Bodyweights or Weights: Everything You Need to Know
One isn’t better than the other
We aren’t saying that one is better than the other; in fact both types of exercise are awesome for toning and strengthening our muscles. It’s simply about knowing what’s best for your personal circumstances in order to achieve your end goal.
Bodyweight exercises involve one thing and one thing only; you guessed it, your body! It’s push-ups, squats, planks, sit-ups, lunges, leg raises, burpees…the list is never-ending. Think of it as any workout that uses your body as resistance.
Weights are essentially anything that’s external to your body and involved equipment. These can include things such as dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls.
Let’s tackle some of the burning questions to figure out what’s best for you.
What’s are the benefits of bodyweight exercises?
One of the biggest pros of bodyweight training is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. Unlike weight training, bodyweight exercises are portable, allowing you to have an effective session in the comfort of your own living room!
Research has shown that bodyweight workouts are extremely effective at shedding calories. This is because there’s no equipment to muck around with so we tend to move quickly between exercises.
Doing short bursts of exercise with little breaks in between is a great way to burn off those pesky calories while keeping your routine exciting and fast-paced.
Using your bodyweight is a lot safer than training with weights. Weightlifting can be dangerous if we overload with weights that are too heavy for our bodies. This can lead to muscle and joint strain, putting our exercise regime on hold.
Bodyweight training is usually less intensive and more controlled than training with weights, being ideal for those with weaker bones or those prone to injury.
Great for beginners or those going through rehabilitation
Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or having to tone it down due to injury, bodyweight exercises are perfect for all fitness levels.
A focus is placed on learning to control your movements and keep your form stable, without the added pressure of weights. Most bodyweight-focused exercises can be easily modified depending on your experience, making it ideal for everyone.
Bodyweight exercises train your linear movements to keep your body stable and in control. If you want to work on your technique, we advise that you undertake bodyweight exercises to get your form perfected.
This will provide you with a solid foundation and improve your overall coordination.
What’s not so good about bodyweight exercises?
Measuring your progress isn’t as clear
It’s a lot easier to quantify your progress in weight training. When we are getting stronger, we can add more weight and feel the difference. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to measure your progress when using your own body weight. Although the maximum amount of reps you can do is a good indicator.
Limiting your workouts
By only doing bodyweight workouts, you may be limiting your workout and undermining your potential. It’s important to mix up your routine to keep your body surprised and not risk boredom.
Takes longer to build muscle mass
If you’re an impatient person and want to see muscle mass results quickly, bodyweight exercises may not be for you. Although effective at building muscle mass and shredding fat, it’s a slower process than weight training.
What are the benefits of weighted exercises?
Strengthen bone density
As we get older our bones become fragile and weak, making us more susceptible to injury. As estrogen helps maintain bone mass, women who are postmenopausal are at even greater risk of damage.
Lifting weights is one of the best ways to build bone density, making them stronger and healthier. Your future self will thank you!
Improve your metabolism
Studies have shown that weight lifting workouts can increase your metabolism. This is because when our muscles are forced to work harder, we burn more calories, which increases our metabolism and helps you lose weight.
Weight training also increases your resting metabolic rate. This means you burn calories even while you are resting! Awesome right?
Adding weights to your exercise regime will help you reach your fitness goals faster that bodyweight training. Weighted training is much more intensive on your body, building muscles quicker and therefore giving you faster results.
Improve muscle mass
There’s a myth that if women lift weights they will bulk like the hulk. Not surprisingly, this makes a lot of women shy away from using weights. This myth just simply isn’t accurate. Women don’t carry the same amount of testosterone as men do. In fact, most women only have 1/15-1/20th the amount of testosterone as men.
It’s pretty much biologically impossible to bulk up like a man! Fight the stereotype and try using free weights in your exercise routine.
It’s easier to hurt yourself
Having good form is crucial to weight training. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to hurt yourself during weight training than it is bodyweight training. As we become tired our form deteriorates and we may put ourselves in a dangerous position.
Having a bent back, putting too much pressure on your knees, lifting too heavy and not allowing your body time to recover are common mistakes made by beginner weight lifters. Make sure you have been instructed on proper form before lifting weights by yourself.
It is more expensive
In order to work out with weights you either need to own them or be part of a gym or service that supplies them for you. Owning all the relevant equipment to get a diverse weighted workout can be expensive. Not to mention paying fees for a gym membership you may not even be using.
Still Not Sure Which One Is For You?
Come along to a Live Life Get Active classes and speak one on one with one of our certified trainers. LLGA offers free yoga, boxing and active X training for all levels of fitness. Our trainers will help you figure out what kind of exercises is best suited to your goals.