What type of training do you prefer? Bodyweight or weight training?
Everyone has different goals, and each of them have their own services. You might be a beginner and would like to know which type of training fits your goals. Or you might have already been training for a while but would like to twist your training sessions a little bit.
Many scenarios involve one type of training rather than another, however, in some cases, you can even approach your training sessions with both.
Throughout this detailed guide, you will find: what are the differences between bodyweight training and weight training, how to approach them, and what will be the benefits for you.
1. Training conveniently
Bodyweight training – No equipment
Bodyweight training, as its name suggests, doesn’t require any (or little) equipment. You’re free to work out wherever and whenever you want, therefore it’s a more functional type of training. Sometimes you can add small and light weights or elastic bands to add more resistance to your training.
And because you need no or minimal equipment this is the cheapest option to be active and exercise.
Weight training – Need equipment
Weight training, on the other hand, needs to be done in a more spacious environment. It requires dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, benches, or even machines.
Bodyweight training and weight training have different approaches. However, they both have their benefits and still allow you the become stronger.
2. The benefits of bodyweight training
Bodyweight training is a type of training that guarantees many benefits and results. Activating your muscles; improving your metabolism; strengthening your muscles; making sure you’re doing your exercises properly by mastering the weight of your own body.
Before a heavyweight session, the first thing you need to do is warm up. There are many ways to get your body temperature high and one of them being bodyweight training.
Activating your muscles it’s a crucial part of your training session whatever sports you’re practicing. This is because you will allow your muscle to become “elastic” thus preventing injury and your range of motion will become even deeper.
Before your work out, you should take at least 10 minutes to warm up, do dynamic stretches, and some exercises using only your body weight.
Bodyweight training is effective in terms of improving your metabolism. To put it in simple words, metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that take place in our body to produce energy.
Bodyweight training will allow you to do exercises on high repetitions, increasing your heartbeat and consequently burning calories but also improving your flexibility,
Of course, you can still weight train and improve your metabolism but bodyweight training is suitable for everybody, at every age.
Muscle-strengthening and endurance
You might think that you can only get stronger if you push heavy weights. The positive aspect of bodyweight training for strength is that you’re not putting as much stress on your muscle. Thus, you can work out every day in a short period.
Also, when you hit a point where the basic sets and repetitions are easy for you, you can increase the number of each week after week or use resistance bands to add more resistance to your training.
Whatever the type of training you choose, the way you perform your exercises will determine your progress, your recovery, and preventing injuries.
For instance, if you’re doing a squat it is much easier to correct the way you perform it rather than having a heavy bar on your shoulder and trying to get it right.
By making sure you’re doing your exercises correctly you will become more and more enduring. You will also become more flexible and will know how to control your balance.
3. The benefits of weight training
Weight training will allow you to concentrate even more on contracting and isolating the muscles you’re working on.
The tension and the strength required will damage the muscle and as a result, it will grow, through a phenomenon called muscle hypertrophy, after a good rest and a good diet.
The benefit of weight training is that you can progressively overload, pushing your body to its limits and gaining muscle and strength over time. Unlike bodyweight training, weight training allows you to work out through a various range of repetitions according to the targeted muscle.
Another benefit of weight training is that, because you can progressively overload, you can use different types of materials allowing you to have a different range of motions.
This might be the top benefit of weight training to the extent that, whether you’re a beginner or an expert in the fitness field, you will be able to go through a process called body composition. It is a process where you lose weight but can also gain muscle at the same time.
Body recomposition is much easier for beginners than the advanced because their bodies are not used to this type of change. Advanced and experts often opt for bulking (muscle gaining through calorie surplus) then cutting (fat loss through calorie deficit) or the other way around.
4. Training according to your experience level and goals
There is no type of training that you need to do, it is all about your fitness goals, your preferences, investing in your physical but also mental health.
If you want to build muscle mass then, of course, you should weight training. However, if you just want to stay active and maybe even stay lean than body training is the right choice. We saw that bodyweight training is a great type of training if you want to improve your metabolism without subscribing to a gym membership. But weight training will also be an excellent source of training for improving metabolism.
If you’re a beginner, it will be much easier for you to gain muscle. Have you ever heard someone saying that “you can transform fat into muscle ?”.
Well, the sentence is wrong. But as a beginner, you are more prominent to grow muscle mass because your body will use calories from fat to build it. It will be much easier for you to transform your body and hit your goals faster if you do it correctly!
If you’re intermediate/advanced then you will need to find the proper way to do it. If you want to build more muscle you will need to be in a calorie surplus. And, undoubtedly, if you want to lose fat then you need to be in a calorie deficit.
Yet, this will depend on how your current physique is: if you’re already lean and want to build muscle through weight training you can opt for a calorie surplus. However, if you have a higher percentage of fat than you should, at first, lose it to make your muscle gain easier.
Combining bodyweight training and weight training
As we saw, you can choose one type of training rather than another based on your needs or preferences.
Nonetheless, you can implement bodyweight training when lifting weights. For example, you can do push-ups at the end of your upper body session, or bodyweight squats at the end of your lower body session.
And on the other hand, you can perform bodyweight movements by adding weights. For instance, you can do push-ups with a backpack loaded of books or pull-ups with a weight belt around your waist.
5. The science behind bodyweight training and weight training
Choosing the type of training wisely is important. Many factors play on your training sessions and your results, whether you choose bodyweight training or weight training. Three of them are genetics, nutrition, and rest.
Many studies have shown that everyone’s bodies react differently to different types of training. Genetics studies our genes that will determine our physical traits, how we inherit them, and the external factors that come into play.
Many factors determine your physical aspects, such as sex, hormones, and metabolism. In a nutshell, women have, biologically, lower muscle mass, different skeletal muscles, and hormones than men. Your progress will also be determined according to your age, inherited genes, external environment, and overall health.
Nutrition is the second element that will determine how much you will get stronger. Your training will be effective through proper nutrition along with a good amount of calories. The key is to split your calories into the right amount of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats). Then focus on the variety of your food intake through micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, calcium, antioxidants…).
The last factor to keep in mind whether you choose bodyweight training or weight training is resting. You need to take your time to stretch and rest whenever you put your body in such an intense activity. This means that not only you have to take it easy the days you don’t train but you need to sleep properly.
6. Consult a professional
Either you choose body training or weight training the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to see a professional first.
Seek the help of a nutritionist to analyze what type of diet will fit your goals, your lifestyle, and your calorie intake.
Finally, a personal trainer will give you advice on how to structure a functional program, how to execute movements, and will keep track of your progress.
The type of training you choose is all based on your goals, desires and what can you invest in. If you want to stay in good shape with no or minimal equipment than bodyweight training is the best option for you. However, if you want to become stronger and build more muscle then you should opt for weight training.
In the end, whether you choose body training or weight training the most important thing is that you take care of your overall health!