Less is more-Bodyweight Exercises
A System for Everybody? Beware of Injuries
Lean and simple exercises that can be done at any place you like and styling your body pretty efficiently. This article is about bodyweight exercises and how not to do it if you are a beginner. I got injured overdoing it, but now, two years later, I continue because it is so damn effective and beautifully simple.
I first came in contact with the concept of bodyweight exercises (BWE) when a friend pointed out Björn Menge's Fighter Fitness program. BWE are fitness-exercises that are executed with nothing else than your body. There‘s no need for weights or tools. This makes it easy to exercise when- and wherever I want. Although I am a minimalist I bought a pull-up bar for my door-frame which cost me around 15€ ($20) because pull-ups are a very important part of my training.
--Thanks adsense for promoting sugardrinks in an article about healthier living. Good algorhythm *smile*--
All You'll Ever Need
How it all Began
As there are plenty of articles out there describing every aspect of BWE the only thing I have to add is my personal experience of how I injured myself by executing these exercises in a wrong way and intensity and how I start again. I will add pics as soon as I find my camera to show you how fast and beautiful BWE work. I also have to admit that I wouldn‘t be able to tell you what muscles any BWE exercise trains although I checked plenty of web pages and checked some nice pictures of what pull and push ups can do to your body so I decided to start with it more or less carefully and just wanted to see what would happen. I don‘t like gyms and do not have any money for a personal trainer, so I thought I better started carefully, or what I then thought of as careful.
That was almost two years ago. I had a deal with a friend back then, that I would do a full body workout twice a week for at least half a year or I would have to pay him a $1000, as I have never really worked out before but always had a slim and healthy body with perfect predisposition for muscle shaping as it turned out.
That work out was hell. Mainly plenty of push-ups, pull-ups, jumps, crunches and knee-bending. It took approx. 45 minutes and I was totally exhausted at the end but that made me feel even better. I had overcome my prevalent sloppyness and grew stronger, week by week.
By that time I was taking some Hot Yoga classes. Hot not only because there were hot people taking part but because they heated up the room to about 40°C so you would sweat like an opossum. I stood in front of the mirror and fell in love with myself after only 2 month of that workout routine twice a week. I stopped doing Bikram-Yoga, I don‘t really know why, but I still continued with the BWE until one day or better night, my right arm began to hurt, when I laid on it or at work when I had to raise it. I am a teacher and do not even write with that arm. It has to wipe the board every once in a while. That is not really heavy labour. One day it became unbearable even without lifting it and I went to a neurologist who put me into the MR-tube *scary* but didn‘t really find anything. He said I had slightly torn some muscle and might have gotten an inflammation of some shoulder capsule. I got some massages and some anti-biotics. Both didn‘t really work, the latter most probably because I never took them. I decided to ignore the pain, stopped the workout and it became less. The pain.
Restarting After 2 Years
Now, almost 2 years later I still feel it, sometimes more, sometimes less and I have started to do BWE again. But this time much more careful and slower. I only exercise my torso as my legs get enough training from biking 10km everyday at good speed. It takes me maximal 20 minutes to do 35 pull-ups, 60 dips, 60 narrow push-ups and 7minutes of planks/blanks including 50 jumping jacks each for warm up and finish. Ah, I forgot the wide pull ups, the ones where your head ends up in front of the bar instead of your chin over it. I've started at the beginning of february 2012 and it is the first time I have ever come close to having a sixpack. I will add some pictures as soon as I find my camera and hope that this does not count as promoting nudity. Although I can still feel the arm most of my day, during the exercise I feel no pain in my arm. I am actually looking for a better neurologist/orthopede as the old one didn‘t really seem to take care. But I am pretty much more aware of my body nowadays and am really carefully executing my BWE.
Getting Into the Details
As I‘ve told you before, I am lousy on muscle-names and explanations why this is better than other workout-programs. I like to try things done by people who are humble but convincing. There were no big promises involved and it seems lean and simple. That‘s what I mostly go for in life. The only advice that I can give to you is that you not only should read quite a bit on the idea of BWE and the muscles that get pumped up (I do however have a pretty clear idea of what the individual BWE do to my body, I am just not into remembering all these muscle names). And the most important advice I would have to share is to start very slowly. After 4-6 weeks of regular workout you might want to add some difficulty to certain exercises or exchange some. That should be fine. Listen to your body attentively and don‘t overdo any of the exercises. Exhaustion is not necessary. You wouldn‘t be able to eat five pieces of new york cheescake and enjoy the last one as much as the first. I would bet that after that you would even forget how great that first piece tasted and never touch it again.
Also, I recommend you to do these BWE when you are in good health only. If you are physically weak you should definitely consult a medicine or a qualified BWE or bodybuilding-trainer so check if you execute the exercises properly. You should start with a mild full-body-workout but if you are already doing certain sports you might want to focus on the body-parts that are not trained by that sport or especially needed for it.
Summary of advice of someone who had to learn through pain:
- Get informed about exercises and their effects
- Start very slow if you are untrained/unexperienced with „bodybuilding“
- Get a physicians advice if you are a beginner
- Get a personal trainer experienced in BWE if you can afford it
- Listen to your body. Pain & exhaustion are serious signals to stop
- Don‘t eat approx. 2 hours before training [just ignore once and see]*
- Don‘t exercise until exhaustion as it is not necessary for basic exercise
- Always train your whole body-No muscle works alone
- Train according to your body-type
*BWE is different from weight-training. While it might make sense to take some carbohydrates before weightlifting, you should carefully try this with BWE and see if you can still do it. If so, feel free.
Thorough Instructions for Beginners
Very Useful Links not only for Starters
Also check the links below. They are a great ressource to begin with. Feel also free to ask me any question. I will not give you a shallow answer if I don't know something good to say but I might be able to share my experience with that subject.
- Lots of videos and other stuff but also a good forum to find answers to your questions at Dragondoor
- If you happen to know some German, check the Fighter-Fitness-forum
- The hottest promoter of BWE but don‘t be deceived: The workouts are the true beauty of these videos. There is a page called bodyrock.tv but it feels like they‘ve lost their spirits with Zuzanna gone. Check it out anyhow.
- Be aware of potential dangers
- Hub with plenty of bodyrock.tv-workouts with Zuzanna
- For those who would like to build up some muscle tissue
- Find out about the differences between weight-lifting and BWE. This hub is a good start
- Building up strength is more than pumping up your muscles. Start here
And for all those who would like to attain a perfect body without lifting a finger my newest hub on magical body transformation