Skip to content





Bodyweight Vs. Weightlifting: Which Is Better for Muscle Building?


Bodyweight Vs. Weightlifting: Which Is Better for Muscle Building?
Table Of Contents

Building muscle can be accomplished in a variety of methods, from lifting weights to performing exercises that focus on the body's own weight. So which one is better? In this post, we’ll look at both methods' pros and cons and take a deep dive into body weights vs. free weights.

When making a comparison between bodyweight training/bodyweight exercises and weights/resistance exercises, it is important to take into account the many different types of workouts that are involved in both.

It's possible that you'll be shocked to learn that certain bodyweight exercises can help you achieve your fitness objectives more effectively than regimens that focus on weightlifting. Besides, you need to consider more than the physical benefits.

In spite of the fact that it provides fewer physical advantages, one form of exercise may be superior due to many other variables. Bodyweight workouts, for instance, can be done daily even if you don't have weights because they don't necessitate any equipment.

To get things started, here is a comparison of the advantages of working out with weights versus working out using only your body weight.

The Advantages of Weight Training

Instead of using your own body weight as resistance during exercise, weight training involves using external resistance such as weights. This can be in the form of resistance bands, free weights, and weight machines.

Training with weights does have some benefits that training with only your bodyweight does not.

They are as follows:

Easier to Scale

Altering the total weight you lift is one of the most efficient ways to modify any weight training program.

Adding five additional pounds of resistance to the barbell or dumbbells will make any exercise far more challenging. You may incorporate progressive overload into your workout in the most straightforward manner by doing it this way.

On the other hand, if you find that a certain workout is too difficult for you, all you need to do is take some weight off the bar. The benefits of using weights You may quickly increase the difficulty of an exercise by adding 5 pounds of weight.

Perfect for Lower Body

Squatting is a great exercise to do if you want to develop leg strength, tone up, or build muscle.

Squatting while carrying weights would be the best exercise for you to do if you were limited to just one move in your workout routine.

The deadlift is considered the second-best workout, and there is no way to compare the two.

The squat and the deadlift are the most important exercises in the world of strength training.

Possibility to Train Isolated Muscle Groups

Lifting weights enables you to train a particular muscle group in a particular fashion.

Isolating the injured muscle area with a specialized workout can be useful if you have an injury or a muscular imbalance that requires you to practice a specific movement pattern.

Compound exercises are often what you'll get when you look up bodyweight training.

Disadvantages/Cons of Weight Training

Now let’s go over the disadvantages of weight training.

Requires Expensive Equipment

You'll need a few different things in order to train your body in the way that it was designed to be trained to achieve the best results.

  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Bench
  • Squat Rack
  • Weight Plates

Finding a gym that offers all of these amenities at once is the best option. The alternative choice is to buy all this gear for yourself if you have the necessary funds and room in your house.

Must Have Quality Form

Quality technique during a workout is ABSOLUTELY important. If you lift weights of any type with an incorrect form, you dramatically increase the likelihood of getting injured.

This is also the case with bodyweight training; however, when external weights are piled upon your body, you have a MUCH greater potential to cause injury. Especially if you work with substantial loads, always put in the effort to improve your technique!

Requires a Complex Understanding of Human Physiology

You will benefit from weight training most when you focus on compound movements. At the same time, it is very common in weightlifting to train only a single muscle group, creating an imbalance in muscles.

To perform compound exercises, extensive knowledge of human physiology is required, which can take time to build up and hence can slow down the progression.

Advantages of Bodyweight Training

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of training with your body weight versus weights?

Bodyweight Training provides four major advantages to weight training.

It is Free

To perform a full-body Bodyweight Training workout, the only other thing you really need is access to a pull-up bar of some kind. Aside from that, there isn't much else that you need.

You won't require weights, equipment, a fitness center, or a gym membership.

Bodyweight Training Provides a Greater Degree of Freedom

Due to the fact that bodyweight workouts require very little to no equipment, you are free to exercise pretty much whenever and wherever you like using just your body weight.

Whether your gym is closed or you don't want to go outside, all you need is a door pull-up bar to achieve a well-rounded physique.

Body Weight Exercises Improve Flexibility

The motions involved in bodyweight training demand a significant amount of body awareness, control, and movement.

When you undertake calisthenic exercises instead of lifting weights, you need to get your whole body involved in the movement.

In addition, several exercises, such as the lunge and the handstand, demand a reasonable level of hip and shoulder mobility.

By increasing your strength with bodyweight exercises, you will naturally improve your mobility and flexibility.

Significantly Trains Your Core and Balance

Maintaining a neutral or hollow body stance is a requirement for almost every exercise in the bodyweight exercise repertoire.

Since you will need to maintain your balance while performing exercises using only your own bodyweight, this will instantly turn on and stimulate your core muscles.

The majority of workouts that include weights, on the other hand, involve locking your body into a fixed posture. This removes the component of stability that is inherent in bodyweight exercises.

Because of the nature of their training, many athletes who participate in bodyweight training have a tendency to have a strong core.

Disadvantages/Cons of Bodyweight Training

While all of that sounds magical, let’s quickly go over the disadvantages of bodyweight training.

There aren’t many.

Require an Understanding of Levers

Your only option is to use the weight you already have on your body unless you have a weight vest.

As a consequence of this, you need to be able to modify the level of difficulty of each exercise by adjusting how much you rely on your own body weight.

For instance, the angle at which you complete a push-up and the position in which your hands are placed can significantly impact the exercise's difficulty level.

You must be aware of how to make the required adjustments to the levers for the exercise to present you with the appropriate level of challenge.

Accidental harm is another possibility if these levers are not used properly.

Difficult to Progress

As your strength increases, you'll find that certain workouts become much simpler to perform.

There comes the point where the benefits of completing 50 or 100 push-ups in one set begin to decrease, despite the fact that it would be pleasurable to do so.

You will need to practice a new progression or variant of the exercise in order to bring the level of difficulty of the workout up to a higher level so that you can continue making progress.

When moving from one level to the next, there is frequently a significant increase in difficulty, which can be quite frustrating and make it difficult to maintain enthusiasm.

For instance, if you've been practicing for pike push-ups, handstand push-ups could feel like a huge step up for you.

Leg Exercises are Very Limited

The final drawback is that you cannot train your legs as well using bodyweight training alone because it is too restrictive.

You have strong legs you should have no trouble advancing swiftly through the many lower body exercises contained within the bodyweight training library.

Take, for instance: Once you have mastered the one-legged squat, often known as a pistol squat, there isn't much more you can do to increase the intensity of that exercise other than adding weight to your body.

If you simply do exercises using your own bodyweight, the results will be disappointing for your legs in comparison to your upper body.

Bodyweight Vs. Free Weights - Compared Head on

Let’s look at which option is the best individually in different scenarios. Following are some of the major categories that will give you a clear idea of how each of these performs head-to-head.


Which method has the least amount of barriers to advancement?

Weight training does, creating a new variation of a bodyweight training exercise is significantly more difficult than just adding five additional pounds of weight to a barbell.

Training Flexibility

Which type of training provides you with more flexibility/freedom?

Bodyweight training allows you to work out anytime, anywhere.

With weight training, you need access to a gym, the right equipment, and a lot of space.

Beginner Friendly

What kind of training is recommended for someone who is just starting out?

Bodyweight training is very beginner friendly. Most bodyweight exercises are performed with a straightforward beginner variant. In general, it is easier to handle your own body weight than it is to handle an external weight.

Having said that, you should know that you can perform any exercise using weights with extremely minimal resistance while learning the appropriate form.

Additionally, if you are overweight, beginning with bodyweight training is a much better and safer option for you.

Better Isolation Movements

Which form of exercise is more effective than others for targeting certain muscle groups?

Weight training allows way better-isolated movements compared to body weight training.

There isn't much else to add here. Compound exercises can be performed almost exclusively with one's own body weight.

On the other hand, you are able to specifically target any muscle in your body when you exercise with weights.

The bicep curl is the most prevalent exercise that targets an isolated muscle group.

Build Strength

Which style of exercise is superior for improving strength?

Weight training is far superior for building strength. This is because you can use the method of progressive overload which is a staple for building strength long term. Bodyweight training just allows you to master the strength of your particular bodyweight.

Better Muscle Mass Development

Which of these forms of exercise is most effective for putting on muscle?

Weight training will increase your muscle overall when you lift weights, particularly in your legs.

However, with the right kind of exercise, you can develop equally astonishing levels of muscle in your upper body utilizing bodyweight training, but training your legs is an issue.

Fat Loss

Which one is more effective for reducing body fat?

Both bodyweight training and weight training, assuming they have been performed appropriately, have the potential to be equally beneficial for fat loss.


If you can't decide between weightlifting and bodyweight training, think about the results you want to achieve and the way you like to exercise.

Calisthenics involves exercises that use both your bodyweight and compound movements. Because it requires a lot of movement, it is a good choice for those who want to lose weight and define their muscles.

When lifting weights, you typically use external weights like dumbbells. It encompasses performing isolated exercises to grow a larger muscle group.

Weightlifting is ideal for increasing both muscular strength and size when it is performed consistently.

Both of these methods are extremely beneficial forms of strength training. If you want to combine them, try doing bodyweight exercises and weightlifting on the same or alternate days.


Following are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bodyweight vs. weightlifting.

What Makes You Stronger- Weights Or Bodyweight Training?

Working out with weights can help you create stronger muscles, but the strength you get will be unique to the exercises you perform.

If you want to improve your pull-up strength, the most effective approach to do it is to practice performing pull-ups. You can't expect to grow better at pull-ups by going for a swim and expecting to improve.

Therefore, lifting weights will make you stronger at lifting weights, and bodyweight training will make you stronger at bodyweight training, but you may find that some of your strength carries over from one activity to the other.

What Burns More Calories: Bodyweight Exercises Or Weight Lifting?

Each mode of exercise is just as effective as the other in terms of burning calories. It is all dependent on the amount of volume that you choose to accomplish.

It is important to keep in mind that none of these forms of exercise will result in burning a considerable amount of calories, possibly in the range of 5 to 10 calories for every minute of work.

Should I Lift Weights Or Do Bodyweight Training First?

You should start with bodyweight training if you are a beginner since it will teach you how to perform all of the major functional exercises while reducing the likelihood that you will become injured.

When you have more experience under your belt, you can train both during the same session.

For instance:

You can do a Bench Press, then Horizontal Pull-ups: followed with Dips and end it with Hollow Body Holds۔

This circuit includes both bodyweight and weightlifting exercises.

Can You Build Muscle With Only Bodyweight Training?

Your body doesn't know the difference between different types of resistance, so calisthenics alone can help you bulk up.

All your body knows is that you're doing something that requires it to push against something, and it will respond by increasing muscle mass in whatever way it can.

However building lower body muscle mass can be tuff with bodyweight exercises.

Take Away

So which is the best way? Well, that depends on what you're looking for. Free weights tend to be more versatile – you can do more exercises with them – while bodyweight exercises are generally more challenging. Ultimately it comes down to what you're most comfortable with and what works best for you. But either way, you're sure to see results!

Reading List

Healthier and Happier Life is One Step Away.

Get information on health, fitness and wellness with our weekly newsletter.

Write a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Comment are moderated
  • How to Track Fitness Progress: 10 Ways to Meet Your Goals

    Have you ever started a new workout routine full of enthusiasm and excitement, only to find that your motivation d...

  • 7 Reasons Why Bodybuilders Tan

    Bodybuilding! The art of bulging muscles, chiseled abs, and veins that pop out like spider webs. It's a world wher...

  • 7 Foods That Kill Testosterone and 7 Foods That Boost It

    Testosterone is a sex hormone that has many important functions in the body. The hormone is present in both gender...

  • The Complete Guide of Fat Burners and How to Use for Best Results

    Are you tired of crash diets and extreme workouts but still not achieving your weight loss goals? Fat burners migh...

  • Workout Meal Plan According to Professional Athletes for Better Results

    Nutrition has a major role in bringing positive results to the body. For athletes, nutrition significantly contrib...

  • Boost Your Performance Using Compression Arm Sleeves While Exercising
  • What is a Tabata Workout? All You Need to Know

    Do you want to get fit but don't have much time? Well, then, a Tabata workout might be perfect for you. Tabata is ...

  • 5 Absolute Ways to Deal with Hunger Pangs During Your Weight Loss Journey

    Are you fed up with the odd-hour hunger pangs during your weight loss journey? The hunger pangs your stomach growl...

  • The Power of Personalization in Weight Management: Crafting Your Tailored Journey to Success

    Embarking on a weight-loss journey can be overwhelming, especially with the multitude of diets and fitness trends ...

  • The Association Between Exercise and Androgenetic Alopecia: A Comprehensive Survey-Based Study

    Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common form of hair loss, affecting both men and women. It is influenced b...

  • Start your fitness journey today!

    Take an extra 10% off your order.

    reach out

    Toll Free: (833) 366-6733

    5700 Crooks Road, Troy, Michigan 48098

    *By submitting this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe at any time.