“Why should I do body weight instead of weighted exercise?”
While the calisthenic/Bar Brother movement is not about telling how much better body weight training is compared to weight training, this article is going to address one of the major differences between both.
Most bodybuilding programs put a major focus on isolating certain muscles in order to maximize muscle definition.
While bodybuilders work their ass of to get the physique they want (Which deserves a lot of respect) their bodies lack one really important thing…functionality.
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bodybuilders definitely conquer their bodies mentally and physically, but at the cost of:
- and resources.
How would an Arnold in his prime (as a bodybuilder) deal with this guy…
Imagine yourself being a bodybuilder in midst of war or in the midst of a jungle, fighting a predator…
While for a short period those muscles might benefit you, in terms of initial strength. In the long run, those muscles would only be a huge strain on your body, metabolism and survival rate.
Running way from a predator with a bag of tuna, rice and protein shakes does not seem like an evolutionary advantage. In nature pure power is usually combined with speed and agility (Think of any predator).
“It’s what you train yourself up to be that’ll keep you going if the train breaks down” – Constance
There is always a trade off. Too much muscle implies a loss of functional speed and chance for survival.
Of course there is no reason to run from tigers anymore (unless you decide to jump in a cage, there are always dumb people around), but the underlying truths are still evident.
So what kind of exercises would benefit your body and evolutionary advantage?
Well…it’s probably not a surprise, but bodyweight exercises are far more effective than weighted exercises and primarily because body weight exercises are compound movements.
What kind of movement/exercise…?
Let me explain.
‘These are exercises which simulate real life activities by using a wide variety of movements through a wide range of motions.’
Movements which require multiple joints and several muscles or muscle groups in one movement (Pull-up, push-up, squats etc.).
Whereas isolation exercises require a single joint (Bicep curls, tricep curls etc. ).
How often do you make one joint movements? Even when grabbing a cup of coffee from a table you don’t do a bicep curl or tricep curl (That would actually look really funny, I don’t advice you to try it with hot coffee).
You actually use multiple joints even when grabbing a cup of coffee.
Regardless of that fact…
The advantage however of isolated exercises is that you can focus on certain muscles especially when you need to strengthen specific weak aspects of your body. Still..
Why would you do compound/calisthenic exercises?
Athletic people who want to stimulate multiple muscles with a few movements, are better off doing compound exercises, because:
- stimulates real-world exercises;
- allows you to get a full body workout faster;
- improves coordination, balance and reaction time;
- and a really important one it reduces the chance of muscular imbalances within the body, because you are training muscle groups instead of individual muscles.
There are much more reasons to think off of course, but these should be enough to make you aware.
Why use isolated exercises?
While compound exercises are in general more functional, there is one situation in which isolation exercises beat compound movements in terms of functionality. That’s in the case of injury.
Let’s say you injured your lower arm, this would mean almost 50% of all the possible exercises become useless. In that case training specifically the underarm to make it strong again would be necessary in order to start doing compound movements again.
So to conclude the story about compound/Bar Brother exercises vs isolated exercises…
For functionality Bar Brother exercises, beat isolated weight exercises hands down (especially when your name is Arnold and you need to run away from an alien), even Arnold would admit that.
But when you actually need to focus on a certain muscle to increase its strength or when you are into building a musle in a certain way for esthetic reasons, isolated exercises are better. Both have their benefits, just make sure you do it for the right reasons.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind” – Bruce Lee
What advice would you give? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!