Bodyweight Training: conditioning or strength ?
Thursday, March 01, 2012
What is the difference between the two types of bodyweight training?
For an individual who can do 75 push ups dropping down and doing 10 push ups between Plyometric springs those push ups are conditioning exercises. For someone who can barely do 5 push ups and does them in sets of 1 or 2, a few times a week they are strength training.
The same can go for any other exercise, for someone who can do 50 dips in one set, dips are conditioning. But if someone can only do 5 and does them in multiple sets then dips are strength training.
There are some exercises that are hard to confuse. Its very rare for someone to call one arm chin ups a conditioning exercises. Just as rare is for someone to consider body weight squat a strength training exercise except for the unfit.
It is not the exercise, but your capacity and the resistance applied determines what that exercise will do for you. Take a look at dips again. Someone may only be able to do 3 dips on the Gymnastic Rings or a suspension apparatus, due to body weight load and the required stabilization factor. The same individual may be able to do 20 bent knee assisted, bench dips so the movement is similar but the execution is different.
When you design a workout for yourself, first determine you goal and then check how many reps you can do for each exercise. The exercise you will pick, will determine if you work out is strength training workout or a conditioning workout. While you are using the routine to build strength, your friend maybe using similar routine to condition his or her body. Remember although exercises are classified into one group or the other, the classifications are relative.
We can separate bodyweight exercises by classifying them by the specific intent or degree of challenge and difficulty.
Exercises classified as conditioning, done with bodyweight only.
Squat thrusts (Burpees)
Back Hyper Extensions
Exercises classified as strength building.
One leg Squats
One Arm Push Ups
Hand Stand Push Ups
Assisted bodyweight exercises using suspension apparatus (i.e. TRX)
Assisted bodyweight exercises using gravity equipment (i.e. Total Trainer, Total Gym, Pilates Reformer)
This is not a total or comprehensive list; the book You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren lists 120 bodyweight exercises.
The point to remember is that those which are classified as conditioning exercises are both conditioning and strength exercises for those who are in a beginning fitness programme. Beyond initial conditioning fitness using bodyweight training requires that the exercises become more demanding and challenging in some way. For example using conditioning exercises in a Tabata Protocol can take them to a different level since the challenge and demands are increased. At some point a graduation to the more demanding exercises is required to ensure continued progress.