In this article we’re going to discuss bodyweight squats vs weighted squats and which is better. There is quite a bit more difference here then in the bodyweight vs. hindu squat debate.
Once again the answer is it depends on your goals.
Why do bodyweight squats?
- Great for flexibility in the legs up to a point
- Great for conditioning
- Requires no equipment
- Can be brutal to people that even have great barbell squat strength and thus show a hole in your training
- Will build a good foundation of strength for beginners
- Usually safer though there is the possibilities of overuse injuries
Why do weighted squats?
- One of the best mass building exercises, if not THE BEST
- One of the best maximum strength building exercises
- Can be an effective conditioning movement itself, with breathing squats
- Build your back and abdominal ability to support large weights
So overall they both have there benefits. Bodyweight squats are great for building a base of strength, flexibility and conditioning. However there is a point where they become too easy.
One of the drawbacks of bodyweight training is that while it’s easy to continually challenge the upper body, it’s harder for the legs. You must add in explosive exercises like hill sprints and jumping to do so, and regular bodyweight squats just won’t cut it. When you’re doing 500 or 1000’s of reps your legs aren’t going to really be getting any stronger.
Even one legged squats become easy at a point.
But weighted squats can be taken far and easily progressed to bigger and bigger loads. Although I’ve focused on the classic barbell back squat you have other variations like front squats or kettlebell squats which are weighted squats as well.
For a beginner I would encourage you to start with bodyweight squats. You can go pretty far with those. From there add in weighted squats and make your choice on what you wish to do.
So while others will continue to argue bodyweight squats vs weighted squats, there really isn’t much of an argument. They both are great!
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Squats and Pistols to figure out how to develop flexibility and stamina for body weight squats and pistols.