I love body weight training because they allow for 100% full range of motion and also require complete and utter body awareness meaning you are more likely to be properly engaging all muscles while performing exercises like the walking lunge, plank, pull up (to name a few)
Bodyweight training also helps to increase fat loss and simultaneously build muscle. The biggest misconception is that you MUST throw around heavy weights in order to achieve strength. Yes, strength training should be a part of anyone's exercise program but I strongly believe the same should be said for bodyweight training.
The combination of weights AND bodyweight training is truly unstoppable and will provide a wide range of benefits including improved speed, power, strength as well as extremely effective to develop beautifully sculpted muscles AND provide you with a complete metabolic, fat burning workout!
BENEFITS OF BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
- No gym required. These exercises can be done literally anywhere! Great for travelers, busy moms, busy people and those short on time!
- FREE! There is no need to buy anything with bodyweight training. All you need is a water bottle, maybe some good music and space
- Bodyweight training is a time saver! If you are used to splitting up your workouts (weights and cardio) you will have no need to do so! With bodyweight routines, you’re getting a super-strength-building, cardio, and flexibility workout in a single session.
- You will have the freedom to focus on nothing but basic exercise form and intensity/duration of workouts. These super efficient moves can be learned within a matter of minutes and focus on progression.
- Bodyweight training is extremely efficient, challenging and demanding. There is no need to grab a 'set up' in the gym while you are training. You don't have to hover over machines. Simply move your body!
- Total control to PROGRESS at your own pace! You can make the workout as hard or easy as you would like as well as change the number of reps or time constraints. As you get stronger and better, simply increase the intensity!
- Can be done with a friend! Write out your workout, get with a buddy and make fun, hard-core workout challenges!
- Bodyweight training is a HUGE metabolism booster due to the combined benefits of cardio and weight training. Burn more calories, torch fat and gain strength!
- There is a time and place for isolated weight work to work each individual muscle especially if you are used to following a bodybuilding style workout program. With bodyweight training half of the challenge comes from the fat that you have to use your body as one whole unit. You will learn more about body awareness and what you are capable of doing and furthermore, how hard you can push!
Bodyweight training takes patience and dedication which I have found with most clients, is a main reason why they are actually avoided! It is a no brainer to pick up a dumbbell or sit on a machine to go. It can also be easier to 'progress' in weight when you are doing a seated chest press rather than go to perform 10 perfect push ups. The reason being, bodyweight training is working all body parts all at once. A push up is not just for the chest. A push up is essentially a plank, working the arms, shoulders, back, glutes, quads and core. Proper progression and knowledge and the fact that some bodyweight exercises are just plain hard is what, I have found keeps people from doing them as often as they should. I encourage you to incorporate bodyweight training into your routine and you will find that it helps tremendously building overall strength, confidence, body awareness all while burning fat and cutting time in half.
HOW I INCORPORATE BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
Not only do I LOVE bodyweight training and find it extremely challenging and effective, but I genuinely find it fun. I love to push myself either using
- Time ( benefits of timed workouts)
- Certain amount of rounds
- Certain amount of reps
- Different positions
- Adding plyo's
- Focusing on different body parts
In addition to my 1 functional training day per week, I always incorporate bodyweight style methods when it comes to my leg and glute training. Incorporating bodyweight training has been shown to help change body composition and fire the fast twitch (type II) fibers which helps to provide a sexy shape to the quads and glutes.
Sample Bodyweight Leg Circuit
This is a great lower body workout that requires zero equipment. I usually do these workouts a number of ways.
- I will set a time, say 25 minutes and go through this circuit as many times as possible
- I will set a certain amount of SETS to complete, while keeping my time to see how long it takes me! The Next time I do it, I will try to beat my time
This Bodyweight STRENGTH Circuit focuses on what some may consider more 'challenging' exercises, no plyometric movements and hits on every body part from head to toe.
If you are a beginner, try going through this circuit 1-2 times and see how you feel. If you are more advanced you can perform it 3-4 or even 5 times through.
If you are looking for ways to increase the difficulty of this workout, it is simple!
- Add reps
- Add the 'pause' technique (hold the exercise in the 'down' position for 3-4 seconds before ascending up)
- Add time to the exercises such as the plank and reverse plank hold
- Add in angles. For instance, for the glute bridges, try placing your foot on a bench or chair or medicine ball for some added resistance.
I posted the below workout on my Facebook Page a while back. It does include a treadmill, so if you have access to a treadmill, street or a track...go for it!!
This workout is an oldie but a goodie as well! I posted it on Christmas Day for those of us who wanted a workout but were hanging out at home with the family
(some include KB's but you can simply perform squats or jump squats instead!)
Rounds For Time
Leg plyo workout with video!
Great Plyo Workouts
Do Anywhere Workouts!
The 480 workout (one of my favorites!)
My favorite CARDIO workouts
The Burpee Challenge
When it comes to putting together a bodyweight training workout, I love that I have flexibility to change the intensity and duration.
It can be refreshing to not always have a specific outcome or goal. Not every session has to have a plan. It can be hard to realize this if you are so used to a workout schedule, but I want to challenge you to mix it up. I want to challenge you not put so much pressure on your workout regimen and see what its like to do what you want on the days you want, taking rest when you feel you need it and working hard when you feel you want to. Know your body. Know your limits. Know when enough is enough and when you can push further. Its a completely freeing and amazing feeling you just must find it.
In Conclusion I hope you got something out of this post and maybe changed your opinion on the benefits of body weight training! This style of training is not only effective in it’s own right, but when added to a program involving strength training, this increases efficacy as well.
You will get numerous benefits whether you are performing a body weight only workout OR if you are incorporating body weight training into your strength training routine.
It is great for beginners, those who are just getting back into fitness OR for those who need an extra challenge! Try out some body weight workouts and give yourself that edge of creating a powerful, fat burning, strength building machine!!
You can always refuel with a protein power bite or competition friendly meatballs!
What are your favorite body weight exercises?