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Thread: Weights vs. Bodyweight? page

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    Dedaw's Avatar
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    Weights vs. Bodyweight?

    Primal Fuel
    I have a question for you guys that I've always been slightly curious of, and think I already know the answer here. Anyways, on with the question. Which is better: using primarily weights or using bodyweight exercises? I'm 17 years old, and averagely strong when it comes to someone my age and size. However, no matter how much I lift, I'm still not very skilled with bodyweight exercises (pull-ups, and bodyweight dips are rather tough for me to do more than a few properly). Also, when I do squats(2x5 at 205, last time) and overhead press, I feel a sort of pressure in my lower back, and definitely worry about that damaging the discs in my back and stunting my growth(I'm ~5'6"- so, all the height I can get is very appreciated), however, I've heard both that it can and can not stunt your growth(one of the biggest/strongest trainers in our gym tells me to try and stick to bodyweight and light weights to keep from stunting my growth).

    My question is, should I stick mainly to bodyweight exercises and/or light reps(i.e. doing pistol squats instead of weighted squats, pushups, pull-ups, etc. and using weighted vests or dumb bells when needed) or should I stick to my current regiment of lifting heavy weights. Currently, I'm leaning more towards the bodyweight exercises, but am not totally sure. I've heard many times from many people that it is rather hard to gain mass and very much strength-I could definitely use more of each - when sticking with bodyweight. What are your experiences and advice? I'm trying to go as Primal as possible here.

    Thanks for any replies!

    P.S. I'm going for a physique along the lines of my avatar (Brad Pitt in Fight Club-good luck right?) and want a functional, ripped, fighting physique.

    P.S.S I do not mean to completely cut out heavy weights, but mainly focus on bodyweight type exercises with the occasional heavy lifting (deadlifts, etc).

    EDIT: Just read Training Naked by Mark, and he states that training bodyweight is the way to go. So... how have your guys' strength and mass improved from doing bodyweight exercises?
    Last edited by Dedaw; 02-14-2011 at 05:10 PM.

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    Based on your goal, and in my opinion an overall healthier approach, i'd say Bodyweight and some kettlebell training. I'm 44 and gave up weights over a year ago, I feel better, no injuries, and i'm in the best shape of my life. You can definitely build muscle on just Bodyweight exercises alone.

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    Thank you. Exactly what I was looking to hear! I want to lose bodyfat and add some muscle to get that coveted "beach body", without injuring myself or overtraining either.

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    I'd say include both. At 17 you still have the luxury of youth and a body that will grow and recover quickly.
    Even if you just stick with the big four compounds (or suitable variations) to build some mass and raw strength.
    As far as fighting physique goes, there are plenty of lightweight (155 lb) MMA fighters who can pull 500lbs in the dead lift.
    Just food for thought.

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    Dude, you are 17. Put on some muscle and lift weights. It won't be any easier when you are 27, 37, 47... in fact you are in your prime now so if you are having some pains maybe it is just form. Personally I think bodyweight is mostly maintenance and doesn't do much for gaining unless you add weight via a dip belt.

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    I'm not a dude, and I'm not 17, but this site may be of interest: http://oldtimelifting.com/articles/a-dirty-dozen/.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dedaw View Post
    I've heard both that it can and can not stunt your growth(one of the biggest/strongest trainers in our gym tells me to try and stick to bodyweight and light weights to keep from stunting my growth).
    Strength Training for Kids: Weights Or Wait?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dedaw View Post
    I've heard many times from many people that it is rather hard to gain mass and very much strength-I could definitely use more of each - when sticking with bodyweight.
    First, you should try to find out how to stimulate muscle growth. Then learn how to apply that stimulus in a safe manner. However, how much muscle mass you're able to grow is completely dependent on your genetics.

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    As my Olympic Lifting coach would repeat over and over, "If you want to lift heavy things, you have to lift heavy things." It's as simple as that.

    If you want to train to be able to lift just your body weight, then train body weight.

    Heavy deads and squats will build strength in ways that cannot be replicated with just body weight exercises.
    Striving to live a life extraordinary.

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    Dedaw's Avatar
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    Going to respond to everybody as a whole, instead of individually. I was asking more along the lines of how well can I gain mass and strength doing only bodyweight exercises vs. weighted exercises. I will not completely cut out weighted exercises, but cut down on the use of them a lot. I want to know if I will be able to see decent gains in mass and strength. I will still incorporate some exercises like deadlift, squat, and cleans-because I absolutely love them- but not often because they hurt my back.

    Spughy, thanks for the link. Definitely an interesting read.

  10. #10
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    If your back hurts then you're doing something wrong, whether it's technique, or increasing too fast (muscular strength usually goes up faster than other soft tissue, eg ligaments and tendons), or something else. Lower back pain is usually a signal for limited mobility in either the thoracic spine, or the hips, which you'll want to fix.

    Lifting weights will get you strength faster than bodyweight exercises, but as above, it might not be the best thing if your connective tissue can't keep up. Most weightlifting movements have a bodyweight analog of some sort, except for deadlifts -- I'm not really sure that good mornings count. As far as the physique you want, bodyweight ought to get you there. Check out Al Kavadlo's blog, he works almost exclusively with bodyweight.

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