Posts tagged “calisthenics”

Bodybuilding vs. Body Weight Training

by Miles Glover . 0 Comments

bodyweight-trainingIn this article, I will answer questions about the science behind bodyweight training vs. bodybuilding.

Weight training has been the mainstream for strength training. Weight lifting-based programs are evidenced in bodybuilding competitions like Mr. Canada and Mr. Olympia.

On the other hands, many bodyweight athletes achieved impressive physiques such as Frank Medrano and The Fortress.

So which one should you choose? Let’s examine the benefits and costs of each training method.

Bodyweight training:

  1. Training is achieved by variations of workouts. The transitions may not be as smooth as weightlifting. However, it is argued that the constant changes benefit muscles as they force you to move in different angles.
  2. Bodyweight training is safe and functional. Although advanced movements such as a human flag or one arm chins, it can induce a lot of stress on the joints involved.
  3. Progression can be somewhat difficult to measure. There are no precise levels of difficulty compared to weight lifting. A one arm pushup is more challenging than both hands, but it is nearly impossible to quantify.
  4. CNS (Central Nervous System) happens frequently. The exercises always change, as well as their mechanics. For example, basic routines are comprised of over 50 variations of 6-7 basic routines. Because the changes are constant, it requires coordination, balance, and flexibility – more than weightlifting does.
  5. Advanced bodyweight exercises require a full body extension which leads to strength gain.
  6. Bodyweight training is compounded which helps muscles grow much faster than isolated exercises.


  1. Training is achieved by progressively adding small loads to exercises. The transitions are smooth even though the basic mechanics remain the same.
  2. Weightlifting is considered somewhat safer since the compound movements are usually closed kinetic chain workouts.
  3. Progression is easier to measure. If you want to increase the difficulty, then add more weight. If you can lift more pounds than you did six months ago, then are you stronger.
  4. Due to the consistent mechanics of the workouts, the CNS gains are experienced fast.
  5. You are forced to control over how your body looks due to the variety of exercise techniques.

Overall, bodyweight training has a smoother progression than weightlifting. It also offers greater balance, flexibility, and agility.

If you are new to strength training and do not have a gym member, you can gain muscle at home with bodyweight training. Make the best use of what you have at home or a park nearby to gain mass and strength. Focus on building on the flexibility and agility.


The choice is dependent on your goals. If you are interested in increasing flexibility and ability to move your body, then bodyweight training is right for you. On the other hand, if you want to be a powerlifter, then weightlifting should be the primary method.

Whether you are a pro athlete or a beginner, it is important to understand and perform the basic movements to maximize results correctly. Most people do not know how to progress in bodyweight training or increase the resistance properly. We recommend MI40X by Ben Pakulski. Without going off the topic, it is the best training program we have ever seen. You can read MI40X review here.

Many weight lifters are already doing bodyweight exercises, i.e. pull-ups, pushups, and more. If it suits your needs, why not do the same? If you are a bodyweight athlete, why not pick up some weights, provided you have access to the gym. After all, you are ultimately limited by your body weight.