Bodyweight Exercise Vs Free Weight ? On Every Aspects

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 just not true.

There are many examples of individual in both camps that gotten great results. In aspects of times, such as improving strength and muscle growth. 

The thing is anyone that tells you to avoid doing one or the other 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

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.

What are free weights ?

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 fluidity through a rack environment. Such as on  a hike, stair runs and box jumps will letter suited than improving your squat.

Free weights advantages !

However free weights have an advantage when it comes 
  • It simplify progression.
  • If you want to build strength, you simply lift heavier weights.
  • And if you want to build muscles you can by increasing volume through reps, sets and load.
  • Less learning effect.
The 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 weights" progression. Take the Push-up for example, where the most common progression are raising your feet off the floor, dips or single arm push ups.

For free weights you can similarly progress in dumbbell bench press simply by lifting heavier dumbbells. For your average joy that simply wants to get a stronger chest, free weights clearly requires less learning effect.

Free Or Expense

There 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 local parks that have calisthenics bars to exercise. At the very most you can purchase things like a pull up bars or a suspension training system if you want to workout from home.

Targeting Muscles 

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 muscles group 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 form an injury isolation movements are best achieved with weights.

Injuries in weight and bodyweight exercises

Speaking of injuries, many calisthenics enthusiasts will tell you to avoid free weight exercises. Because it's easier to get hurt. 

Let's take an example of paper, it might make sense since free weight require you to lift heavy loads and put a lot of stress on your muscle, tendons, joints and ligaments. But the 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 weight 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.

And in the end of debate it also depends on what you enjoy doing more.

If you have any suggestion and question leave a comment.

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