Workout Tips

Bodyweight vs. Weighted Exercise for Strength

Should you nix bodyweight exercises to build strength?

Barbell Snatch
Rob Hammer / Aurora Photos / Getty

Are bodyweight exercises, like pullups, pushups, and air squats, still worth doing to help me get strong, or should I nix them for weighted exercises?
—Zack W., Albuquerque, NM

Bodyweight exercises, like pullups, dips, and pushups, can build strength and muscle, but they are no substitute for squats, deads, presses, and rows.

The best way to achieve strength is to rely on barbell exercises, which provide much more resistance than your own bodyweight. Use the bodyweight stuff as accessory work for higher reps—when balanced with barbell training, this approach works well.