Body weight training or weight training with equipment... What do you prefer? Why?


There is SO much that you can do out there for training. I have done everything from Beach Body, to free online training work outs, and most recently finding body weight training that leads to new skills.
I went through a rigorous 18 week training twice where I was just lifting weights. I got to the point where now I was able to lift and carry massive weight like an air compressor by myself. I was able to pick up my kids with one hand. I couldn't hold myself on a bar to do leg lefts for very long.
After starting the body weight training, I regained my flexibility and now on the path to getting full splits, I can do 2 pull ups consecutively, and the movements dovetail with my martial arts training.
I noticed that with body weight training that there were almost no equipment requirements. I could do it anywhere. I did not need to go to a gym or obtain equipment to lift.
I guess it depends on your goals.
What do you prefer? Why? What are you training for?

Weight Training
Fitness Training
Body Weight Training
David Krantz, EIT, LEED AP
57 months ago

7 answers


Both body weight training and training with free weights or equipment can be efficacious. Key variables in making a choice are exercise load and specificity of training. For many individulas body weight will not provide an adeqaute resistive load to promote muscle strengthening. Individuals will have to supplement their exercises with weights. Of course, a weighted vest, cuff weights, or hand-held weights may suffice to increase the resistive load during bodyweight training. There is considerable evidence for the value, even superiority, of body weight training for older adults performing everyday activities such as sit-to-stands, stair negotiation, and jumping. For them, body weight may be a sufficient load to improve performance at the specifically trained activities. I can provide references if desired.

Richard Bohannon
57 months ago

Hi all depends upon your condition and the intersection of your goals and safety.

I mostly used free weights and some machines or "guided equipment (squats especially) to go from 132 pounds in high school to over 250 pounds over 5 years. Free weights helped me enormously with gaining extreme focus and a feel for what was doing the work. I used machines where free weights just could not cover the work or where I wanted true muscular isolation. I often used a combination, like with biceps and triceps. I rarely tried to max out like an idiot - excuse me there - bt rather shot for three sets of any motion - ten, five to seven and then two to three reps with about two to three minutes in between, usually taken up by a lifting partner. I'd get one. Important for motivation, disciple on work and safety via spotting.

Hope that helps.


Adam Malofsky, PhD
57 months ago
Agree - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

Keep moving and you will discover what works for you.
Weight training is great for reviving a slow metabolism.
I agree it is vital to be able to exercise anywhere.
Yoga will tune up everything especially balance and coordination.
Going swimming,

Jennifer Hall, PhD
57 months ago
balance and coordination = aging adults - Dr. David E. 43 months ago

Everything is a preference and it is important to balance both.
I personally love body weight training. For building endurance, flexibility and muscle tone body weight training is an absolute,, must. However, if you are looking to bulk up, work on specific areas of the body, concentrated weight training is imperative.
I have clients that want definition and think that they will only get it through weight training, that is not true! Try swimming, yoga, Pilates or even a class with a ballet bar. Add some push ups and lunges and you are good to go.

Susanne Kauderer, MBA, CIHC
57 months ago
I agree. To bulk up in an area of your body (eg- buttock/glutes) weight training is the way to go. - Andrea 57 months ago

I personally use both gym equipment at home and stretching and body weight training plus walking for cardiovascular training. I am just trying to stay in shape and maintain my weight. For my patients depending on the situation I recommend a similar routine to help with stress, help the lymphatic system move around and help with metabolism and hormone release. Being sedentary is called the new smoking so I recommend this in different forms to all my patients and practice it myself.

Keith Kantor
57 months ago

It is personal to where the person is at the time.

  1. just starting out they may not have enough strength to do body work so weight machines or resistance exercise equipment may be helpful to get started + if injury prevents body work, weights can be a good alternative to work around injury & rehab.
  2. If they have the strength to do body workout, great. Yoga, ti chi,.....
  3. If they want to go further in strength, weights are great for that goal. Weight-bearing increase bone desnity, tones,....
  4. HIIT can use both together to increase strength, metabolism, tone, weigh loss,....
Jacquie Walburn
57 months ago

Both in various mixes of exercises or equipment as well as time doing weight based or body weight exercising.

Randy Vogenberg, PhD
56 months ago

Have some input?