- Exercise & Fitness
Body weight training is an extreme muscle workout
Forget the dumbbells. Stash the clumsy, bulky weight bench in the garage; you’ve stubbed your toe for the last time. Get those gimmicky seen-on-tv exercise fads ready for the yard sale. It’s time to upgrade.
The ultimate weightlifting and resistance training machine is completely portable and fits in any room: it’s your own body. Professional athletes and soldiers use bodyweight training to tone, and to gain muscle mass. Any time, any place - you are ready to go.
People have been doing calisthenics for centuries. The ancient Greeks didn’t go about sporting six-pack abs by using a plastic roller-wheel thingy that folds up to fit under the bed. They used technique and the weight of their own bodies to get those chisel-ready physiques.
Body weight exercises: no equipment needed
A push-up is kinda boring, right? It lacks... drama. Unless you are out in the pouring rain and there is a scary guy yelling “Give me 20!” at you. Push-ups are great for building upper body strength, but they are not particularly graceful. At least the kind we learned in PE aren’t.
For a variation, check out the Hindu Push-up.
It’s not the rigid, brute force pushup that we normally see. It’s still an upper body workout, but the extra movement increases flexibility as well as muscle tone. It requires more coordination and uses more energy.
The fluid motion of the Hindu Pushup makes it low impact, yet it is a better muscle workout than a standard push-up. It incorporates breathing exercises while it stretches your chest, back and shoulders.
The Hindu Squat uses a similar variation. The heels are raised, focusing the weight on the toes. Again, fluid motion lessens the hard impact of a standard squat. Coordinated breathing and constant motion improve balance while strengthening muscle.
I think this is more impressive than power lifting. Don’t you?
Core bodyweight exercises build strength and muscle
Yoga and Pilates are also body weight exercises, but for weight training without equipment, start out with the basic core resistance techniques:
- Push-ups build strength in the chest, shoulders and upper arms.
- Squats target the knees, upper legs and butt
- Lunges work the legs; varying the angle of the arms focuses different muscles.
- Crunches build up the abs.
- Dips work the upper body, arms and shoulders
- Pull-Ups or Chin-ups also work the upper body. For many, this is the most difficult exercise.
Without a heavy barbell, you won’t need a spotter on standby to rescue you if you get too tired or try to lift too much. Be careful just the same, especially if you are in an awkward position. Don’t forget to stretch!
Don’t underestimate your own body weight.
Body weight training builds muscle mass, and it also develops balance and coordination. The basic techniques are simple to learn and don’t require any equipment.
(Although, you may need to go looking for a low tree branch to do your pull-ups, if you don’t have a bar.)
As your stamina increases, add more reps to your program. Keep adding variations to the routine.
How soon could you be doing one handed pull-ups and handstand push-ups?