Free Weights vs Bodyweight Exercise

Free Weights vs Bodyweight Exercise


The great debate! Bodyweight exercises or free weights? Which one is better? Now, there are avid people in both camps that
adamantly believe that their method is very clearly the better option of the two. Some go as far as saying that doing the other
is absolutely pointless. Now we know, of course, that that’s just
not true. There are many examples of individuals in
both camps that have gotten great results in aspects of fitness, such as improving strength
and muscle growth. The thing is, anyone that tells you to avoid
doing one or the other for whatever reason does not the full benefits of the alternative. Truthfully, yes, one can be better in some
ways than the other. Bodyweight exercises, aka calisthenics, are
better suited to improve functional movements that are used in daily life. After all, the whole basis of calisthenics
is to move your body through space without any restrictions. Free weights, on the other hand, are mainly
static loads, where you stay in a single place and manipulate the weight from point A to
point B. For example, if you want to improve your capabilities
of moving more fluidly through a rocky environment such as on a hike, stair runs and box jumps
will be better suited than improving your squat. However, free weights have an advantage when
it comes to simplifying progression. If you wanted to build strength, you simply
have to lift heavier weights. This goes the same for building muscle, by
increasing volume through increasing reps, sets, or load. If you watched my video about calisthenics,
I stated, with much backlash, that bodyweight exercises are simply not as easy to improve
strength and muscle growth, and this remains true. Calisthenics progression is much more technically
complex than your standard “add on more weights” progression. Take the push-up, for example, where the most
common progressions are raising your feet off the floor, dips, or single-arm push-ups. For free weights, you can similarly progress
in a dumbbell bench press simply by lifting heavier dumbbells. For your average Joe that simply wants to
get a stronger chest, free weights clearly require less learning effort. tThere are also other advantages in both camps. Bodyweight exercises, for the most part, is
absolutely free. Free weight exercises requires you to either
purchase weight equipment or a gym membership. For calisthenics, you can always go to a local
park that have calisthenics bars to exercise. At the very most, you can purchase things
like a pull-up bar or a suspension training system if you want to work out from home. A winning advantage of free weights is being
able to target specific muscle groups. Because calisthenics consist of many natural
and functional movements, which is usually a good thing, it requires that multiple muscle
groups are targeted at the same time. However, there are cases where you do want
to isolate a specific muscle in a workout, and a great way in doing so is by using weights. Whether it’s because you want a particular
muscle to be stronger or larger or because you’re recovering from an injury, isolation
movements are best achieved with weights. Speaking of injuries, many calisthenics enthusiasts
will tell you to avoid free weight exercises because it’s easier to get hurt. Now, on paper, it might make sense, since
free weights require you to lift heavy loads and put a lot of stress on your muscle, tendons,
joints, and ligaments. But, fact of the matter is, with a proper
training program and learning proper form, there will hardly ever be a time where you’ll
place yourself in danger of getting hurt. The only times would be if you’re trying
to lift a weight that is clearly out of your capabilities or that you’re performing an
exercise with improper form. And that goes the same with bodyweight fitness. Try to do a movement that you’re not physically
capable of doing or do a movement the wrong way, you can just as much hurt yourself as
well. So with all this being said, which one is
actually better? Well, as boring as this may sound, it all
boils down to it depends. If your goal is to pack on muscle fast without
much learning effort, free weights are for you. If you want to improve your capabilities in
moving your body through space rather than pushing big things around, then calisthenics
are the way to go. It also depends on what you enjoy doing more. Some people simply like moving big heavy weights
around and some enjoy working out in the fresh air, free of weights limiting their body movement. And the thing is, even though each have advantages,
it doesn’t mean the other can’t be good at it, too. Even though free weight exercises seem to
be the better option for building strength and muscle, there is no doubt that calisthenics
can be pretty much limitless in these aspects as well, as long as you’re willing to dedicate
some work to it. And that’s the catch for most. Most people just want to be healthier or look
slightly better than they do now. Yes, doing something like push-ups and pull-ups
can be beneficial to the average person, but things such as flagpoles or front levers mean
very little to them. But if that’s what you want to be able to
do, then by all means do it. And that goes for free weight training as
well. Many of your standard calisthenics movements
can be done with weight added to it, which technically transforms them to a free weight
exercise. But of course, we’re talking about the typical
exercises done in a gym. Leg presses and back rows are great for pretty
much anyone, but the majority of people don’t care to deadlift 500 pounds off the floor. But again, if you’re into something like
powerlifting, then it’s completely reasonable to start stacking plates on the bar. Ultimately, the best thing that you can do
is for yourself is… do both! As we can see, they both have great advantages
that anyone can benefit from. So why limit yourself to just one? Do both and reap the benefits of both. Or… do one… it’s up to you. What are other benefits that separate calisthenics
and free weights? Share in the comments below! Please like and share the video if you enjoyed
it, and subscribe for more videos. Thanks for watching!