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9 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks

9 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks

There’s no doubt about it: there are a lot of people out there who would argue that without question, training with weights is the best way to get fit and strong, fast.

In fact, the majority of the fitness world treats bodyweight training as far less superior than heavy weight training, reserved only for traveling, coming back from an injury, or exercise newbies.

But there’s another group of people—people like Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning, and Al Kalvaldo, bodyweight and calisthenics expert, as well as the impressive feats of athletes like Barstarzz—who are proving that calisthenics are making a comeback. As masters of exercises like one-arm pull-ups, single-leg squats and one-arm handstand push-ups, these fitness fanatics are proving that bodyweight training is not just for wimps.

Here are 9 reasons why bodyweight training rocks:

1. It requires minimal to no equipment

Unlike most other forms of exercise, all you need to do bodyweight training is your own bodyweight—and maybe a pull-up bar or some dip bars. This gives you the freedom to work out in your local park (many city parks have pull-up bars to use—or the monkey bars at a kid’s playground work just fine), or even just in your own home.

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This is a huge plus for anyone who travels often, doesn’t have access to a gym, or just plain likes to be able to work out anywhere, any time.

2. It’s 100% free

Gym memberships these days can range from $25 a month at a chain gym like 24 Hour Fitness to $200 or more at a CrossFit gym. For anyone on a budget, that’s a huge monthly expense!

Switching to bodyweight training means you no longer have to pay your monthly gym dues, since all of a sudden your entire workout is free.

3. It helps your body move like it was supposed to

You’ve probably heard a lot about functional fitness, a type of workout that helps you move better in real life and in sports, these days.

And there’s no doubt about it, bodyweight training is the ultimate form of functional fitness, since it helps you develop useful athletic abilities that can benefit you no matter what you’re doing—whether you’re climbing a tree, lifting a suitcase over your head in an airplane, or playing with your kids at the playground.

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Better yet, since bodyweight training means you’ll be moving your body the way it was designed to move, you’ll move better in all areas of your life.

4. It makes you a better athlete

If you do any other sports aside from your workouts, you probably need to run, jump, twist, lunge, squat, pull, or press, if not all of the above.

And since bodyweight training helps your body move the way it wants to move naturally, all the bodyweight exercises you learn to do will help you tremendously in whatever sport you do, and make you a better, stronger and more efficient athlete overall.

5. It protects your joints and keeps you injury-free

To be strong all over, you need to not only have strong muscles, but also strong joints. And because bodyweight training works the joints and tendons as they are meant to be worked, it helps to create strong joints and tendons for life—and helps protect you from injuries.

One of the reasons that so many bodybuilders end up with joint issues in their shoulders, wrists, knees, or neck is that the joints of the body are simply not designed to deal with heavy loads of weight training. But calisthenics can prevent these all too common injuries by helping to strengthen your joints and tendons as well as your muscles.

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6. It maximizes strength

Getting strong isn’t all about how much weight you can lift, press, or pull—it’s also about how strong your joints and tendons are. And since bodyweight training works your joints like they’re meant to be worked, calisthenics can help develop greater strength and power than weight training alone.

Plus, since bodyweight movements use multiple muscle groups at once, bodyweight training helps the body learn to work together as a whole, making your body more efficient overall and as strong as possible for your build.

7. It’s a cool party trick

Have you ever seen someone do a one-arm push-up, a freestanding handstand, or even a pistol in person? It’s a pretty impressive feat—and will no doubt amaze your friends.

So while I would never recommend switching to bodyweight training just to impress your friends, it’s certainly a plus.

8. It builds muscle (yes, really)

When most people think of bodyweight training, they don’t associate it with building muscle—you need heavy weights for that, right? Wrong.

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If you stick to light, modified versions of bodyweight exercises, that’s all too true. But if you constantly push yourself to master harder versions of bodyweight exercises—going from the standard push-up to one-arm push-ups, from the basic air squat to a one-legged squat (also called a pistol), and regularly including handstand push-ups and harder versions of pull-ups into your routine—your body will turn into a muscle building machine.

9. It regulates body fat

Take a look at a lot of bodybuilders and participants of endurance athletics these days, and you’ll notice a trend: not all of them are as lean as you might imagine for someone doing so much exercise. That’s because when you’re constantly overloading your body with intense exercise, the natural result is that you get hungry—and unfortunately, you don’t always burn more calories than you eat with that type of training.

Because excess weight makes bodyweight training harder, however, your natural tendency will be to slim down and lose body fat to make the training easier and more efficient. As a plus, since the training is easier on your body, your appetite will level off and you’ll start eating the right amount for your body.

So find a pull-up bar, some dip bars, or just use your own body and get training in calisthenics today. You’ll not only get stronger, leaner, and more muscular—you’ll also become a better, healthier athlete overall.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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