Free Weights vs Body Weight – Which One Is Better For You


Exercises are essential for becoming healthier and fitter. Whether you go to a gym or you do them outside or at your home, they are the most effective way to burn fat and to create muscles. Combined with a healthy diet, there they are the cornerstone of a long and healthy life. If you have trained for some time, there is no way you haven’t asked yourself which is better – body weights or free weights.

If you ask around the gym you will find people certain that either the one or the other is the best and everything else is a waste of time. Well what we can say for certain is that there are benefits in both camps, and with both you can achieve great results. The difference between them is not that one of them is pointless, but they affect in different way your body.

For example body weight exercises, also known as calisthenics, are the best way to improve functional movements that are used in daily life. So it all depends why are you training. If you want to be able to climb higher mountains and run further, than the best things you can do are jumping on boxes, or running the stairs – using your body weight. But if you want to be able to lift heavier and  heavier objects, than free weights is the way to go.

Free weights are better if you want to build strength. If you want to do this all you really need is to lift heavier and heavier objects. This is quite difficult to be done with body weight, so here free weights are the best choice. The same goes for building muscle. To increase the volume you need to increase constantly three factors – reps, sets, and load. There is no problem meeting the first two factors with body weight, but constantly increasing the load can be quite a problem. It’s not impossible to gain the same effect with calisthenics, but it requires much more skills and learning, than simply increasing the weight of what you lift.

A disadvantage of free weights are the money you need to spend on them. To use free weights you need either to go to gym or to buy weights and equipment to train at home. On the other hand body weight training is basically free.

Free weights have their own advantages. One of them is as simple as targeting a specific muscle group. Because of its nature, calisthenics targets several muscle groups at once. Depending on what your goal is, this can be either a good or a bad thing. If you want to specifically increase your biceps, you can’t do this via body weight exercises. Free weights are perfect while you want to train during injury recovery. In this way you can exclude the injured body part completely from the training.

So which one is better? Well, it depends on what your goal is. If you want to increase your agility and capability to move through space and in life or if you simply like to train in open air and, body weights is the way to go.  If you want to be a giant mountain of muscles and to be able to lift a bus – free weights are for you.

No matter what anyone says, the best thing to do is to just start exercising. Simply starting to move more will help your body to get fitter and your health will improve. As for which one you should do – body weight or free weight – the answer is “Do them both”. Both of them have benefits, why not take advantage of all of them?