When it comes to working out and getting a lift in barbells and dumbbells seem to get all of the love. While these weight-bearing exercises should form the foundation of any weightlifting program we think its important to not skip out on the bodyweight exercises.
Below are 3 reasons why you should incorporate bodyweight training into your everyday fitness routine. Ready? Lets go!
What is Bodyweight Training?
Although our crowd will tend to know what bodyweight training is we find its still useful to define it. Bodyweight training (as it sounds) is simply moving your body through space. There is no external weight applied you are simply moving what you have.
The most common forms of bodyweight exercises are push ups, pull ups and squats. However things like running, jumping, inverted rows and handstands are also considered bodyweight training.
Now that you know what bodyweight training is (you already did) lets see why the hell you should be doing it in the first place.
Bodyweight Training Improves Relative Strength
Relative strength refers to your strength output relative to your BODYWEIGHT. If you go to the gym every day and squat you will likely get stronger. If you go to the gym everyday, squat and eat in a calorie surplus you will gain weight and likely get EVEN stronger. When most people train they find it easy to eat in a surplus and thus gain weight. As such, it can be difficult to quantify your strength gains in a relative term.
What do we mean by this? Well, if you squat everyday and lets say over a couple of months you take your squat from 225 (for 5 reps) to 295 (for 5 reps) that would look like pretty amazing progress, right? On paper yes. However, if at the same time your body weight goes from 180 lbs to 200 lbs the relative strength gains seem far less impressive.
Regular body weight training helps solve this issue. The more your bodyweight increases the less reps you will be able to do. Thus it is a good way to modulate your training. If you strive to regularly increase the number of push ups, pull-ups and bodyweight squats you can do it will help scale your strength relative to your body size.
If you can bench 400 lbs but can’t do 25 push ups, who cares? Incorporating it daily can help you avoid the pitfall of thinking you are getting stronger (in a relative term) when in reality you are just packing on a few extra pounds from your work in the kitchen.
Bodyweight Training Improves Flexibility and Coordination
When you use barbells and dumbbells for all of your training it can become easy to slack on form and begin to cheat on your lifts. Maybe you don’t go all the way down on your back squat, maybe you bounce the bar off your chest when you bench. The same is not as easy to do when you are using your bodyweight and moving through the full range of motion.
Naturally, bodyweight exercises (especially advanced bodyweight training) require a level of flexibility and mobility just to get into the proper position. For example, a single leg pistol squat will require your glutes, hamstrings, knees and ankles to work as one. If there is any weak link in the chain you will not be able to achieve a full pistol squat. The same cannot be said for a simple barbell back squat. As such, incorporating daily bodyweight movements into your training will make sure that you are maintaining a base level of flexibility. On top of that you’ll improve your strength per pound.
Bodyweight training also creates an improved sense of body awareness. When you move your body through space in a controlled manner you will naturally become more aware of your limbs and their relation to the ground. This improved awareness will drastically improve your overall coordination. When you are aware of how your body is moving you can become more efficient in a particular movement pattern. Humans (used to be) master movers. As we sit more and more and adapt the modern lifestyle (sedentary) we have begun to lose this ability. Body weight movements can help you regain this function and begin again to become a master mover.
If you want see what we mean by master mover we recommend you check out Ido Portal. His systems can be a bit advanced. However, you can regress each movement so that it can be performed regardless of your fitness ability.
Bodyweight Exercises Can Be Done Anywhere
With the rise of this “virus” that has been going around we’ve seen how easy it can be for gym access to disappear. People who were once fit were no longer able to go to the gym. As such, many people let themselves go. It was a chance to take a break from the gym. However, days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. And now many people are out of shape and overweight.
Regular bodyweight training can solve this issue. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. You don’t need any equipment at all to get started. There are no excuses. This is perhaps our favorite reason to incorporate bodyweight training. Live in a 5×5 apartment in New York? Cool. Bust out 10 push ups, 10 squats, and 10 glute-ham bridges every minute for 15 minutes. Boom. You just got a solid workout in with no need to go to the gym or get any fancy equipment.
Our Favorite Bodyweight Movements
Since we know people will ask, here are a few of our favorite movements. Some are basic, some are advanced.
- Glute-Ham Bridges
- Inverted Rows
- Single Leg Pistol Squat
Sample Full Body Bodyweight Workout
Here is a quick workout you can try at home with no additional equipment required.
For this workout we are gonna do 5 movements for 5 rounds. We are gonna do 12 reps of each movement besides the 30 second plank. Once you complete all 5 rounds your workout is done!
- Wide Push Ups (This helps target the Pecs and Shoulders)
- Body Weight Squats (Pause at the bottom)
- Glute-ham bridges
- 30 second plank (on hands with arched back)
Do this with the AC off and you should have a nice sweat going by the end.
We hope you take this post to heart and don’t skip out on the bodyweight training. If you do, you may get fooled by your progress in the gym.
That’s it for now.