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Building Muscle Mass With Bodyweight Exercise

Bodyweight training is a tried and true method of working out. It’s been around for hundreds of years, but with the advent of newer technologies like weight machines, people have started to wonder if one is better than the other.

Athletes and personal trainers swear by this method which can sometimes be misconstrued as only for beginners, but can you gain muscle with just bodyweight exercises?

Bodyweight exercises can help to build amazing muscle mass and strength if you use the following principles: increase reps, decrease rest times, perform variations, train to failure. Varying your workouts will also keep things fresh along with training to failure for more intense results!

In recent years, the surge of at-home workouts have sparked the curiosity of sole body-weight training workouts. Equipment can be pricey — especially at-home circuit training gear, bikes, or even items like kettlebells or resistance bands. While those items may be helpful, your body alone could give you the results you are looking for. 

On the other hand, weight training has many benefits. The main one being that it boosts metabolism which in turn can help burn fat more quickly. With weight training there is the added bonus of having lots of variety.

Walking into a gym can be intimidating with that fancy workout equipment that looks confusing, but simple add-ins like free weights or resistance bands can make a difference. 

The common idea that body-weight training is not as effective as weight training is untrue. Some would argue that it can be more effective, but it all depends on fitness goals.

While weight training offers the advantage of bulking up on muscle quickly, bodyweight training is easier on joints and can be done anywhere at any time. 

What is Body-Weight Training?

Bodyweight training is a type of strength training by using only one’s body for resistance. There are many advantages to bodyweight training, perhaps the first one being that it is free.

Bodyweight training does not require any additional accessories to complete a workout. Simply going through exercises like push ups, crunches, and planks can get you to your fitness goals. 

Unlike weight training, body weight training is highly accessible. With hundreds of online avenues promoting at-home work out with little or no equipment needed, it’s easy to get a quick workout in. These workouts can vary across fitness levels, from beginner to advanced, bodyweight workouts can challenge anyone. 

Bodyweight training can also aid in mobility and stability whereas weight training could actually limit mobility. With bodyweight training, the intention is to hone in with slow measured movements meant to strengthen and stabilize your muscles.

This method can sometimes mimic daily tasks which is referred to as functional training. For example, squatting down to pick something up. This action challenges your body, but through bodyweight training, your movements can become more controlled and less strained. 

While there are many advantages to bodyweight training, there are disadvantages as well — mainly, is that it can take some time to see desired results.

There may be little to low reward based on how much time you spend solely doing bodyweight training. For anyone looking for quick results, bodyweight training may not be the best option for you.

Furthermore, higher reps may be needed to reach a certain goal, but it may take some time to do so. 

What is Weight Training?

Weight training is a type of strength training in which the use of additional weights are used to contract the muscles. To achieve success with weight training many refer to the acronym, FITT.

FITT refers to frequency of training, intensity of training, time spent, and type of exercise. Many use this as a reminder when crafting workout plans know that each will affect their results.

Weight training has the capability to build more muscle mass and boost metabolism. By adding heavier weights to your workout and doing fewer reps, you can add new muscle mass more quickly.  Whereas using light weights, for example bodyweight, with higher reps focuses on muscle endurance, not necessarily on building muscle. 

It’s possible that you or your muscles could get bored by repeating the same maneuvers over and over again. However, weight training can offer some relief to this since you can easily increase the weight of your next rep. This will keep your muscles engaged to keep pushing through your workout without reaching an early stopping point. 

While weight training is a great option to get fast results it can be dangerous and lead to serious injury. The main hang-up with weight training is knowing your body’s limits.

It can be tempting to try to push yourself to a higher weight or just do one more rep, but this could cost you. Lifting weights that are too heavy for you could cause serious joint or muscle damage.

It’s important to pace yourself, and listen to your body’s signals. If something is too heavy to point at which pain occurs, stop immediately. 

Is Bodyweight Training as Effective as Weight Training?

There has been lots of debate over which style of strength training is most effective, bodyweight training or weight training. Both are effective in burning calories, and building muscle.

But, looking when looking closely at bodyweight training compared to weight training, sources agree that bodyweight training can be as effective as weight training.

Some argue that bodyweight training is better than weight training for various reasons including, less susceptible to injury, more range of motion and flexibility, and it builds better technique.

In fact, researchers in Brazil determined that bodyweight training and weight training are nearly identical from the other in terms of building muscle (Menshealth.com). 

Trainer and personal fitness writer, Jason Ferrugia says, “Bodyweight training is incredibly effective for building muscle. Some would even argue that it’s better than free weights.

Bodyweight exercises don’t beat up your joints as much as traditional weight training exercises do. They allow for a more natural range of motion and improve your overall athleticism quite effectively.” 

Ideally though, your workout contains a mix of both weight training and bodyweight training. There is no rule that says you cannot use both as effective measures to reach your fitness goals. Both work nearly interchangeably. 

Final Thoughts on Can You Gain Muscle With Just Bodyweight Exercises

Determining your fitness goals may include choosing between which type of strength training may be best for you. While both bodyweight training and weight training can produce the same results, one may be more effective in getting that result quicker.

Depending on the type of workout desired whether it’s at-home with little to no equipment, bodyweight training is probably best. However, if building up muscle mass and burning fat quickly is your goal then weight training could be the answer for you. 

Bodyweight training offers many advantages — mainly is the accessibility of such workouts. As mentioned previously, the rise of at-home workouts has skyrocketed resulting in many websites offering free workouts.

Bodyweight workouts are free and can be customizable to fit you and your schedule. These types of workout can also help with flexibility, and stabilizing your muscles while being safe in preventing possible injuries by heavy machinery or weights. 

Weight training is just as effective as bodyweight training, but could have faster results. Using weights to push your muscles can boost your metabolism which in turn can also burn fat more quickly.

By practicing a few reps with increased weight as opposed to more reps at a lower rate, you will be sure to pack on the muscle. However, dealing with weights does have the potential for injury like joint or muscle damage. Any advanced work that requires a spotter should be done with caution. 

It’s important to know your body’s limits when working out. Push too hard and you could cause serious harm, but lack of effort could hinder your results.

Both methods of strength training are viable options, nearly indistinguishable from the other in terms of building muscle. Choosing the best option is based solely on what fits your fitness needs. 

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Sources: menshealth.com; dummies.com; mayoclinic.org; gethealthyu.com

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