Body weight exercise vs. lifting weights
Date: Thurs, 24 Feb 2005
I received an email from a soldier in Iraq recently. I intended to reprint it here, but my email application crashed and I lost it. Anyway, he wanted to know if he should focus on body weight exercise or weight lifting.
The short answer is both.
Now let me tell you why.
I’m aware that some Exercise Gurus advocate body weight exercise over all else. I don’t think that’s good advice . . .but it’s great niche marketing!
Both is best. I change my routine all the time. Partly because I like to keep it fresh, and avoid adapting, and partly because my schedule is subject to interruptions and I need to workout when I can, however I can.
Here’s what I did last week.
Kettlebells 3 days – twice with my Mighty Kettlebell Class, and once on my own:
I warmed up with body weight exercises - Sun Salutation, pistols, ab work, one arm push ups using a kettlebell (painful), then Shaolin Bridges. If you want to learn the difference between Shaolin Bridges and regular bridges, it’s in my book Shaolin Fitness Secrets. Basically, you do a bridge with your head off the floor, then life each arm and leg in succession.
After that I did approximately 6 kettlebell exercises, which I change each week on a four week rotation. I finished with stretching and a run.
I also spared and wrestled for about 90 minutes, and did forms twice for about 45 minutes total.
Add in some random stretching, kicks and bag work that I did with classes I taught, or in between, and that gave me a pretty nice mix of things that both work and are fun.
I firmly believe the Russian Kettlebell and the Club bell are the most interesting and effective weights I’ve ever trained with – with one exception – which I’ll tell you about in a future email.
Using weights, weapons, other equipment, and training with a partner, all offer fitness and motivational advantages that body weight exercise alone doesn’t.
In general, use this rule of thumb – exercise is like diet, eat a variety of as much whole food as you like and you should be fine. Food should be tasty and exercise should be interesting. Food should not be heavily processed, and exercise shouldn’t occupy too narrow a catagory. Both should offer constant changing variety.
I hope that answers your question, Eric. Stay safe, come home soon.
Take care, train like you mean it,