When I first started working out the last thing I ever wanted to do was bodyweight exercises.
The thought of doing push-ups and pull-ups brought back memories of high-school PE classes where everyone shuffled pointlessly around the field at a speed so slow it seemed even more difficult than running for real.
So when I was twenty four I went out and bought my first weight bench with a barbell and a giant pile of dumbbells to go along with it.
After all, when you Google how to work out all you get is an un-ending stream of pictures and diagrams of how to use various weights to target and isolate different muscles.
However, the truth is that some of the best exercises only require your own bodyweight.
The pull up is still one of the best exercises you can ever do and you’d probably be surprised to learn that there are some extremely large and powerful guys out there who still find the pull up a challenging exercise that they do on a regular basis.
Read on to see why you should still incorporate bodyweight exercises into your training:
7 Reasons To Do Bodyweight Exercises
1) You Can Do Them Anywhere
One of the best things about bodyweight exercises is that you can do them anywhere.
Because of this you never have the excuse that you can’t workout because you can’t get to the gym.
No matter where you are you can always do some push-ups and squats.
Even pull ups you can do on almost any door.
Depending on your fitness level you can even do more advanced techniques such as handstand shoulder presses or L-sits.
Just put these exercises into a circuit and you have yourself an effective full body workout that you can do anywhere.
Whether you’re travelling and your hotel doesn’t have a gym or you’re just pressed for time and you need to get in a quick workout at home in your living room bodyweight exercises will never let you down.
2) They’re Free
Another great thing about bodyweight exercises is that they’re free.
You don’t need to invest in any expensive equipment or allocate a special place to put a weight bench and dumbbells.
You also don’t need to pay for a membership to your local gym either.
You can just jump right in and start training without having to spend any money first.
Bodyweight training takes away two of the biggest hurdles that many people face when they want to begin integrating a fitness routine into their lives;
- Not having enough time
- And not having enough money to spare
By removing these two hurdles bodyweight training can make it easier for you to break through any resistance you may be facing to start making regular exercise a part of your life.
With bodyweight exercises you just have fewer excuses for why you can’t workout.
3) They Focus On Compound Movements That Give The Best Results
Almost all bodyweight exercises are compound movements, meaning that each exercise works multiple muscle groups throughout the movement.
When you do a push up you work both the muscle groups across your chest, the front of your shoulders, and the triceps in your arms.
On top of that the push up requires you to have a firm core which works your abdominals as well.
The pull up is also an exercise which only uses your bodyweight but still uses a huge number of muscles at the same time.
The pull up uses the biceps in your arms as well as the muscles in your back to lift you up.
And just like the push up you have to keep a firm core throughout the exercise.
The focus on compound movements that bodyweight exercises have makes them incredibly efficient and healthy.
Compound movements will help you to build muscles faster and burn more calories while you work out making them the exercise of choice for anyone looking to get in shape without wasting anytime on fluff.
4) They Increase Your Metabolism And Burn More Fat
Bodyweight exercises can also help you to increase your metabolism and therefore burn more fat over time.
There are two main reasons for this and the first is that they’re so easy to put into circuits.
When you’re really looking to crank up your metabolism and burn as many calories as possible then circuit training is the way to go.
Because of the fast paced speed of circuit training it can be hard to do if you’re in a public gym or using a lot of different equipment but with bodyweight exercises you can quickly alternate between sets and keep your heart rate up to get in an awesome workout.
The second reason why bodyweight exercises burn so many calories is that they all focus on compound movements which work a large number of muscles at the same time.
This means that each set you do is burning significantly more calories than an exercise which is only focusing on one muscle group at a time, such as tricep kickbacks.
5) They Increase Your Core Strength
As we talked about earlier, bodyweight exercises are compound movements that require you to keep your whole body firm and solid throughout the movement.
Both push ups, pull ups, and dips are great exercises to work your abs as you have to keep your core tight and solid to remain balanced during the exercise.
Another great example of this is the handstand.
This exercise is not only great for your shoulders but also your entire body.
There’s no way you can stay balanced if your abs and back are not active and exerting force the entire time.
6) Bodyweight Exercises Improve Your Balance
The sixth reason in this list is actually very similar to the fifth above.
The reason that compound exercises work your core so well is that they require good balance.
When you are using your own bodyweight for resistance you are also forced to balance that bodyweight properly.
Instead of just steadying one weight you are actually balancing your entire body throughout the exercise.
This carries over to a much improved sense of balance and knowledge of how your body moves; something which training with weights alone cannot give you.
7) They Focus On Real Life Movements
And last but not least is the fact that bodyweight exercises focus on movements that you perform in real life.
They are all compound movements that use your whole body to exert force; either through a push or a pull motion.
One good example for anyone with young children is how many times a day you perform a squat in order to lift up your little ones.
The squat is a fundamental movement that you perform regularly whenever you lift an object so placing squats into your workout routine only makes you more fit for real life.
Another example would be lifting up a heavy object from a table.
Let’s say you spend all of your time doing muscle isolating exercises like bicep curls to focus on one muscle at a time.
Now, that’s great for making your biceps bigger but it also teaches those muscles to work alone in isolation as opposed to together with other muscle groups to accomplish a task.
When you pick up a bag of groceries from the table you are actually using both your core to add stability and your back to pull the object towards you.
That means that by practicing bodyweight exercises, like pull ups, your body is more functionally strong for performing these types of real world tasks and that makes you a significantly tougher and stronger person in reality.
You won’t just be good looking; you’ll be truly fit and strong as well.
Some people might not agree with me but I believe that everyone should incorporate some bodyweight training into their fitness routines.
There are simply too many benefits;
- You can do them anywhere
- They’re free
- They focus on compound movements that give the best results
- They help to increase your metabolism
- They increase your core strength
- They improve your balance
- They focus on real life movements
So try to incorporate a couple of bodyweight exercises into your own routine; whether at home or in the gym.
I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Until next time; stay healthy, happy, and strong!