What is Bodyweight Training
Training is essentially a course of physical exercise for an event or individual goal. You may have overheard the term “train” before, probably from a few avid gym-goers. While training can refer to any exercise that “trains” the body, people often refer to it in association with the gym. But bodyweight training, a specific type of training, takes all the gym equipment out of the equation. With this type of training, individuals use their body to exercise, and that’s it. The great thing about bodyweight training is that you can get all the benefits from a gym workout, just about anywhere.
How to Start Bodyweight Training
The first thing you need to do to start bodyweight training is finding a place to train. The beauty about this training is that you aren’t confined to a room. You can exercise in your backyard, the park, the beach, etc. The ability to get fresh air and keep things interesting provides some extra motivation to hit your workouts.
Once you have found a place to workout, you need some exercises to do. Here is a list of the top bodyweight exercises that will give you the most bang for you buck:
1. Bodyweight Squats
Squats are so basic yet so important. This king of all exercises will help you lose serious weight while building muscle. There are also a number of variations to squats to keep your body guessing. How to perform squats:
Stand with good posture, feet shoulder width. While keeping your core tight, bend your knees and slide your hips back while keeping your back straight. Imagine you are trying to sit on a chair. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then push evenly through your feet back to the starting position. The key for this exercise is keeping your weight distributed evenly throughout your feet, and keeping your back straight.
Raising your arms in front of you can serve a dual purpose. It forces you to engage your core more providing a harder workout, and it forces your body to be in a more upright position, so this can benefit those with back conditions.
Lunges are a fantastic addition to any leg workout. This exercise works the stabilizing muscles in the hips and legs much more than squats. The main two are the adductors and abductors. The other big benefit of lunges is that because your entire bodyweight is being put on one leg instead of two, the muscle building opportunity is much greater. Bodyweight squats can become fairly easy for some, so performing lunges before squats can provide a great workout. How to perform lunges:
Because this exercise works the stabilizing muscles much harder than squats, start off with a small range of motion. Begin by standing with good posture, feet shoulder width apart. While keeping the core tight, step forward and allow your body to sink until that thigh is parallel to the floor. Press into that heel to drive back to the starting position.
3. Step Ups
Step-ups are another great lower body exercise that, like lunges, provides a strength aspect. And like lunges, they differ from squats because they work the stabilizers much more. For some, they might feel their glutes and hamstrings activated more than they would with lunges. How to perform step ups:
Find a step or put a small box in front of you. Stand with good posture, feet shoulder width apart. Step with one foot and bring your body all the way up. Step back down and return to the starting position.
A great chest and triceps builder, push-ups are a great addition to any training session. But don’t think that that’s all push-ups are good for. This exercise works the shoulders, back, and core. How to perform this exercise:
Begin in a plank position, with your weight supported on your toes and hands. Your hands should be beneath your shoulders, and the entire body should be straight. Lower you body by bending your elbows until your chest is near the ground, and drive up back to the starting position.
If squats are the king of lower body exercises, then pull-ups are the king of upper body exercises. Pull-ups work the entire upper body, so this seemingly simple exercise can work up a good sweat. The only downside is that you need to find a bar, so if your local park doesn’t have a bar or a set of monkey bars, then you’re out of luck. How to perform pull-ups:
Grab the bar with your palms facing away, and your extended. Your hands should be shoulder width or as wide as you can comfortably get them. Pull yourself up by driving your elbows towards your hips. Try to bring your chin up to the bar, then lower yourself back to the starting position. You can perform the exercise with your palms facing towards you to make the exercise easier, but this will target your biceps more.
By combining different movements into one exercise, burpees activate almost every muscle in the body. What does this do? Provide you with some intense calorie burning action. How to perform burpees:
Start with good posture, feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down then put yourself into push-up position. Perform a push-up (if you can’t that’s okay), then quickly tuck your legs to bring you back into a squat position. Explosively drive up and jump. Repeat.
Is Bodyweight Training Enough
Bodyweight training is certainly enough. You can work on endurance, you can strength train, or even combine both. So not only is it for everyone, you can burn some serious calories. And if you thought bodyweight training couldn’t be any more efficient, don’t forget that a similar workout in the gym can take over double the time.
There are other benefits of bodyweight training. One big benefit is injury prevention. Weightlifting takes a significant toll on the body and the risk of injury is significantly higher. Because you really focus on how your body is moving, your technique when it comes to exercising develops greatly.
The other added benefit of not using weights is that weights… well… weigh you down. Being free of weights can really increase your mobility and stability. This can actually lead to strength and muscle gains.
Bodyweight training is something that everyone should consider. Individuals have the opportunity to get whatever workout they want, wherever they want. Besides all of the benefits mentioned earlier, the biggest is that you won’t get bored. Many people stop working out or don’t workout as hard because normal routines inside a room can become monotonous.
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