Body Weight Training

Body Weight Training

What Is Bodyweight Training?

This type of training uses the weight of your own body as resistance for all the movements. This can be a good addition to your fitness program and can be as effective as training with free weights or weight machines.

Who should do bodyweight exercises?

People from all age groups can perform simple or complex bodyweight exercises according to their goals and fitness level. Bodyweight training caters to all levels and intensities of training.

Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

  1. Develops one’s cardiovascular system, endurance, and strength

Because body weight workouts tend to include higher repetitions than traditional weight-based resistance training, you receive the additional benefit of building muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance.

For instance, you may try doing some push-ups and lunges, which would qualify as strength training, and in between those exercises, you can do some high knees, burpees, or other quick bursts of cardio. In essence, you can create your own bodyweight circuit training routine that will both train the cardiovascular system as well as strengthen their muscles.

If you are a beginner, start out with some simple push-ups, or even push-ups where you are on your knees. On the other hand, if you need more of a challenge, you can do advanced push-ups such as military push-ups, triangle push-ups, or ones where you clap your hands in between every rep.

  • You can burn a lot of calories

You would need to do intense bodyweight training such as a bodyweight circuit routine or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for this calorie burning effect to really take hold.

These extreme fat and calorie-burning benefits are thanks to EPOC or Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption, which is, how long your body’s metabolism stays at this elevated rate after exercising. Research shows that your EPOC, or in other words your metabolism, stays pumped up and very efficient for as much as 14 hours after engaging in something like a high-intensity bodyweight routine.

Having a boosted metabolism is great because it means that you burn more of the fat reserves in your body. This also means that a lot less of the foods you eat get turned into body fat and more of the food in your system gets turned into energy that your body uses right away. In short, bodyweight training will tone you up, give you more energy, and kick your metabolism into overdrive.

If weight loss is your primary goal, it is best to incorporate HIIT exercises into your bodyweight training routine.

  • Better flexibility, better core strength, more lean muscle mass gain, and better balance, stability, and mobility

Another benefit of bodyweight training is that it can greatly increase your balance. This is not the case for all bodyweight exercises such as normal squats or push-ups. However, you can do 1-handed push-ups, 1-legged pistol squats, side planks, and other bodyweight exercises which force you to balance. Of course, being forced to balance may not be easy at first, but the more you practice the better you will get.

Being more flexible has one great benefit, you reduce the chance of injury, such as from pulling a muscle or overextending yourself past your usual range of motion. Bodyweight training is not only great for reducing the chances of getting injured, but it is also a good way to rehabilitate yourself from old injuries too. Yoga is bodyweight exercise. Yoga is most often thought of as a method for building balance and flexibility, but what makes it so powerful is that’s not all it builds. Yoga is an incredibly well-rounded form of bodyweight exercise, with many different options that can emphasize strength, endurance, mobility and more. It provides optimum flexibility, by allowing to restore the body’s stable equilibrium.

When we talk about the core, most of us automatically think of abs. However, the core includes abdominals, back muscles, obliques, and muscles around the pelvic area. Training these muscles helps improve your posture and balance, and reduce back injuries and back pain, making it essential to pay attention to the core muscles. Strengthening your core is also very beneficial because increased core strength ultimately translates into increased strength in your extremities.

Bodyweight exercises allow you to improve your coordination and work on your balance. This is because these exercises increase body awareness, allowing you to practice better control. As a result, your balance improves significantly. Bodyweight exercises work great in improving athletic performance.

It is possible to build muscles through bodyweight exercises. Your body weight and gravity work together to help you build muscle fibres and promoting muscle growth. However, you would need to work out an optimal number of reps and sets for most bodyweight exercises to build muscle.

  • Aids in preventing injury

If you do any kind of sport or activity (even if you don’t) bodyweight training is critical to injury prevention and reducing the risk and chance of injury. Bodyweight workouts can help you to build a more stable core while increasing overall flexibility– two key components of long-term injury prevention. They are also often used in rehabilitation programs to encourage a speedy recovery.

  • Improves mental health

One of the most surprising benefits of bodyweight exercises is that it has a positive impact on your mental health. Research shows that resistance exercises and exercise, in general, are a great way to battle anxiety and build up self-esteem. These exercises help you lead a happier and healthier life and live longer.

  • Convenient, quick, inexpensive workouts, anywhere

You can perform these exercises whenever and wherever you want. Whether it be in your living room, outdoor at your local park, or beach. There’s no equipment needed. For example, push-ups, sit-ups, and lunges, do not require any equipment and can be done in minimal space. If you are looking to advance the training resistance then you may look to use chairs for your tricep dips, backpacks filled with heavy objects for your push up, and water bottles for your squats.

  • Safe and easy exercises

Bodyweight training is safer than other kinds of workouts, especially the ones involving weighted training with heavy loading, and/or heavy resistance. Everyone can try out these exercises regardless of age, fitness level, or experience.

For strength, try these bodyweight exercises mentioned below:

Bodyweight Exercises
Push-upsHandstands
LungesRussian twists
Sit-upsMountain climbers
SquatsOblique crunches
Pull-upsJump squat
PlanksTricep dips
Step-upsBurpees

Advancing bodyweight training – change it to single arm/leg

The extra challenge of balancing while performing an exercise will make any bodyweight movement harder. A pistol squat is a popular variation of a normal squat in which you squat down on one leg. One-handed pull-ups or push-ups are also a great way to make yourself work harder. HIIT and plyometric exercises are also other forms of advanced training, by forcing the body to explode, during certain movements, exerting maximum force in the minimum amount of time. Rest can also play a role in advancing bodyweight training. Shorter breaks in between sets and exercises can be used to advance training as well and aid in burning more calories, by putting muscle fibres under immense pressure. It is backed by scientific research that a single bout of plyometric exercises can affect muscle fibres positively.

More advanced bodyweight exercises (including some single arm/leg exercises):

  • Pull ups
  • Handstands
  • Box jumps (HIIT & Plyometric)
  • Clap push ups (HIIT & Plyometric)
  • Jump Squat (HIIT & Plyometric)
  • Hanging leg raise
  • One-arm chin-ups to target biceps and back muscles
  • Pistol squats / single leg squats to build leg muscles
  • One-armed push ups to hit arms and chest

Keep the movements smooth and controlled and strive for muscle balance. Once you can easily do an exercise for one set of 8 to 20 repetitions, try alternative forms of the exercise to give you more resistance or challenge. Use proper form and technique throughout each bodyweight exercise to get the maximum benefit and avoid injury. Take at least one day off between exercising each specific muscle group to give your muscles time to recover.

So how do you increase the intensity of a bodyweight workout without moving to weights? Adding plyometric (jumping) moves as a “simple way to increase the intensity or even push-ups with plyometric clap push-ups. These moves are meant to be challenging, so it’s fine to take your time building up to them. A normal air squat can be turned into a jump squat.

Don’t forget that climbing, hiking, walking, and running are all bodyweight workouts, too. You can spice them up with sprints and obstacles.

Making bodyweight training a full-body workout, means that each exercise engages multiple muscles and joints to be as efficient as possible and is a great option because you can modify virtually any exercise to be easier or harder, making it an awesome way for anybody to exercise their way back into health.

References:

https://www.inmotionoc.com/benefits-of-bodyweight-exercises/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/body-weight-training/faq-20147966
https://www.urologyofva.net/articles/category/healthy-diet/3327816/06/28/2019/weights-are-great-but-here-s-why-an-expert-says-bodyweight-exercises-are-key-for-weight-loss
https://www.xptlife.com/the-benefits-of-bodyweight-workouts-training