T Nation

BW Training vs. Weight Training


For a person who is content with their muscle mass and size, and mainly participate in strength training for conditioning for sports like rock climbing, gymnastics, and outdoor sports and possibly adding a little more leaness to their physique, for safety and efficiency reasons, should bodyweight training be chosen overall regular weight (dbs/bbs) training e.g. heavy lifting, complexes, weighted circuits?

What are the disadvantages and advantages from an athletic, fitness perspective of bodyweight training versus regular weight training?




Bodyweight training can build both size and strength. A couple of my best friends where collegiate gymnast, never touched a weight, and they had bodies that people on here dream about (non-sexually hopefully). The problem was that it took them years of training to accomplish this.

The advantage of weights is that you can gain both strength and size faster than with bodyweight training because you can increase the load quicker. Take push-ups for instance. You can increase the difficulty by raising your feet (decline), lifting one foot into the air, or using push-up bars. But after a while, you hit the 25 rep set barrier and progress after that is extremely slow.


Use both in your program. Bodyweight can be made harder(gymnastic rings, single limb exercises like one arm chins, pushups, and pistol squats, etc..). As Ross Enamait said: "Resistance is resistance."


What do you think of bodyweight training vs. weight training for fat loss?

There is to some degree: lifting heavy weights, weighted lactate inducing circuits, and complexes some risk of injury, I'm just trying to get to know at my older age, which would be superior for conditioning & fat loss... two of my goals..




Neither is superior. Bodyweight and weight training both work. The best would be to use them both and mix them up. But there are other things beyond those that can be used for conditioning too. Assuming any one is superior to the other will limit your thinking and your progress, no matter what you do.


The amount of muscle you have is more due to how much (and how well) you're eating. If you eat you maintenance from here on out, you won't gain any more muscle mass (or you will, but will lose fat).


I use both and I think both have advantages. It's amazing how much learning to do things like front levers will help you in strength on the iron and vice versa. I think both are not only desirable, but absolutely necessary for true athletic prowess.


What are good bodyweight exercises (can be done in the gym, house, or wherever) for making effective bodyweight circuits? Any recommendations?



Try out the Velocity Diet V-Burn Challenge workouts. I find them pretty good for a metabolic workout.


For bodyweight circuits the crossfit workouts Angie, Cindy, and Barbara are good places to start. They are tried and true and basic and can be done nearly anywhere. Once you work with those for a bit you'll probably be able to make some of your own.