Oct 16, 2012

Bodyweight training vs. weight training

In modern times, most people choose weights to train their body. Bodyweight exercises are neglected by many or used only by begginers. People assosiate bodyweight exercises with endurance training and only basic strength training. Reasons for that may include: bad memories from P.E. classes back in school years, lack of knowledge about different bodyweight exercises (only knowing basic pushups, squats and pullups). Athletes also choose weight training because it is practiced more widely around the world. This article is aimed to put you in a new perspective and check some of the advantages of bodyweight training.

People mainy train for a number of goals: strength, power, mass and size, fat loss, endurance. When it comes to fat loss and endurance, people ussualy choose bodyweight training. If one wants to train power, he takes on martial arts classes and usssualy combines that with bodyweight training, but weight lifters also use explosiveness as well. The problem arises when it comes to strength and mass gain. Begginer athletes think that bodyweight training is too limited to make them achieve that goals. Let me explain a little why they are wrong. To train for strength, your muscles must take on heavier and heavier loads during workouts. It's easier to train for strength with weights, because all you have to do is add a couple of pounds to your barbell or dumbbell. It's a little bit more complicated with bodyweight training. If you are a begginer, strugling with a basic pushup or pullup, then you don't have to worry about this problem for now, because you are gaining more strength by doing that one pushup which is your one repetition max. Of course at some point, you will be doing plenty of pushups (lets say >12), and now there is a problem. To train using bodyweight exercises, you need to make the exercise harder or try another, harder exercise that trains the same muscles. With pushups, it's easy - try using one hand for example and perform one hand pushups. Now, you can keep training for strength using bodyweight exercises. Of course it's hard to switch from 12 pushups to one hand pushups, but this is just an example. When one hand pushups become too easy, try something even harder. There are many different bodyweight exercises. You can also combine bodyweight exercises with weight training and for example put some weights in your backpack and perform weighted pullups. Advanced athletes use suspension equipement to train (like gymnasts). When it comes to mass and size training, remember that there are also many other factors that are important like for example diet and sleep. Bodyweight training seems limited, because people don't know the correct training methods and correct exercises. Here are some other reasons, why bodyweight training might be better for you than weight training.

Why bodyweight training is better than weight lifting:

Bodyweight training effers many different exercises and variations, so it's never boring. Some of you might enjoy doing the same movement over and over again for years, but I personaly like to give my exercises a little twist from time to time, change something. There are literally hundreds of different bodyweight exercises, so you can be sure to never get bored with your training!

Reduced risk of injury
Of course, whenever you exercise, there is a possibility of injury, bodyweight exercises are safer than lifting weights.

When training, using only your bodyweight you don't need to worry about time, place, equipement and money. You can train almost anywhere, anytime. Sometimes you will only need floor (pushups, squats), but other times you might need a bar or branch (pullups, dips), but it's still way easier to find a branch than to find free weights. Of course some of the most advanced athletes use some equipement for example suspension equipement (like gymnastic rings), but you don't need to worry about it when you are a begginer or intermediate and there are many other substitutes for exercises so you might avoid using any equipement except a pullup bar. Theres no need to pay for expensive gyms, just to do your workout and if you are a little bit shy, bodyweight training is perfect for you as you can train in your house.

Almost every bodyweight exercise, is a compound exercise. Almost every movement involves more muscles, not just the main ones, so for example by training pullups and pushups, you are also training your abs isometricly. Weight lifters need to choose compound exercises to achieve the same goal and by that, they lower the variety of exercises they can perform.

Reasons why weight training is better than bodyweight training:

It's easier to achieve your goals when training with weights. You don't need to research and try new exercises, you just need to jump into it, learn a few movements and you're done.

Personally, I think that bodyweight training is better than weight training. I always aimed to build bigger body with bodyweight exercises and I actually achieved my goal. People actually ask me, if I am lifting weights or something and I say: Nope, I just do a couple of pushups and pullups, thats all. Bodyweight training is more fun than weight training, I would actually get borred pretty quickly if I had to do same movement over and over for a long time. It's usefull in day to day life, it's used by martial artists. If you are a weight lifter, consider adding one or two bodyweight exercises to your routine, you might find some use in them (for example pullups are way better than lat pulldowns). Whatever type of training you use, it's all good as long as you are not sitting and doing nothing.



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