- Exercise & Fitness
Bodyweight Training Basics
BodyWeight Training Basics
Bodyweight Training Basics: A Domestic Approach
Bodyweight training is one of the most effective ways to increase your strength and improve muscle tone, all without spending your hard earned money on expensive, space-hogging equipment. Not only that, but by using only your bodyweight as resistance, the muscle you build will be proportional to your body size, which means you will have a lean, attractive physique rather than an unnaturally bulky body. This happens because once your strength peaks (usually after you’re able to do 12 reps in a row); your muscle development slows down due to hypertrophy. It’s at this point that your muscles instead begin to increase their ability to resist fatigue rather than continue growing.
There are generally three types of bodyweight training:
With dynamic exercises, the focus is on moving your body through a range of motion using your own bodyweight and gravity as resistance. You’re probably already familiar with lunges, crunches and push-ups, all of which are considered to be dynamic exercises. When you’re performing these exercises, you are experiencing two types of contractions: concentric and eccentric. During the concentric phase, your muscles are contracting or shortening, such as when you reach the crunching phase of a sit-up. This is followed by the eccentric phase or recovery phase, where you control how fast your body returns to the original position.
Isometric exercises focus on muscle contraction without movement. These exercises are often used by gymnasts, runners, skiers and many others to improve various aspects of their performance by increasing the strength of a muscle when held in a certain position. Two isometric exercises you may already be familiar with are planks and wall squats. To perform a plank, you essentially balance yourself face down while in the “top” position of a push-up. To perform a wall squat, you “sit” against the wall and hold this position as if there were a chair beneath you. Planks would benefit a runner because they help to keep the midsection stiff, which makes for a smoother stride while running. If you’re a skier, wall squats are beneficial because they allow you to stay in the “tucked” position longer.
Plyometric ExercisesPlyometric exercises focus on explosive movements and help to improve your strength in two different ways. The first is that it improves neuromuscular coordination, which means that it helps to synchronize the firing of different groups of muscle fibers. Plyometric exercises also help to stimulate much stronger muscle contractions by using your tendons like elastics or rubber bands. For optimal results, your plyometric exercises should mimic the movements that you are trying to improve. If you play basketball for example, you can increase your throwing power by throwing a weighted medicine ball and improve your vertical leap by repeatedly jumping on progressively higher and higher blocks.