It’s commonly thought that in order to build muscle and strength, you need a lot of fancy equipment, complicated progression schemes, or 15 different versions of essentially the same exercise.
And, that’s simply not true.
In fact, you don’t even need a gym at all to achieve your fitness and physique goals.
You have everything you need with you right now -- your body.
Bodyweight training is an often overlooked and underutilized approach when it comes to building muscle, burning fat, or just having a kickass workout, yet it’s one of the best forms of training out there for the average individual.
Today we’ll discuss some of the major benefits of bodyweight training
4 Benefits of Bodyweight Training
When training with bodyweight exercises, everything you need to work out is with you at all times.
There’s no need to pay for a gym membership (which can cost upwards of $500/year!).
There’s no time lost sitting in traffic driving to the gym, waiting for a machine, showering after your workout, and then sitting in traffic (again) during the trip home.
With bodyweight training, you get to train when you want to, how you want, and whichever way you want to.
You can also wear whatever you want to, or nothing at all, if that’s more your style.
Plus, you can also choose to listen to whatever kind of music you want to. You don’t have to suffer through the annoying Top 40 teeny-bopper music that’s cranked out on the speakers of most commercial gyms.
Finally, bodyweight training also allows you to combine strength-training and cardio within the same workout so that you can make your time spent training even more efficient.
For instance, instead of performing your resistance-training workout in the morning and then doing cardio in the afternoon (or on a separate day). You can perform them both within the same workout.
For example, you can alternate between sets of chin ups and kettlebell swings or jumping jacks.
You’re getting more work done in less time which also ratchets up the calorie burning helping you to build muscle and burn fat at the same time.
Improves Balance & Coordination
Bodyweight training requires you to master moving your own body through space. While standard push ups, pull ups, and squats may not seem that taxing on your balance or coordination, more advanced progressions of bodyweight exercises, such as archer push ups, front levers and pistol squats, require tremendous amounts of skill control and awareness of your body.
In case you weren’t aware, maintaining balance and coordination is extremely important as we age in order to remain strong and durable while avoiding injury.
Applicable for a Range of Experience and Strength Levels
A lot of people avoid going to the gym for fear that they may be perceived as weak since they’re just starting out and may not be quite so proficient in the “big 3” barbell lifts.
While it can be intimidating for newbies to attempt barbell training the first few times, one of the great things about bodyweight training is that you can scale the exercises to your strength levels.
There’s not many ways to regress a barbell squat short of squatting with an empty bar. Sure, you can regress all the way to bodyweight squats, but then you’re doing bodyweight training and that brings you to exactly what this article is driving home -- you don’t “have” to use equipment to make gains. Bodyweight training can do it all.
Bodyweight training allows you to train anywhere, even at home. What this means is that you don’t have to walk into a big box, globo gym and deal with the perception that everyone is watching your every move. In reality, nobody is probably watching you at the gym, unless you’re doing something completely asinine like performing barbell back squats on a bosu ball.
Furthermore, bodyweight exercises can also be progressed or regressed depending on how coordinated and strong you are. If you aren’t strong enough to perform a full range of motion chin up, you can perform jumping pull ups, eccentric pull ups, or inverted rows to increase back strength until the point at which you are able to complete multiple reps of unassisted chin ups.
On the flip side, if regular chin ups are too easy, and you’re repping out multiple sets of 15+ without breaking a sweat, there are tons of more advanced option to challenge your strength levels without having to add external loading.
Bodyweight training doesn’t have to only be for high-rep, calisthenic-style workouts. It can help build muscle and strength. Plus, it costs nothing and will save you tons of time, giving you more time to do whatever you want to.
Whether you are a beginner or seasoned fitness junkie, put this workout to the test:
Start with a jog to warm up (1/4 mile to a mile)
3 set of dips 8-12 reps
3 sets of pull-ups 8-12 reps
4-6 sets of push-ups 8-12 reps
Sit-ups til exhaustion
Pro tip: weighted vest can be worn for increased difficulty during all exercises!