusing on street lifting it’s good to bulk, you’ll gain muscles, and therefore you’ll lift more. However, if your ultimate goals are skills or dynamics it’s better to be as lean as possible. If you want more muscles just lean bulk so that you won’t regress in skills and won’t have to cut after.

Why you can’t bulk

Many people struggle to gain more weight, mainly it’s because of their small appetite (they can’t provide enough calories) or fast metabolism (they provide calories but burn them fast). The solution to that is finding ways to get more calories in.

How to get more calories

increase your meal frequency

there is a limit to how many calories can you consume at once, giving yourself more opportunities to consume more calories generally makes it easier to get more total calories in during the day. The recommended minimum is 3 meals a day

consume energy-dense food

the more calories food has the less you need to eat, so it’s easier to provide more calories with energy-dense food. For example peanut butter, nuts, and yogurt. It’s even easier to drink things like this, you can do high-calorie shakes.

Training while bulking

While bulking training is only 30%, the rest is diet. You don’t have to do anything special, but since you’re in calories surplus you can push your volume higher than you would otherwise. I recommend at least 10 hard sets for movement patterns per week


Bulking with calisthenics is possible but it is not for every calisthenics athlete. Calisthenics is all about being strong with your body weight. If you overdo bulking you won’t be able to do many calisthenics moves because the higher weight you are the harder it’s going to be with body weight movement. That’s why bulking up with calisthenics might be tough, so if you’re trying to build muscles do it slowly, through lean bulk.

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