When I brainstorm ideas for my blog posts, I always like to write about things that I would want to read. As an Indian fitness enthusiast, that too in college, it’s difficult to find even a modicum content that resonates with people like me; of my budget constraints, moderate resources at hand and other small things that might seem small and trivial, but end up making the biggest of differences.
For instance, I can’t really afford a Rs. 5000 box of whey protein, or I can’t have chicken and other poultry protein twice a day, or I don’t have access to the best of gyms at college. Even though none of those things can never stop me from working towards my goals, they sure as hell make it a lot harder. So here’s to the people out there like me, here’s to the people who look at Christian Guzman, and Steve Cook and Calum Von Moger and Frank Maderno with awe, drooling at their rippling physiques.
Here’s to the younger me!
Body Weight Vs Free Weights
I’ve never been the body weight guy. I like to see my progress in front of my eyes. Call it impatience. But I like to see my progressions go up from an empty bar, to 45 Kg on the bench press, or from 5 Kg to 25Kg on the dumbbell curls, or the countless other times when I can see how much more I can rep on the highest possible weight my body can sustain.
Body weights are a different world in that aspect. There isn’t much room for progression, I’ll be honest, I’m not the expert on the topic. But as someone who doesn’t like the idea, I’ll tell you why I don’t prefer them personally, and leave the choice up to you.
It’s not like I never tried body weight training. It’s just that it’s not, well, I guess exciting is the word for it.
I like curling 25’s while no one can cross 15, I like benching 50 when the closest guy can only bench 30. It’s a matter of coming on top, shining. The need to be the frontrunner, has always prevailed in our kind, it’s almost like an invisible driving force, pushing us to compete with each other to bring out the best in us. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Well, psychologically free weights make sense. They’re optimal to show off, if you will. And they give you a sense of accomplishment that is seldom found elsewhere. But that is not enough to brush off body weight training, it has its merits as well.
Body weight training gives you a level of versatility that is just not possible with free weights.
You can’t exactly pack up your dumbbell set and bring it back home from the gym. But you can always churn out 100 push-ups no matter where you are. BWT also gives you freedom, freedom from weights and even freedom from people. People like me, we want someone around us when we work out, to spot us, or to motivate us to do more. But that’s not the case everywhere, I know a lot of folks that just like a discreet workout either early morning, or late night. Away from judgmental eyes, away from anyone who might make them uncomfortable. Or maybe just to keep away from the people who come to chit chat and take selfies more than working out.
BWT gives a natural movement, that provides a injury proof (almost) way of exercising.
Evolutionarily speaking, our bodies were not meant to do the cable row or a dumbbell press for exercising our back. We were meant to do pull ups. What I mean is, BWT is more natural. It gives less room for injury or any error in general. Sure, you can still get injured in either of the two methods, but BW is much less likely so.
It is a thumb rule in FWT that you must have the correct movement to really impact the target muscle group. Without this conscious focus, your effort is going to waste. But with BWT, there is little room for this kind of error. BWT involves movements that mimic natural body movement, things that are bodies are meant to be doing. I don’t mean to make it sound like its better (or worse for that matter) than FW or any other method for that matter. But I just feel that it’s a more natural way of training the body. There aren’t a lot of ways you could mess up doing a pull up. I mean, it’s almost as if your body knows what it is doing.
BWT is a much more holistic approach to being healthy.
My daily routine involves stretching at the end and the beginning at my workouts. That is because FW don’t have an element of flexibility in them. But BWT does! That’s the beauty of BWT, it includes everything you will need to have a complete healthy body. It also is a faster way of training the entire body, without having to do individual muscle group workouts. Its compound movements give you a full body workout much faster than FWT. You need to do fewer exercises to get the same impact on your entire body as you would with FWT. It is basically a one stop shop way to get fit, wherever whenever.
BWT is also ideal for those people, women in particular, that fear that FWT might make their bodies look more masculine.
Even though it is a huge hoax that lifting weights will make you bulk up and look like a ‘man’, and even though I can punch a million holes in that theory, people who are truly convinced of it will stay tethered to their beliefs. In their case, BWT is the way to go. They can use it as an avenue to get healthy and not lose the ‘shape’ that they want to maintain.
It might seem that with numerous benefits and the level of convenience, what possibly could people not like in body weight training? Well, the one major thing that it lacks is intensity. Like I said before, people like to see that they are progression with putting more weights on the bar. People like to see that they can push their bodies to the limits and still stay in one piece. Somehow, their improvement is connected to how much weight they can sustain. Somehow this is a good way of marking your improvement. Surely, if you can life a weight that you couldn’t a week ago, it means that you are getting stronger.
Well, there you have it, that’s my two piece on both of those methods. I tried to make it as unbiased as possible, in the hope that I can give you all I know about them so that you can make an informed decision. I strongly feel that which method you use if not a matter of logic, or best choice, but simply what feels right. I know, it sounds too clichéd, but once you get into the groove of something that works for you, it’s hard to validate it through logic.
Chalo, until next time!