There are many reasons to make bodyweight workouts part of your fitness regime.

 

Research suggests high-output, bodyweight-based exercises such as plyometrics yield awesome fitness gains in very short workout durations. Since there’s no equipment involved, bodyweight workouts make it easy to transition quickly from one exercise to the next. Shorter rest times mean it’s easy to quickly boost heart rate and burn calories at a fast rate.

 

If you are pressed for time but need to hit cardio and strength in one quick workout performing quick bodyweight cardio (such as one minute of burpees or a set of jumping jacks) in between strength exercises will keep the heart pumping while still encouraging muscle and strength development . If you’re looking to shed a few pounds then just a few minutes of a bodyweight circuit training can have a major impact on the body's metabolism.

 

Bodyweight exercises are a great choice because they’re easily modified to challenge any fitness level. Adding extra repetitions, performing the exercises faster or very slow, and perfecting form are a few ways to make even the simplest exercise more challenging. And progress is easy to measure, since bodyweight exercises offer endless ways to do a little more in each workout.

 

The "core" is more than just abs. In fact, at least twenty-nine muscles make up the human core, and many simple bodyweight movements can be used to engage all of them. Such exercises improve core strength for better posture and improved athletic performance. Also, flexibility can be greatly improved with certain exercises. Not everyone who does regular resistance training has to end up with tight muscles and inflexible joints. Bodyweight training for strength and flexibility can go hand-in-hand. Completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion is a great way to ensure joints are moving freely, can lead to improved posture, and might even reduce the chance of exercise-related injury. And yoga, the bodyweight-based workout of choice for many, is another great way to improve flexibility while also significantly improving strength.

 

By the time you get to the gym, do your workout, have a shower and travel back home a couple of hours may have passed. If you’re struggling to find time then bodyweight workouts may be more convenient for you to do. Ask someone why they don't exercise, and chances are "no time" or "inconvenience" might come up as culprits. Bodyweight exercises eliminate many of these common obstacles by allowing anyone to squeeze in workouts wherever they are. Exercising without equipment can be used as a stress reliever for those working from home or can provide a great hotel room workout for people on the road.

  

Gym memberships can be expensive over the course of the year. Bodyweight training is free. Experts cite the low cost of bodyweight training as a key part of its resurgence in popularity. Plus, amazing outdoor training locations have begun popping up that offer the perfect space for a free bodyweight workout (or you can just fight the kids for space at the local playground). Training in a different location can help keep you motivated and fend off boredom.

 

Here are my favourite bodyweight exercises:

 

Press up – Not only builds up the chest, shoulders and triceps, but is a great stabilizer of the torso and lower back.

Can be done with various hand, feet and elevated positions.  Push-ups variations such as EQI’s, hindus and push-up plus are incredible rehabilitative exercises.

 

Squats - This basic movement has huge benefits!  It can be an indicator for ankle, hip and thoracic mobility, or it can be an incredible conditioning tool.

Perform them against the wall to drill proficiency and technique, or perform linked in a bodyweight circuit.

You can also create a complex linking with a plyometric movement like sprints, jumping or zig zag hops.

 

Pull up - One of the biggest mass builders for the back, pull-ups are also one of the most versatile.

How to Modify the Pull-Up:

§  Varying grip element (towel, thick rope, offset grip)

§  Modifying linear movement; you can perform side to side movement, you can perform a leg lift or l-sit with each rep

§  Overload the movement with a bookbag between your feet.

Remember if you can’t do a pull-up, inverted rows are an excellent choice!

 

Plank – An excellent core strengthening exercise. You can make this more challenging by putting your feet or hands on a bosu or exercise ball or by using one hand and one foot (opposites).

And remember to always do both front and side planks!

 

Roel

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