Weightlifting is the most popular muscle building exercise around. However, although it’s not as widely used, bodyweight training still has its merits when it comes to packing on muscle. This article will compare bodyweight training and weightlifting side by side and show how they both stack up when it comes to muscle gains.
- Muscle Size
To develop muscle size, you need to be lifting an increasing amount of weight during each workout. Since weightlifting uses external equipment, this is easy to achieve and you can increase the amount of weight you’re lifting whenever you please. However, because bodyweight training relies solely on your own bodyweight, the total amount you lift during each workout doesn’t change much. This makes weightlifting a much better tool for developing muscle mass.
Winner = Weightlifting
- Muscle Strength
As mentioned above, weightlifting involves lifting progressively heavier weights and this has a positive impact on your overall muscle strength. By lifting weights regularly, you can significantly improve your strength levels and develop impressive muscle power.
Bodyweight training doesn’t give you the same level of raw muscle power but it does improve your balance and flexibility at the same time as boosting your strength. This allows you to build a more functional style of strength which is useful when performing day to day tasks.
Winner = Draw (Bodyweight training is best for functional strength, weightlifting is best for raw power)
- Muscle Endurance
Most weightlifting routines involve lifting weights for between 6-14 reps. Bodyweight training on the other hand involves performing each exercise till failure and potentially performing hundreds of reps as your fitness improves. This increased rep range makes bodyweight training the optimal choice for enhancing your muscle endurance.
Winner = Bodyweight Training
- Injury Risk
Even when you master the proper form and lift slowly and carefully, weightlifting still has a number of associated risks. The heavy weights are a potential hazard which can fall out of your hands, land on your body and cause various injuries. In addition to this, the heavy weights can easily over stretch your muscles and joints which can then lead to painful sprains or tears. With bodyweight training, none of these risks are present and your chances of injuring yourself as you exercise are much lower.
Winner = Bodyweight Training
If you’re looking for muscle size and strength, weightlifting is the way to go. However, if you want to build muscular endurance and develop a more functional style of strength, bodyweight training is likely to be better for you. Alternatively, you can use a combination of both bodyweight training and weightlifting and enjoy a mixture of the benefits they provide.
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Bodyweight Training Vs Weightlifting