Bodyweight training is a form of strength training in which a person uses his or her own body weight, rather than free weights or barbells, to build muscle and strength. Some common examples of bodyweight exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, squats and crunches.
It’s a popular form of training because it works—and it can be done anywhere without the use of any special equipment, which is not only convenient, but is also easier on the schedule and pocketbook.
That’s not all, though. Bodyweight training uses all the muscles of the body, and burns more calories than other exercises that isolate one part of the body, says personal trainer John Grube. Likewise, bodyweight training increases flexibility and the body’s range of motion by stretching ligaments while preventing muscle or ligament tears that can happen with regular weight training.
Tip: If you’re new to bodyweight training, then basic bodyweight training exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats and crunches are a good place to start. Hold the moves for a few seconds and repeat them about 10 to 12 times. Complete as many as possible.
Additional Tip: If you’ve been bodyweight training for some time, add a little variety to your routine. For example, try one-armed push-ups or clapping between the push-ups you perform. Or, when performing squats, try pistol squats. Stand holding your arms out straight in front of your body and raise your right leg off the floor. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. Pause for a moment, and then push your body back to the starting position. Repeat slowly several times. Switch legs and do the same. Pistol squats not only activate your core, but they also work nearly every muscle in your lower body, including glutes, hamstrings and calves.
Go ahead! Have your body weight work for you with bodyweight training.
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.