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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 August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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