As much as we understand and recognize the health benefits of resistance training with free weights and weight machines, we shouldn’t forget about the simplest form of training: bodyweight. This form of training is for everyone, regardless of fitness level and ability. It takes us back to our exercise roots, where barbells and dumbbells were not always available and we had to rely on bodyweight movements to improve our flexibility and mobility, our body awareness and coordination, and our joint and muscle strength.
The reality of bodyweight training is that it serves as your foundation for strength. No matter how advanced we are, our bodies will always default to its base level of strength. It is this bodyweight strength that will assist in building up other strengths and movements! Let’s go more in depth about a few of the benefits of bodyweight training and why you should include them in your exercise routine.
A great benefit to bodyweight training is that most movements allow for progressions and regressions, which will not only increase strength, but further develop areas such as flexibility, coordination, mobility, and stability. Improving in these areas will increase your sense of body awareness; you might feel quicker and more fluid in your movements, more agile and coordinated in activities, both in the gym and activities of daily living.
Muscle and Joint Strength
Bodyweight exercises can improve muscle and joint strength, which can be a major benefit for people who may be averse to or uncomfortable with utilizing free weights or machines. Bodyweight exercises such as pushups, squats, inverted rows, assisted pull-ups, and tricep dips- just to name a few- will promote increases in muscular strength while simultaneously improving joint strength. As an alternative to training with free weights and machines, and of equal stimulus and adaptation, bodyweight exercises, as listed above, can help protect joints and improve muscular strength as well as carry over to improving every day movements.
Variety and Versatility
A huge component of bodyweight training is that it can be performed in most, if not all, types of environments. Even if you do not have access to a gym, simply going outside to your yard, driveway, apartment parking lot, or to a beach or park- you name it - you have a place to exercise. In addition to the versatility of environments, bodyweight training can include a variety of exercises. Instead of repeating the same training routine, including a different bodyweight exercise in each training session can spice up your workout as well as keep you interested in and motivated to exercise.
Watch the video below to see a few exercises you can incorporate into your next workout!
Next week, we'll break down a few suggestions to both progress and regress each of these bodyweight exercises!
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Key Word: Bodyweight