For as long as man has realized that intentional physical movement can improve health and fitness, body weight exercises for beginners have been integral to training. Below are 10 reasons that I love bodyweight training:
Top 10 Reasons I Love Body Weight Training
#1 Foundational For Other Training Methods
In my opinion, becoming proficient with basic bodyweight exercises is mandatory before adding external resistance. If you can’t perform a full range of motion squat with just your bodyweight while maintaining good postural alignment, stepping into the power rack and throwing a barbell across your shoulders is premature. If you can’t do push-ups with near perfect technique, perhaps you should hold off on the bench press (even if you’re trying to get rid of man boobs).
#2 Anywhere Is Your Gym
I once knew a guy who would do push ups in a Starbuck’s bathroom. Maybe that’s a little weird but it goes to show that nearly anyplace can be used for bodyweight training. Your living room or the neighborhood park are fine choices, but don’t be afraid to go outside of the norm and do a few squats in your cubicle at work.
#3 No Equipment Needed
Bodyweight training is the cheapest, most convenient training there is as there is no equipment necessary. . . sort of. I’ll stand by what I’ve said in previous posts in that a pull-up bar is mission critical. But that perfect pull up bar can be a sturdy tree branch or the top of the swing set at the park.
#4 Can Be Scaled Down For Beginners
If you are brand new to fitness, bodyweight exercises are where you should start. Can’t do a push up – not even from your knees? Place your hands on the wall or the back of your couch. Can’t squat so that your hip crease is below your knees at the bottom of the movement? Fine – gradually increase your range of motion, striving for some improvement each session. And the best part is you can just follow the paleo diet and lose fat pretty easily…
#5 Can Be Scaled Up For Advanced Practitioners
If the standard push up is too easy, try putting your feet on a chair or working on one-armed push ups. If the burpee is getting boring try doing it with a tuck jump thrown in the mix.
#6 Near infinite variety
Maybe a little creativity is necessary, but there are near endless combinations and varieties of bodyweight exercises. Scott Sonnon’s TacFit Program is a prime example of bodyweight movement ingenuity.
#7 Train across different modes
Looking for upper body strength training workouts? Try the hand stand push up. Balance and flexibility? Give pistols a go. Blow torch some body fat and how to measure body fat? Knock out 100 burpees. Bodyweight exercises can run the gamut of objectives from strength to endurance to body composition to coordination.
Try doing a few rounds of bear crawls and crab walks and tell me you aren’t smiling. Basic tumbling skills like rolls and cartwheels are always a blast. And then there are those crazy parkour folks if you like your fun a little more “extreme” you can learn how to do parkour.
#9 Conducive to group training – no matter how large
Whether you are gathering the family for a backyard workout or organizing physical training for a few hundred soldiers, bodyweight exercises will get your group in shape.
#10 Ultimate excuse eliminator
Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere with no equipment, scaled up or down to meet any fitness level, and they’re fun. And what was your excuse again?
What are your favorite bodyweight exercises? How do you implement them into your training? Let me know in the comments below.
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Is it possible to add bulk/weight with body weight training? I’m underweight and need to gain weight, but I don’t want it to be fat…!
While I know you’re a fan of TacFit (and watching youtube videos, I think some of it is awesome), but I am in love with DragonDoor’s Convict Conditioning. Great progressions up to 6 “master” exercises.
I LOVE bodyweight exercises! Some people think you need weights to get muscles, some don’t realize that using your own body as resistance can get you into incredible shape. It helps to get rid of body fat, which is what’s covering your muscles anyway, hiding them. The bodyweight exercise I love to hate is the Burpee. Call me crazy I know, but this move will get you into shape fast.
Finally someone made a great post about bodyweight exercises! All I ever use are bodyweight exercises because I just don’t like the gym or lifting weights.
It’s actually really easy to find different ways to do them and different things to do them on. My favorite place to go is my local park and do exercises there.
Great post Vic! Over a year ago I stopped going to the local globo gym and have been training at my house and several local parks. I have minimal equipment and have seen huge gains in strength and fat loss. My go to exercises are Burpees, Pull-ups, Dips, Jump squats, sprints, and Box Jumps. The only piece of equipment I use on a regular basis besides my own body and a pull-up bar is my kettlebell. If you have one or two kettlebells, a pull-up bar and a jump rope you really don’t need anything else to gain muscle and get into fantastic shape. This coming monday I will be traveling to Columbia with my girlfriend for 10 days and I am stoked that I can get in some great workouts while traveling. The only equipment I will be taking with my is my jump rope and one resistance band. One last point to make for those of you who do go the gym to train. Instead of waiting on the meathead to get done bench pressing for 45 minutes bang out varies sets of push-ups. Even when I trained at the gym I still incorporated a lot of body weight exercises into my training regimen! Again, love the post man!
I am a 6’5″, 255 lb beast with about 18% body fat. I’m very strong and quick for my size. And all I ever do is bodyweights. Every now and then, I’ll throw in some variety by using sandbags and weighted vests, but at the root of my workouts will always be bodyweight exercises. Cavemen didn’t have weights, neither did the Spartans, neither did the Zulu warriors, nor the Shaolin fighter monks. And these are a few of the strongest groups of fighters in the history of mankind. Something to think about.
Bodyweight exercises are awesome! I actually just recently stepped up my bodyweight training after purchasing the TacFit R.O.P.E. system. It really is an intense program, and I just love how bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere.
I love how I ALWAYS get sore somewhere new and my body is always guessing.