Benefits of Bodyweight Workouts

Wherever You go, Your Weight Goes too!

One of the biggest misconceptions about exercising is that you need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership. No equipment? No worries! The truth is all you need is a little space and a little motivation.

We have a number of go-to favorite exercises, and body weight options top the list, for a number of reasons.

Why Bodyweight Workouts Rock 

Convenience

One of the biggest advantages of bodyweight training is convenience.

The most common excuses for not exercising is time. Bodyweight exercises are convenient, flexible and saves time because you don’t have to travel. You can just do it in your home, inside or outdoors, and it doesn’t need a lot of space. With bodyweight exercises there is no excuse to be a couch potato. In fact, you can march your bum right over to that comfy couch, but don’t sit down! Instead, try using it for dips, knee-up from the edge, and turn it over for a modified push-up.  Now the couch is transformed into exercise equipment! Bodyweight workouts can be used as an energizing, stress relieving break during work, or can provide a great hotel room workout for those on the road. “No time” really becomes no excuse.

Mountain Climbers exercise: Knees to elbows, (left knee to left elbow, etc). Do 10 each side, flip over and do 10 crunches, then flip back for 10 more mountain climbers, but bring knees toward opposite chest, for diagonal movement.

Cheap

You’ve got your body. No purchase necessary.

Bodyweight training is the least expensive and safest way to start exercising it. To start there gives you time to get your muscles prepared for more, while establishing good posture and form before adding weights that can stress your joint and lead to injury, especially if your form is off.

That’s why bodyweight training can be so invigorating; countless variations you can find for free online, via exercise cards, books and DVDs or that you make up yourself, can keep things interesting for many months to come. Working with a variety of exercises not only diminishes potential workout tedium, it can also help break through exercise plateaus to spark further fitness progress.

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Side Plank with Leg Raise. Do 10 leg raises, then switch sides. Repeat 5 x each, develops full body strength, builds bone density, and increases balance.

 

It’s a mix of Strength and Cardio

You can control the intensity.

Strength and cardiovascular training methods are often at odds. Many people train in strictly one or other, believing that the neglected training style will somehow hinder their progress. Body weight workouts are a great tool to boost your strength and at the same time increases your endurance.

 

Increased Flexibility and Balance

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. It can lead to improved posture and may even reduce the chance of exercise-related injury. Just warm up first, via mild cardio exercises to get the blood flowing to warm cold joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles.

 

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Balancing Calf Raise, for strength, flexibility and balance. Use this -in-1 movement to stretch as you cool down while still working out!

 

Something for Everyone

Bodyweight exercises can be modified to any fitness level and any age.

Whether you’re a beginner or an elite athlete, you will reap the benefits. Adding repetitions and altering speed to be either faster or slower while performing the exercises are a few ways to make even the simplest exercise more challenging. Increasing the number of repetitions adds to the total strength and endurance. Since bodyweight exercises use no weights, increasing resistance is accomplished in other ways.

For example, a kneeling push-up can be ramped up to a regular push-up, an incline/decline push-up, (toes and feet on the sofa for instance, while you push-up from the floor or a push-up with a clap. Depending on what your fitness goals are, you can easily adjust your bodyweight workouts accordingly. And progress is easy to measure since bodyweight exercises offer tons of ways to do a little more in each workout.

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Beginner’s push-ups from knees. Keep back straight, bring chest almost to floor, hold core tight. 10x. When you can, increase to 20 before moving to your toes as this protects your shoulders and back from straining too soon.

 

Standing Handstand, handstand push-up
Super advanced handstand pushups – image and exercises featured on Greatist.com

 

What are some of your favorite body weight exercises? We’d love to see you over on our Facebook page where you can post comments, wins, struggles, questions and feedback.

 

RESOURCES

ARTICLES:
50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere, Greatist.com
Compound Exercises at Work,
BestFitLife.com

PRODUCTS:
Men’s Health Your Body is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity, J Gaddour
You Are Your Own Gym, Mark Lauren
My Trainer Fitness for at Home 6 pack, six complete workouts on laminated cards to take anywhere, on Amazon
My Trainer Fitness 100 Calories Workouts, six complete workouts on laminated cards to take anywhere, on Amazon