Bodyweight versus weights

Kozushi

> 3k Posts
It sort of dawned on me yesterday that if you're doing an "equivalent" move to a bodyweight move with weights, if you're lifting heavy enough, you're engaging more of your body in the exercise. I guess I'm a bit slow, hahaha.

If I'm doing a barbell press at my bodyweight, let's say, I'm engaging my legs too. If I'm doing a handstand press against the wall my legs aren't loading anything on them at all.

I suppose we could apply this logic to a lot of different "equivalent" movements. In the end I think if we're talking about building muscle and strength through the body, training with heavy enough weights beats bodyweight training. (There are plenty of other benefits to bodyweight training, like effective locomotion etc, of course though.)
 

pet'

> 6k Posts
Hello,

Like most of the things, lifting weight is a component of several things. We can consider the "raw strength", but also the skill itself.

For instance, let's considering the pull up. A pull up with our own bodyweight added is way easier than the "elusive" one arm pull up. The first one, if done properly, strongly engage the core. To a certain extent, core engagement is crucial to a proper pull up, whether it is a one arm or a weighted one.

Then, the "raw strength" required is the same for both moves.

Nonetheless, if I consider my experience, I was able to do a full one arm pull up long after the weighted pull up with my weight added. I guess this was only due to the skill.

The same remains true for any kind of loaded squat and a pistol squat.

Beyond the strength, the ability to move the body in the space is something different. Can we say a gymnast is "weaker" than a strongman, even pound for pound ? If we let the gymnast a few months to learn strongman skills, how will it perform ? Same question for the strongman. Then, it would be interesting to compare the two. It would permit to see how well a "bodyweight mover" can adapt to a "weight mover" and vice versa.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Kozushi

> 3k Posts
Hello,

Like most of the things, lifting weight is a component of several things. We can consider the "raw strength", but also the skill itself.

For instance, let's considering the pull up. A pull up with our own bodyweight added is way easier than the "elusive" one arm pull up. The first one, if done properly, strongly engage the core. To a certain extent, core engagement is crucial to a proper pull up, whether it is a one arm or a weighted one.

Then, the "raw strength" required is the same for both moves.

Nonetheless, if I consider my experience, I was able to do a full one arm pull up long after the weighted pull up with my weight added. I guess this was only due to the skill.

The same remains true for any kind of loaded squat and a pistol squat.

Beyond the strength, the ability to move the body in the space is something different. Can we say a gymnast is "weaker" than a strongman, even pound for pound ? If we let the gymnast a few months to learn strongman skills, how will it perform ? Same question for the strongman. Then, it would be interesting to compare the two. It would permit to see how well a "bodyweight mover" can adapt to a "weight mover" and vice versa.

Kind regards,

Pet'
I think this is exactly hitting the nail on the head. I can get stronger with weights but if we're talking about locomotion, bodyweight is probably more important. This extends to exercises that mix both together like the Turkish Getup: 40kg over my head is not a lot but putting my body through all the twists and turns trains me in excellent weight bearing skill that no amount of raw strength can outdo.

But, the question is important if we're trying to change out body composition to more muscle. Here, weights have to be preferred if they are available.
 

pet'

> 6k Posts
Hello,

@Kozushi
I agree with you. Some complex moves - meaning multi plane moves - can be worth considering for both mobility and strength, such as get ups and bent presses. I think that depending on the moves we use, the line between "pure strength" training and weighted mobility can be thin. This can be the case for mace / club / gada training.

If we are not moving weights, but are just practicing the sport, body composition will adapt by itself and it will be some kind of "outcome". For instance, if we consider a fight sport based on striking, the person will likely to develop mainly fast twitch fibers over slow ones. It will be the contrary for someone who runs marathons.

This is the call for S. Maxwell. In his opinion, the best way to be good at a move or sport, is to practice it, without anything else to avoid imparing the technique. In his opinion, if we keep using the fight sport, it would not be such a good idea to throw punches with very light weights or even resistance bands.

In my opinion, since I use little resistance for my punches and do massive amount of foot work with very little weights in the hands (2kg in each hand), my boxing is way better (more endurance, more conditioning, more speed and power, but no loss of technique quality). When I look at the scale, despite these very little weights, I tend to gain some muscle mass. This is partially due to proper nutrition in the meanwhile. My body composition did not drastically change. I am simply a little bit more "toned".

Al kavadlo is able to lift almost 2x his bodyweight (if I remember correctly an article), even if he exclusively train with calisthenics.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 
Can we say a gymnast is "weaker" than a strongman, even pound for pound ? If we let the gymnast a few months to learn strongman skills, how will it perform ? Same question for the strongman. Then, it would be interesting to compare the two. It would permit to see how well a "bodyweight mover" can adapt to a "weight mover" and vice versa.
Pet'
305pelusa did that challenge a while back, training BW his unprogrammed barbell numbers were very impressive. I dare say the average person who could do his barbell numbers wouldn't be able to do a fraction of the BW lifts he is capable of - admittedly he is far from average.

But on a closer look a lot of it depends on the specific exercise. If I'm doing pushups with a sandbag across my back, I'm definitely engaging a lot more muscle than the equivalent bench press - but that's cheating because I'm using weights...

It is a lot more challenging to use BW only due to the progressions that have to be mastered along the way.

But, the question is important if we're trying to change out body composition to more muscle. Here, weights have to be preferred if they are available.
It is way easier to adjust lifting cadence, TUT, rep/set/loading, set extenders when using external weights, and this is the stuff of making reliable, predictable body comp changes.
 

pet'

> 6k Posts
Hello,

@North Coast Miller
Oh yes I remember this challenge now !

In fine, I do not think we have to bring into opposition bodyweight training and weightlifting (barbell, kettlebell or whatever). They are just ways to get stronger.

Someone who is able to perfom 50 full pistol squats each side, as mentioned in an SF article, may have good back / front squat number. Same goes for someone able to do several OA chin in a row and a weighted pull up, etc...

So for this person, would it be "necessary" to get even more reps to lift heavier weights ? Would it not be enough for the simple Joe ? Would it be worth to get injured

One of my boxing teacher, who performed at national level, is now only using bodyweight training. He picks up different moves and position from other fields, such as yoga, to create his physical maintenance program. This, combined with an excellent technique, makes him extremely strong. He is extremely focused when he performed the move. My other teacher used only rubber bands and what Pavel calls full tension.

Multi-joint training maybe the way to go to build functional movement (as I guess this is what @Kozushi is talking about).

Is it "better" to do 2 or 3 OAOL Push up with elevated feet, or "only" 1 rep of an heavier standard overhead press ? I do not know but both leads to greater strength.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 
@pet'

I agree. Am still puzzling a bit of this out in my own mind. When it comes to GPP or largely non specialized fitness does it even matter if you can squat more weight than you could ever pick up off the ground and lift to your shoulders, or bench more weight than you can wiggle under, or deadlift more weight than you can possibly align under your shoulders using anything other than a barbell?

I'm sure it does, but to what extent? It wouldn't even be an issue really, except that we need to match our goals/expected outcomes to the means available - not everyone has a squat rack or Smith machine at home. This has become increasingly relevant to me since switching to a lot of sandbag work - everything starts with getting it off the ground.
 

pet'

> 6k Posts
Hello,

@North Coast Miller
You are right. This is the famous question "how much is enough ?" regarding what you are able to lift, no matter the way we train.

Regardless the "efficiency" of the method, maybe the weight training is easier and faster because there are less progression moves. We "just" have to progressively increasing the weight, so there is less the thing of dialing the technique.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I'm tempted to go into the kettlebell forum and say barbell training beats kettlebell training...
It is, quite literally, all good, all very good.

Here is but one example of the tradeoffs involved. I'm lately a big fan of the one-armed pushup. I find it has better carryover for me than any other press I've ever done. But the downside is that it's tough, even with all the progressions outlines in the NW and taught at our bw certs and courses. It's just not as easy to get to learn, not as approachable, as pressing a kettlebell overhead.

So, now, close to 20 years into my strength training career, I can do a one-arm, one-leg pushup. But all my previous attempts were unsuccessful.

What conclusion might I draw from this? In my case, none. Different lifts, different learning curves, I'm a different student than I was then, and the list of differences goes on and on. I am very happy to have both a kettlebell press and a one-armed pushup in my arsenal, and I will continue to practice both and choose which to train based on what I feel best suits my needs at the time.

-S-
 

Glen

> 1k Posts
Interesting topic

Feel this discussion brings up the difference between training to get strong, and training to get stronger AT something.

Bodyweight, barbell l, kettlebell, bands, machines are all just tools each with pros and cons - often different between each equivalent movement amongst the tools.

That in my mind marks out a good trainer/ trainee - looking at the tools available and choosing the best tool for the appropriate job. If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail
 

Chrisdavisjr

> 1k Posts
, or deadlift more weight than you can possibly align under your shoulders using anything other than a barbell?
I read somewhere in Starting Strength that lifting the heaviest weights possible in an ideal situation (i.e. with a barbell) will prepare you to lift considerably lighter loads in less than ideal situations (lawnmowers, washing machines etc.).

Granted, you could just practise lifting washing machines and lawnmowers but I feel that sensible barbell training has a significantly lower risk of injury. That said, there's plenty of people who have injured themselves outside of the gym by having the mistaken impression that having an easy 400+lb deadlift in the gym automatically qualifies them to handle similar weights outside of it.
 

Kozushi

> 3k Posts
I'm tempted to go into the kettlebell forum and say barbell training beats kettlebell training...
I don't think you'd get a lot of people disagreeing, but you can do different, more complicated movements with kettlebells that you can't do with a barbell. I train both, and bodyweight too, hahaha!
 

Kozushi

> 3k Posts
I read somewhere in Starting Strength that lifting the heaviest weights possible in an ideal situation (i.e. with a barbell) will prepare you to lift considerably lighter loads in less than ideal situations (lawnmowers, washing machines etc.).

Granted, you could just practise lifting washing machines and lawnmowers but I feel that sensible barbell training has a significantly lower risk of injury. That said, there's plenty of people who have injured themselves outside of the gym by having the mistaken impression that having an easy 400+lb deadlift in the gym automatically qualifies them to handle similar weights outside of it.
This is exactly the situation in judo and similar wrestling sports. The judo movements we do can benefit enormously from lifting weights, but only if you know how to do the judo movements first.
 

George Locke

Double-Digit Post Count
It is, quite literally, all good, all very good.
I don't think you'd get a lot of people disagreeing, but you can do different, more complicated movements with kettlebells that you can't do with a barbell. I train both, and bodyweight too, hahaha!
Sorry, I'm new here, and I should've known you're not saying something so silly as "X>Y for all people everywhere." I'll try and reserve my snark for more appropriate occasions.
 

Kozushi

> 3k Posts
Sorry, I'm new here, and I should've known you're not saying something so silly as "X>Y for all people everywhere." I'll try and reserve my snark for more appropriate occasions.
I could have likely worded my initial post better.

Indeed I'm not thinking of "what is better". Clearly both are better, hahaha! I've got limited training time and energy so I'm always thinking of how to prioritize what for what results. It sort of dawned on me that when I'm doing a military press for instance that my legs are holding up all the weight even if the press is not a "leg move" but if I'm doing a handstand pushup against the wall my legs are holding up even less weight than when standing still waiting for the bus. So, which move is building more muscle in more places through the body? I vote the barbell press. But the ability to actually flip yourself over and do a handstand press is remarkable and a whole 'nother level of athleticism! In any case, I can't press my own bodyweight yet over my head nor have I ever done a handstand pushup (although I do lots of cartwheels, round offs, handstand springs from back rolls etc...)
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

> 1k Posts
It is, quite literally, all good, all very good.

Here is but one example of the tradeoffs involved. I'm lately a big fan of the one-armed pushup. I find it has better carryover for me than any other press I've ever done. But the downside is that it's tough, even with all the progressions outlines in the NW and taught at our bw certs and courses. It's just not as easy to get to learn, not as approachable, as pressing a kettlebell overhead.

So, now, close to 20 years into my strength training career, I can do a one-arm, one-leg pushup. But all my previous attempts were unsuccessful.

What conclusion might I draw from this? In my case, none. Different lifts, different learning curves, I'm a different student than I was then, and the list of differences goes on and on. I am very happy to have both a kettlebell press and a one-armed pushup in my arsenal, and I will continue to practice both and choose which to train based on what I feel best suits my needs at the time.

-S-
Could wet get a video of your OAPU sometime steve?
 
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