Which Is Better: Body Weight Training Or Weightlifting?
Which is better: body weight training or weightlifting? Both have epic health benefits. How’s this: 23% – this is the reduction in risk of premature death in people who regularly did body-weight training. Weight train twice a week and you could cut your long-term risk of cardiac death by a whopping 41%. So… when it comes to the gains, which one wins?
Most lifting moves are open-chain (you pull/push an object) and body-weight exercises are often closed-chain (you move your body). So? Closed chain moves boost lower-body strength 18 percent more than open chain.
Lifting weights is associated with a 37 percent reduction in risk of metabolic syndrome, which can be a cause of heart disease and diabetes. This is thought to be due to the increase in muscle mass.
READ MORE: Which Is Actually Better: Cardio Or Weights?
Body weight training: You can train absolutely anywhere. Body-weight exercises don’t require any equipment and can be done in confined spaces. Guns can be built on a balcony in Benoni or a farm in KZN.
Lifting: Loading up isolated areas in exercises such as biceps curls, leg extensions and lat pull-downs means you have total control over which part of your body you want to work. Ideal if you’re recovering from injury.
Body weight training: If you’re after Wonder Woman-esque strength, just using your body weight will limit you eventually because you can’t load your moves to make them more challenging.
Lifting: Heavy lifting spikes your blood pressure, which could cause complications if you’re at high risk for heart conditions. And if your form is off, you could hurt yourself pretty badly. So make sure you go over your medical history with a professional before you hit the weights and learn the form before you go heavy.
The expert verdict
Body weight training: “Weightlifting carries a higher risk of injury than body-weight training, so the latter is great for a beginner. Training this way also enhances balance, agility and flexibility.” – Bradley Simmonds, personal trainer
Lifting: “Strength training burns fat and builds lean muscle. Using equipment allows you to track your progress and increase the load to maximise your results.” – Laura Hoggins, personal trainer
The killer move
Body weight training: Holding a plank is hard enough, but if you want to amp up the burn, try a cross-body plank toe-tap variation. Start in high plank, then lift your bum up and reach one hand back to touch the opposite foot. Continue alternating sides for as long as you’d normally hold your plank. You’ll be burning.
Lifting: The old Olympic stalwart, clean and press, is a dynamic move that hits multiple muscle groups and elevates your heart rate – basically a fat burner’s dream. Start with a modest weight and focus on technique to avoid hurting your back.
For the win?
Weightlifting. Body-weight workouts are a great option for holidays when you just want to keep your fitness ticking over. But when it comes to everyday training, they won’t elevate your gains quite like pumping iron.