Is Bodyweight Training Better Than Weights? Well, Not Exactly – There’s More to It.

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So you’ve decided to embark on a journey of fitness and you’ve made a promise to yourself that you are going to get into shape, hit the gym and make that part of your life.

However, you’re probably wondering “is bodyweight training better than weights”? 

Or are weights better than bodyweight training?

Should I pick one over the other or incorporate both into my program?

You’re going to learn everything there is to know about each and whether or not one is better than the other today so buckle in and let’s get started!

Bodyweight Training and Weight Lifting: A Brief Introduction

There seem to be so many people in either Camp A or Camp B referring to either bodyweight training (also known as calisthenics) or traditional weight lifting.

Neither of these groups of people is wrong in saying that either is great and necessary to build a good body – but one, in my opinion, doesn’t outshine the other.

Bodyweight training refers to working out in a manner that uses your body’s own weight to produce resistance.

Check out this brief YouTube clip outlining the differences between the two types of training systems:

Some exercises we can use as an example include:

  • Push Ups
  • Dips
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Pistol Squats
  • Pull Ups
  • Chin Ups
  • Planks
  • Australian Rows
  • Upside Down Wall Pushups
  • … and more

These exercises are fundamental in building an incredible physique that’s not only amazing to look at, but will be very powerful as well.

Not too many people I know personally can do many pull ups or one-legged squats and that says a lot.

On the other hand, weight lifting includes exercises that uses outside resistance such as a barbell with weight plates or dumbbells.

You’ll be able to complete these exercises with weights:

  • Bench Press
  • Lat Pull Downs
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Barbell Rows
  • Face Pulls
  • Lateral Raises
  • Bent Over Reverse Delt Flys
  • Overhead Press
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • … and tons more

There really isn’t any distinctive benefit of one over the other, but there are certain situations in which having both working in tandem with each other could prove to be beneficial for you.

Not only will using both systems benefit each other, you will see drastically faster results in your overall muscle development when you choose to employ both methodologies.

Bodyweight Training: What are The Benefits?

Working out with your own bodyweight is a fantastic way to get to learn how your body works.

You will be discovering whether or not you can haul your own weight around through space in the form of push ups, dips, squats and pull ups (and more as discussed above), and you’ll have a good idea of where your fitness level is at.

Weightlifting doesn’t really give you the same kind of insights into how your body’s conditioning currently is

because the numbers on the bar are arbitrary and not based on any baseline.

In addition to the above, bodyweight training will teach you how to properly utilise your muscles in an efficient manner and you will be getting much faster results than using weight machines because of the compound movements you are performing.

There is not one single isolation movement in the bodyweight realm and this means you will be focusing only on the exercises that yield the fastest results.

Pro Tip: Check out this quick video on the best beginner calisthenics (bodyweight) workout you can do right now!

Christian Nielsen has his own fitness company now, but Christian started out with Lazar and Dusan from The Bar Brothers which is an international bodyweight training movement that tries to inspire people to change their life by getting into shape.

Check out the video and we’ll catch up with you afterwards.

As you can see, it’s really easy to get into bodyweight training with the right fitness program.

Structuring your own workout program from scratch is next to impossible as a beginner, and you’ll be dragging your heels indefinitely.

Why not check out our review on The Bar Brothers The System which is the Bar Brothers’ internationally renowned calisthenics workout program that has had thousands of men and women transforming their bodies!

Learn more about The Bar Brothers The System here.

Weight Lifting: What Benefits are There?

Choosing to employ weight lifting into your routine is an incredible way to accelerate your results and to provide adequate stimulation for hard to reach muscles that can’t be trained with bodyweight movements.

A few examples of this would be:

  • Lateral raises
  • Bent over rear delt flys
  • Face pulls
  • Chest flys (unless you have a very slippery floor and can do it with a towel)
  • Deadlifts (there is no exercise that hits the lower back as hard as this)

There may be many more exercises that must be performed with weights – and even if you could target all muscle groups with your own bodyweight, eventually you would want to add weight to the movements to keep progressing.

Pro Tip: Here’s an awesome weight lifting program you can begin today.

Buff Dudes have been on YouTube for quite a long time offering people an incredible (and free!) way to get into awesome shape, and we really like these guys.

Check out the video and we’ll come back afterwards.

In addition, lifting weights is somewhat of a mystical thing to some people.

It dates back at least 100 years since people began doing so (if not way further back than this) and bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts have come up with their own reasons why weight lifting is beneficial.

If you’re always hitting the pull up bar and doing 10-15 pull ups, eventually your body is going to get used to that.

Lifting actual weights allows your body to get a different form of stimulus thus increasing your chances of being able to progress in your workouts.

To learn more about the program I personally employ which incorporates the best of both worlds – bodyweight training and weights – check out ThinkEatLift’s ShredSmart Program here.

What are the Benefits of Combining them Both???

What you will find when you combine both schools of thought is that you no longer will suffer from an extreme dogmatic fitness approach that will hurt only yourself in the long run.

When you state that bodyweight training is incontrovertibly the best possible way to train, you’re really leaving a lot on the table as we discussed above.

You can benefit mostly from doing heavy compound movements such as most of the bodyweight exercises, and you can complement those with isolation movements or compound weight lifting movements as well.

Pro Tip: I’ll leave you off with one final video that will go into a bit of detail as to the pros and cons of both, and the benefits of combining them.

Brendan Meyers is a skilled and strong athlete with years of experience and has some solid wisdom that he generally shares completely for free.

This is what we love about him and we hope you’ll love it too!

Check out his video below:

Well folks, there you have it. This was our comprehensive guide on which method of training is best: bodyweight style or with weights.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both, and we really believe in combining them both for optimal results!

You can learn more about my personal transformation here and how I lost 30 pounds, and the exact steps I took to reach my weight loss and fitness goals.

For the best of both worlds you can learn more about my personal program that I am following here:

For an amazing bodyweight training program crafted by some seriously skilled trainers check out the Bar Brothers below:

Thanks so much for stopping by and let us know in the comments below what your thoughts are on the matter!

As always,
With love,


  1. Thank you for the great information. I recently started seeing a personal trainer and he has be doing both. I have limitations because I have sporiatic arthritis so my trainer has set a program that is perfect for me and I must say that it is helping me. I can now incorporate some of the things you have here in your website into my daily workouts thank you so much it was starting to get boring to me.

    1. You’re welcome Jackie!

      Ah, yes it is definitely going to be a matter of finding what works for you in this instance. I hope you are better soon and are able to lead a normal lifestyle!

      Take care and hope to see you again soon.

  2. My son is going to be freshman college wrestler, We were just discussing the importance of expanding his workout routine a bit this spring to help him prepare. I think the The Bar Brothers The System is perfect for him. So, I went head and shared this page with him.

    1. Yes, the bar brothers the system is a great program and is very cheap. However, its limitation is that it focuses solely on bodyweight training and does not incorporate any weights. A much better fit would be Radu’s ThinkEatLift ShredSmart program that I personally am following as well.

      You can find that here if you’re interested.

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