Weight training and body weight training (i.e., calisthenics) have gained a lot of traction and interest, because of their innate ability to improve health, physique and help with recovering from injuries as part of physical therapy. They also help to improve athletic performance, strength and explosiveness.
There are people who believe your bodyweight is all you need and there are people who religiously engage in weight training, preaching bench, squats and deadlifts even to their grandma.
But is one of these approaches better and what benefits can you reap from these types of training?
In this article, we’ll answer this, and more, so if you’ve ever wondered which type of training is for you, keep reading!
Bodyweight Training, otherwise known as “calisthenics,” is the activity of using your body weight to perform certain exercises under the force of gravity, without any equipment or added weight. One of the integral benefits of this training is that you develop core strength (i.e., abdominals, back and glute muscles) which helps to keep your spine and body healthy and strong. Core strength is also integral for lifting weights as it stabilizes your body.
Some of the most common bodyweight exercises are movements like push-ups, squats, pull-ups, lunges, pull-ups and dips.
On the other hand, weightlifting involves the use of barbells, dumbbells and machines to create resistance. Weights can be excellent to target specific muscle groups or increase the intensity of fast-paced workouts.
The squat, deadlift and bench are the three fundamental exercises in weightlifting, which are even a benchmark for strength!
Now if you’re wondering which type of training is superior, let us tell you this - both types of training are excellent ways to leverage strength and muscle gains!
However, which one is better for you depends on the context and the goal the individual has, so let us take you through the advantages and disadvantages of both types of training. Usually, a combination of both training types can be most beneficial.
The Benefits Of Calisthenics
Bodyweight training is most of all, a good way to establish fundamental strength and muscular development. Because, well, being able to lift your own bodyweight, before moving on to lifting weights, kind of makes sense doesn’t it? It furthermore develops core strength which is an integral part of everyday functioning and weight lifting.
This fundamental relative strength can then give you the opportunity to ease into weight training and maximize your potential for physical development.
Another benefit is that you do not need much equipment for this training and you can easily fit a quick workout in where ever you are.
If you are very consistent, it may be too easy, too quickly. In less than one year, pull-ups, push-ups and dips may have become quite easy. At this point, first: Congratulations, you have reached a considerable fitness level! Second, this may be the time to add more weights on top, to keep progressing.
Another option is to learn more complex movements like handstands, planche, front levers and others, but if your PRIMARY goal is to gain strength and grow your muscles, you may choose to move on to weight lifting.
The Benefits Of Weight Training
An excellent addition to calisthenics and as a progression, weight training can help you build strength and grow larger muscles. In the context of maximizing growth and strength potential, weight training is very effective. The principle of both types of training is the same - Creating resistance. However, with weight training, the resistance and muscular tension is generated by an external force, making everything far more intense.
Additionally, weight training can help you seamlessly target and isolate muscle groups that are hard to target with just calisthenics. This implies that weight training should be included if your goal is aesthetic development and improving athletic performance. Weight training at its very essence, allows you to do more intense work, during which you can easily increase the resistance by adding extra weight on the bar or picking heavier dumbbells.
However, it is important to make sure that you do not overload your body and build up core strength, and increase weigh slowly and over time. Make sure that you have the correct form so that you can protect your tendons, ligaments and muscles while you train.
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Which One Should YOU Choose?
Here’s a wild idea - You can combine both types of training but focus more on the one that resonates with your goals best. You like explosive bodyweight movements that look cool? Go for the monkey bars and bodyweight training. You are looking to maximize your strength and muscular development? Opt for a gym membership. You are looking to get healthier, build lean muscle mass and improve your heart health and fitness? Combine both.
As simple as that!
The human body is capable of a LOT and it has plenty of potential lying within. It’s just a matter of YOU, taking the necessary action to unlock that potential and realize it. Whether you choose to engage in bodyweight training or just go to a gym, you won’t be in the wrong!
Both of these types of training offer amazing benefits and can help you develop a good-looking, strong body. Start somewhere, see what you like better, what gets you closer to your goals and focus on that!