Bodyweight vs Weight Training: What Workout Makes Sense for You?

Bodyweight vs Weight Training: What Workout Makes Sense for You?

In the battle of “bodyweight vs. weight training,” which form of resistance training comes out on top? It’s not an unreasonable question; our time is precious, and we want to choose the activity that yields the best results. However, this debate simplifies a more nuanced topic than you might initially think.

For bodyweight workouts try Openfit’s Just Bring Your Body, and for weight training there’s 4 Weeks of Focus. Try them on Openfit today!

 

Is Bodyweight Exercise Better Than Weight Training?

two people doing pushups -- bodyweight vs weight training

The answer to the eternal bodyweight vs. weight training question is a resounding “it depends.” What are your goals? Your current level of fitness? Do you have access to space and equipment?

Bodyweight exercise may be a better option for fitness newbies, as the weight room at the gym can be intimidating, and beginners are less likely to have a collection of free weights at home. Bodyweight exercises, because they require zero equipment, can be done pretty much anywhere. This level of accessibility can make it easier to start (and stick with) a new fitness routine. Plus, bodyweight training is effective, says Elanit Friedman, Openfit’s senior director of fitness. “Bodyweight training is a great way to lose weight, build muscle, and gain strength,” she says.

However, most people can benefit from a combination of bodyweight exercise and traditional weight training. And for those with specific physique- and performance-related goals, weight training may be a better option.

 

What Are the Benefits of Weight Training?

weight lifting -- bodyweight vs weight training

Surprisingly, the bodyweight vs. weight training debate is a bit of a non-starter; with the proper guidance, both forms of resistance training will lead to strength gains, weight loss, and increased muscle mass. However, there are a few reasons to opt for weight training over bodyweight training.

1. Specificity

If your goal is to strengthen or trigger hypertrophy in a specific muscle or muscle group, traditional weight training may be a better fit, explains Friedman. “For example, biceps curls are hard to do with just your body weight,” she says.

2. Measurability

While your body is ever-changing and evolving, dumbbells, kettlebells, and weight plates remain consistent. (A 15-pound dumbbell will always weigh 15 pounds.) This can make adjusting your workouts and tracking your progress easier.

3. Maximal strength

If your fitness goals include competitive weightlifting or building maximal strength, bodyweight movements alone aren’t going to cut it. To continue to progress, you’ll need to use weights eventually.

 

What Are the Benefits of Bodyweight Training?

group fitness class doing side planks -- bodyweight vs weight training

The myths about bodyweight training — that it’s easy or doesn’t yield noticeable results — have long been debunked. Besides having the potential to be just as effective as traditional weight lifting, bodyweight training has some unique benefits.

1. Accessibility

As mentioned above, bodyweight training poses fewer barriers to entry for beginners. You don’t need a gym membership, equipment, or tons of space. Most bodyweight movements can be done in your living room, backyard, or local park.

2. Lower risk of injury

Whether you’re performing bodyweight exercises or loading a movement, learning proper form is crucial. But, without additional weight or heavy equipment, there’s less risk of injury.

And for those who are interested in eventually learning to use weights, bodyweight training can be a helpful introduction. “Mastering fundamental movements using bodyweight exercises is a great way to lower the risk of injury and get better results from your work,” Friedman says.

3. Customizability

With some basic knowledge and a little creativity, bodyweight training offers endless possibilities for people of all fitness and experience levels. You can make bodyweight movement easier or more challenging by adding plyometric elements and adjusting your positioning, level of stability, speed, and rest time.

 

Bodyweight Workouts To Try

There’s more to bodyweight workouts than basic squats, push-ups, and planks. Here are just a few options available through Openfit.

1. Just Bring Your Body

JBYB -- bodyweight vs weight training

Designed by four master trainers, Just Bring Your Body (JBYB) is the ultimate bodyweight workout. Over 60 days, JBYB’s combination of cardio, strength training, and core work will keep you engaged and challenged as you get fitter — no equipment necessary.

“That’s the difference between our program and being at the gym,” explains Ryan Klarenbach, JBYB trainer. “You could take this anywhere and be challenged and get results. You don’t need equipment. Just bring your body. You show up, just yourself.”

2. Bomb Body with Sophia Rose

bomb body with Sophia Rose -- bodyweight vs weight training

Featuring former professional dancer, trained boxer, and Instagram influencer Sophia Rose, Bomb Body is a 30-day program that will inspire confidence and produce real results using just your bodyweight.

3. Bodyweight Bootcamp with Val Gutu

Bodyweight Bootcamp -- bodyweight vs weight training

Trainer Val Gutu shows you that the perfect piece of workout equipment can be your own body. His 25-minute workouts emphasize strength, cardio, and — most importantly — fun!

4. Yoga52

yoga 52 -- bodyweight vs weight training

Yoga is the ultimate time-tested, do-anywhere bodyweight workout, and Yoga52 offers various programs for new yogis, experienced practitioners, and everyone else in between.

 

Weight Training Workouts To Try

Looking to incorporate weight training into your routine? Get expert guidance and inspiration from any of these Openfit programs.

1. 600 Secs

600 seconds -- bodyweight vs weight training

If you’ve got 10 minutes, you’ve got enough time for a workout. 600 Secs will rev your heart rate and strengthen your muscles using a combination of bodyweight, resistance bands, and dumbbells.

2. 4 Weeks of Focus

4 weeks of focus -- bodyweight vs weight training

Featuring actress Shay Mitchell, 4 Weeks of Focus is ideal for those who are just starting their fitness journey (or anyone who’s veered off track and needs a little redirection). You’ll get a comprehensive, full-body workout that incorporates weight training using just two dumbbells. Check out the results!

3. Strong and Solid with Lita Lewis

strong and solid -- bodyweight vs weight training

This four-week program is designed for people of all sizes, shapes, and fitness levels. Trainer Lita Lewis will challenge you with a mixture of weight lifting, cardio, and high-intensity interval training.

Jenessa Connor

About

Jenessa Connor has written for Men’s Journal, Shape, Runner’s World, Oxygen and other health and fitness publications. When it comes to exercise, she’s a bit of a dabbler, but she always comes back to running, CrossFit and yoga. Follow her on Twitter.

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