The great exercise debate: what’s the better method for working out? Bodyweight, or free weight exercises?
The fact of the matter is, there isn’t such thing as a “better” method, because both bodyweight and free weight exercises can (and should) have a place in your workout routines.
For example, bodyweight exercises allow you to follow through a completely natural movement,
therefore reducing your risk of injury, and increasing your benefits from the exercise. A lot of bodyweight exercises utilize several muscles at once, too. For instance, if you perform a push-up, you’re not just working your chest; the secondary and tertiary muscles worked are your triceps and shoulders.
You’ll also find that, since bodyweight exercises are utilizing a different type of load than free weights, you’ll most likely perform higher reps, which also make them effective at toning muscle.
One con with bodyweight exercises can be that they’re too tough from the get-go for someone who might be a beginner, or someone with a little extra weight on them. Push-ups, dips, and most definitely, pull-ups, can be extremely difficult for someone without a solid foundation of strength.
On the other hand, free weights can be ideal for beginners, since you can select the amount of resistance you use — as opposed to bodyweight exercises, where you only have one option for resistance. Like bodyweight exercises, you can follow through with a very natural movement and full range of motion. You also have to utilize other muscles with certain free weight exercises, like your stabilizers, in order to perform the movement correctly.
There’s another benefit to training with free weights as well. Like we mentioned earlier, bodyweight exercise can be effective at toning muscle; conversely, the greater stress that free weights add to your exercise favour the overall growth (or hypertrophy) of your muscle.
That’s not to say that free weights don’t have their downside as well. The potential for injury can be higher with these exercises if you use a weight that you’re unable to use perfect form with. We’ve all seen the gym-goers who loaded up the plates on a barbell, and went for a deadlift and ended up in — well, Snap City. Ouch!
There are also several parallels between the two, though. Both methods make it easy to work out at home — it’s simple enough to find a cheap set of dumbbells, and with bodyweight exercises, you can do them just about anywhere! No equipment needed for many of them. You don’t need any expensive machines to do either of these types of exercises.
What’s great too is, both styles of exercise can be full of benefits in your workout routine. For example, in the Giant Evolution workout, you’ll see how this is true. Perform the flat dumbbell press, in a giant set with incline and close-grip dumbbell press, and finish off with a set of swimmer’s push-ups — burning your chest out with a bodyweight exercise will set it on fire!
What’s your favourite method for working out? Do you have a preference? Or do you prefer to use one style over another? Get the conversation started in the comment section below!
As always, don’t forget to visit marcfitt.com for all your health, fitness and lifestyle needs!