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By Michael Volkin (aka The Volkinator)
I’ll admit it. I’m hooked on bodyweight exercises.
I’ve been working out for two decades, rotating through dozens of different workout approaches, but one aspect of my workouts has always been consistent – my use of bodyweight exercises.
By the term bodyweight exercises, I mean fitness workouts that don’t require free weights, and where our own weight provides resistance during the exercise. This might make you think of calisthenics and maybe HumanaNatura’s comprehensive calisthenics program. These are great examples of bodyweight exercise.
Bodyweight workouts are extra-efficient, since they emphasize whole body movement and task multiple muscle groups at the same time (as opposed to the muscle group isolation that is typical in weightlifting). In addition to providing resistance or strength training, bodyweight workouts can also provide cardio conditioning, and improve agility and flexibility too.
I never really thought about why bodyweight exercises had remained so important to me until I started developing my new fitness product, Strength Stack 52, a fitness program designed to be fun, flexible, and effective. The project made be better appreciate the many important aspects and benefits of bodyweight exercises.
If you exercise regularly and don’t incorporate bodyweight exercises, here are thirteen reasons to start doing bodyweight exercises today:
- Dual purpose workouts – It’s easy to mix strength training exercises with cardio exercises.
- Efficient workouts – Reduce the time spent loading barbels, adjusting machines and driving to a gym.
- Burn that fat, fast – Just a few minutes of exercise increases your metabolic rate, which allows your body to burn more calories throughout the day.
- Accessibility – any age or skill level can do them.
- Improved core strength – Most people don’t know that the core area comprises more than just abs. The core actually makes up almost 30 muscles and bodyweight exercises can improve them all.
- Gumby like flexibility – With a full range of motion, bodyweight exercises are a great way to keep joints limber.
- Convenience – The number one excuse for not working out is a lack of time. With efficient bodyweight exercises, no time is no excuse.
- Better balance – Since no weights are used, you are using your body as balance to complete the exercises.
- Reduced boredom – With hundreds of bodyweight exercises you can do just about anywhere, there is little chance you could get bored compared to sitting in a machine doing the exact same movement over and over.
- Fun – There are many ways you can structure bodyweight routines, including competing with other people to challenge yourself to push out more exercises and reps.
- Cheap – No need for gym memberships!
- Injury prevention – Usually safe as you won’t drop a weight or bar on yourself and the movements are usually quite simple.
- Plateau breaker – If you are at the gym and want to add variety to your workouts, it’s easy to turn a normal set into a super set with bodyweight exercises.
As you can see from my thirteen reasons, bodyweight exercises are a great way to structure and improve your own workout routines, at any skill or fitness level.
I hope you will take these ideas to heart and start to explore bodyweight exercises beginning today!
Michael Volkin is the author of Ultimate Basic Training and inventor of Strength Stack 52 fitness cards, which has been launched as a new venture on Kickstarter .