Bodyweight vs. Weights

Training with your own body weight or lifting weights in the gym? Both approaches seem to work when it comes to getting fitter or getting your dream body, but what is the better option for you? Keep reading and I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of both types of training.


The biggest advantage of training with your own bodyweight: You can train almost always and everywhere and need very little equipment. Also, bodyweight exercises involve more more muscle groups, so you do not isolate muscle groups when working out. This has the advantage, that bodyweight training is usually more functional, meaning that you train your muscles in a way that you would use them in everyday life as well.

Progression, on the other hand, can be difficult to achieve, which is a big disadvantage of bodyweight exercises. For example, if you can do 10-20 pull-ups at a time, you may not be able to do a single one-arm pull-up.
It is harder to target your weaknesses as well because, as already mentioned, you can hardly isolate muscle groups with bodyweight exercises.


Working out with free weights (or on machines) has the advantage, that progression is very easy to achieve: You just use more weight! You also have a wide range of exercises to choose from. From functional exercises involving multiple muscle groups to isolation exercises for individual muscle groups, you can easily build strength or train work on your weaknesses.

However, the biggest disadvantage is, that you need a lot of equipment or a gym membership if you want to work out with weights. So you are far less flexible compared to bodyweight training.
It is also very important to execute the exercises with the correct form to stay free of injury for a long time. Learning the correct execution can take a lot of time though.


In my opinion, neither training approach is superior to the other. First and foremost, you should be clear about what you want to achieve and then choose the approach that will get you there the fastest.

If your goal is to build muscle fast, you’ll probably get the results you want faster, when you’re training with weights.
However, if you want to exercise very flexibly, improve your coordination, and are happy to cover many muscle groups with just a few exercises, then bodyweight exercises are definitely preferable to weight training for you.

But that does not mean that you can not train functionally with free weights or that you do not build muscle mass with bodyweight exercises!
However, with a certain amount of training experience, it will be difficult to build more muscle mass with pure bodyweight exercises and when working out with free weights, some exercises will simply not be functional, but only serve to isolate certain muscle groups.

It should be noted, however, that these two training approaches are by no means mutually exclusive. I like to work out with free weights, but always combine this with some bodyweight exercises so that I can benefit from the advantages of both approaches.

Do you have more questions about these two training approaches? Let me know in the comments!
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