There’s nothing more pure than bodyweight exercises. The feeling of controlling your body during push ups, pull ups and squats is amazing once you master these exercises. These movements never fail to give a good workout. No matter how easy they become, you can always challenge yourself to do more or add a twist that makes the movements more difficult.
I’ve always been a big guy. I was an offensive lineman form the age of 9 and played that position all the way through college. The thought of doing push ups and pull ups was never very appealing to me because I always struggled so much more than most of my friends. Now bodyweight exercises make up the majority of the movements in my training program. I’m not ashamed to say that I still struggle with some bodyweight exercises. Pull ups are my fitness nemesis. However, I continue to work at it and slowly make improvements.
The best part about bodyweight training is that you carry your gym wherever you go. At home, outside at a park, in a hotel room, it doesn’t matter where you workout! There are always bodyweight exercises you can perform regardless of the setting. Our bodies can provide all the gym we would ever need. Now, I know boredom can set in with performing the same movements all the time. But there is literally an endless number of exercises and variations that you can perform using just your bodyweight. At the very least these movements are a great compliment to other forms of resistance training.
Why spend money on expensive workout equipment if you haven’t mastered your own body. Many people get caught up using the latest and greatest equipment and forget that the most important piece of equipment is free, our bodies. As a personal trainer, I always recommend mastering at least the most basic of bodyweight exercises. For me those include at least two exercises: the push up and the bodyweight squat. These movements encompass so many muscles in our bodies and everyone should be taught the proper form for these exercises. These two exercises alone give you a base with which to work before adding weight and complex movements.
Bodyweight exercises are also a great way to create functional fitness. Functional fitness has been a very popular term in the fitness industry for quite a few years now. Functional fitness is the ability to perform your daily activities at work, home or play without becoming overly fatigued. Push ups, pull ups, squats and sit ups, to name a few, replicate the movements you perform in your daily activities. Unless your training for a specific sporting event than functional fitness should be your main focus.
Goal setting can also be fun with bodyweight exercises. They are great for measuring your strength and the progress of your fitness program. Set goals for push ups, pull ups, or squats. See how many reps you can complete with good form in a given time. Or set a goal for how many of each exercise you can complete in a week’s time. Whatever the challenge, you can always push yourself to new heights. Start incorporating bodyweight exercises into your workouts and start taking control of your body.