Have you ever wondered what exactly is bodyweight training and what are the benefits of bodyweight exercise?
To keep it super simple, here’s the answer: Bodyweight training (oftentimes it is referred to as strength training) is when you use your own bodyweight to provide the resistance you need to builds muscles and to make you stronger.
Top 4 Reasons you should give Bodyweight Training a try
- It’s free (no cost or low cost- your choice)
- It can be done anywhere
- It is efficient
- It is effective
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Bodyweight Exercise can be free!
Because a gym is not needed for bodyweight exercising, no expensive gym membership is required. I know how hard it can be to pay $35 or more each month to a gym.
And, the reality is, that unless you are an avid gym goer, the gym membership often becomes a stressor in your life. You’re paying for it, so you know you should go, but you don’t have the time or the willpower to get there. It’s a mental and physical battle that you have to fight almost every day.
I know, I’ve been there. For a couple of years, I had a gym literally right below my office. No, I couldn’t hear anyone working out in the gym, but every single day when I went into the office or left the office, I was reminded of the fact that I was paying for a gym membership there, but I wasn’t using the facility. I wasn’t able to make it a priority at that time in my life. It was not fun, and honestly, quite discouraging!
The fact that strength training is no cost or low cost is one of the main reasons people often choose to try body-weight training in the first place.
Optional Low-Cost Exercise Equipment for Bodyweight Training
Although you can do bodyweight training with no equipment, sometimes we need the motivation of something new to help us get started, or to keep us moving forward. Here’s a short list of items you could consider adding to your strength training routine:
- An exercise mat . I love this one! (keep it free by using a few thick towels)
- A set of resistance bands like these (keep it free by doing the exercises without a band, they’ll still work your muscles).
- One dumbbell (keep it free by doing the exercises without a dumbbell, or find something lightweight that you can easily hold in one hand – you could start with a plastic bottle of water) When you are ready to buy a dumbbell, you can start with just one. Oftentimes you are just working one arm or leg at a time. Weights are often sold individually if you by them in a store and sometimes online also.
- Do you want to dress the part? If so, purchase a nice workout top and pair of pants (moisture wicking ones are super nice). (keep it free by just wearing a T-shirt and pair of stretchy shorts or pants).
A Motivating Idea: If funds are tight, why not start with no equipment and then as you start to meet your goals, add one piece of equipment at a time. That’s how I started out way back when. Those new items were a great motivator along the way.
Reap the Benefits of Bodyweight Exercise Anywhere and Everywhere
Bodyweight training can easily be done anywhere – at your home, at the park, in a hotel room, on the beach, etc. Really, you can do it anywhere. Without ever stepping a foot into a gym, you can easily do bodyweight training to build strength and muscles. You won’t need to lift heavy barbells or dumbbells to tone your muscles.
This is where I started oh so many years ago. My youngest was barely walking, in fact, he crawled all over me and around me as I worked out to Margaret Richards’ The Body Electric program on PBS. Do you remember that program? I loved it. Honestly, even today, I still love those simple bodyweight exercises that got me moving way back when. It was the beginning of my fitness journey.
If you want to do some basic bodyweight training at home, you could use absolutely no equipment. Here’s a few ideas:
- triceps dips (if your balance is not super good, start out by using a chair for support)
You can search on Pinterest for a printout of how to do a few bodyweight exercises. Or search out a free class online or on the tv. There are a lot of options available.
Our 10 Changes in 10 Months free printable includes a plank challenge. Subscribe below to get access to that printable and so much more.
Since you don’t need to have any equipment for bodyweight training, it’s perfect for traveling. When we travel, we have to not only be careful of the weight (think luggage) of everything we take, but also how much room we have to pack our things in.
Bodyweight Training is Efficient
With bodyweight training, it is easy to create routines that combine both cardio and strength training. For example, you could alternate a minute of burpees (cardio exercise) with sets of strength training lunges (bodyweight exercise). That’s a great combination!
Because you don’t need any equipment, short but intense combination workouts are easy to do. You won’t lose any time transitioning from one equipment type to another as you might in a gym. You are likely to see some impressive gains very quickly.
Doing a combination routine of cardio and strength training not only burns fat while you work out, but also for hours afterward. This is due to what is known as afterburn. The afterburn is an increase in metabolism that continues well after your workout is finished.
As an additional plus, with strength training, you are building muscle mass. This will require the burning of more calories even when you are at rest, making your future calorie burn per day higher.
Bodyweight training is challenging regardless of your fitness level because it is so flexible. You can add in or take out an exercise or adjust the intensity of any exercise. These changes are simple to do with bodyweight training.
The best news is that you get to create a routine that you love. You are very likely to fall in love with a routine as you reap the benefits of those workouts. And then, you’ll want to change it up so that you’ll begin to work different muscles and begin to tone your body in other areas.
The best part is that you get to choose which moves you want to do. Just a simple search on google is likely to show you a large variety of bodyweight exercises you can do.
Benefits of Strength Training – Effective
There’s no reason to do a workout if you’re not going to reap some benefits from it, right? Well, that’s why strength training (bodyweight exercise) is my absolute favorite type of exercise.
Are you wondering if simple bodyweight exercises can really get you fit and healthy? Or perhaps you are asking if using only resistance and the weight of your body can truly tone up your body.
The answer is Yes!
Here’s how it works.
When we stress our muscles by using our own body weight resistance against them, they experience tears and rips. That doesn’t sound good, does it? But, when you tear down muscle, it needs to be repaired. This causes our body to automatically go to work making those muscles stronger and larger than they were before. Why? Because they are anticipating future stress.
When you stress and strain your muscles by performing bodyweight exercises or lifting weights, the repair process takes a lot of time. This means that for up to 72 hours after your bodyweight training session is over, you are still burning fat and calories!
Build Muscles and Strength with Bodyweight Training
That is really all there is to building muscles and strength.
As it turns out, strength training, which is what you are doing when you perform bodyweight exercises, is more effective at burning fat and cranking up your metabolism than cardio exercises.
Studies have shown that cardio fitness routines (running, jogging, aerobic exercises, etc.) burn fat and calories while you are performing them. The problem that arises is that almost immediately after you stop doing the exercise, your fat and calorie burn diminishes very quickly.
Check it out. The next time you are shopping at your favorite bookstore, do this: Head over to the magazine section and check out the top fitness magazines.
A secret in the fitness industry is that those sculpted cover girls and guys focus mostly on bodyweight exercises to build their six pack abs and toned muscles. They really don’t spend hours in the gym lifting massive weights.
Just like you and me, they don’t have the time to do that. However, they do have time to enjoy short bodyweight training sessions 3 to 5 times a week. That’s how they get those sculpted bodies. You can do this too!
Benefits of Bodyweight Exercise – Examples
Have you ever done a push-up or pull-up? If so, then you have already done some bodyweight training. When we do simple movements that allow gravity and the physical weight of your body to create resistance the result is that they are making our muscles bigger and stronger.
The second set of workouts that I fell in love with (over 25 years ago) were from the Firm. I believe that they were unique at that point in time. Their workout videos focused on combining strength training and cardio.
These were true workouts that took about 1 hour a day. I have a drawer full of their VHS tapes that I just can’t get myself to get rid of. I also have many of the dvds from their newer videos. This is one that I absolutely love! I am a huge fan of The Firm exercise programs!
You Can Get Started Today
Bodyweight training, along with eating healthy, a good night’s sleep and keeping hydrated are four great steps in helping you get and stay fit. That’s a goal for all of us, isn’t it?
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Go ahead and get started today. You can do this!