Bodyweight Training versus Weight Lifting

As movement specialists we are always looking for better ways to harness the positive affects of the right kind of movement and activity in our lives.  As health and fitness methods evolve there is often debate about the effectiveness of traditional vs Bodyweight training.

Today’s blog explores the pros and cons of each of these types of training.  We hope it will shed some light on how we choose our training methods for each individual, and allows you to get closer to accessing the most effective approach for your own training endeavours.

Even though the gap between Bodyweight and traditional weight training is bridged by all sorts of innovations such as kettlebells, vipr, medicine balls, clubs, we will polarise the conversation in order to get to grips with the real differences between the two, and how they might be relevant in a training scenario.

Let’s take a closer look at each approach.


Bodyweight training

Overlapping Patterns


Sometimes, different movements contain joint combinations that are similar to one another and therefore may carry over in terms of their benefits to physical performance.

An example of this would be an exercise such as spider walks – the movement looks very little like gait but will have a great carryover since these motions both require good range of motion at the toes in order to be done well.

The more complex a movement, the more likely it is to overlap with other patterns.  On the other hand, the more outside weight you use, the more simple the movement is likely to be.  Bodyweight movements are therefore more likely to be complex enough to carry over to other things.

Complex Movements


Since outside agencies such as weights will alter the intrinsic balance of the body, it can make it more difficult to use complex movements which require freedom in three planes of motion.

Exercises aimed at reinforcing a joint or muscle by focusing attention in isolation any have a limited carryover to real life movement.  This is particularly true if they only involve a concentric (shortening) type of muscle action and not a lengthening first (eccentric to concentric) motion.  In real life, shortening of a muscle is always preceded by a lengthening, or ‘loading’ phase.

Training with complex motions increases the likelihood that you access the true three dimensional potential of your joints and soft tissues.  There are a host of factors in the setup of our bodies that hint to the benefits of doing this: The shape of our joints, origins and insertions of muscles, skeletal mechanisms for rejuvenation, and even the design of our vestibular (balance) system.




Games are often omited from training regimens to make way for organised and carefully planned activities. This is surprising since ‘real life’ and sporting scenarios nearly always consist of unpredictable outside influences such as a partner, teammate or opponent.  Movement Games are a fun and interesting way of nurturing our reactions and our power of improvisation.


Real Strength versus tagged on strength


Using the body as a cohesive unit brings about a kind of strength that reinforces the body from the inside out.  Challenging the various segments, joints and soft tissues as well as including a coordination and randomness can give us protection for future challenges.  On the flip side, if we build muscle just for the sake of building muscle, it’s less likely that the structures of the body will be prepared for the added strength when it comes to new situations.



Weight Training

Measurable progress


Overload Principle


The overload principle when related to the muscular system refers to the practice of continually increasing the stress placed on the muscle as it becomes capable of producing greater force or has greater endurance.

In simple terms it means your body gets better at the stuff you do if you keep doing it.

This is an area that links in well with motivation and consistency, because using simple weight training is a great way of harnessing the overload principle in order to provide ongoing feedback and objective measurements of progress.

As with anything, success and growth don’t happen overnight.  Benchmarks on the road to our goals and aspirations are an essential part of maintaining and accelerating a compelling fitness journey.  A simple and effective weight training is a great tool with which to do this.

Bodyweight training  progressions can seem a little vague unless you can dedicate time to master them.  A simple and effective weight training approach can be great for those who work well with structure and numbers.

Systemic benefits of lifting heavy


When we increase the forces we present to the body and challenge our current capacity.  This creates a number of systemic affects including an increase in human growth hormone, which is known to increase muscle mass.  It also has the additional benefits such as strengthening bone, metabolising body fat, and thickening and tightening the skin.

Lifting weights is a very effective way of stimulating Hypertrophy (muscle growth).  This has the obvious positive effect on body composition (by adding muscle tone).  It also happens indirectly by shifting our hormonal and metabolic balance towards an environment or optimal fat mobilisation.



Getting a PB in a heavy lift or simply the feeling of strength and achievement from lifting a heavy weight is a great feeling.

We are fortunate in our roles as trainers to be able to witness the positive effects on people as they gain confidence in their bodies.  Much of this is comes when they begin to perceive themselves as strong and athletic.




As with most things, it’s best not to place yourself in one camp or another.  Instead, assess your current situation and use a knowledge of your own interests and traits to choose the right combinations of different types of training.

At Joint Dynamics we pride ourselves on being able to protect and develop our clients at and above the highest of standards.

One of our guiding principles that we adhere to with each Joint Dynamics client, is first we teach you to move like an athlete so we can load you effectively and safely like an athlete, therefore accelerating you towards your goals.