When it comes to creating and following a fitness program or workout routine, one obvious component you want to include is resistance training of some sort. Weight training with free weights and machines is popular - and rightly so - but they are certainly not the only method. Bodyweight exercises, also referred to as calisthenics or plyometrics, are a great tool to incorporate into your current routine.
What are Bodyweight Exercises?
Bodyweight exercises, as their name implies, use the weight of your own body to provide resistance when performing exercises. For example, a push up is a bodyweight exercise. When performing the pushing motion, you're working to push the weight of your body up off the floor. But what's so special about bodyweight exercises? Well they provide a plethora of benefits, including:
- Combination of strength and cardiovascular conditioning
- Can be done anywhere
- Large emphasis on core engagement and strengthening
- Easily increase in difficulty with simple modifications
- Incorporate several muscles at once (compound exercise)
How To Incorporate Bodyweight Exercises
There are some people who train with such heavy weights, but once you master bodyweight exercises, you will dance circles around them. There is much to be said about being able to pull up your own weight (pull ups) or push up your own weight (pushups). So how do you add bodyweight exercises into your current training routine? One great way to start is to slip in bodyweight exercises in between sets - as active rest sets - or as a burnout at the end of a routine. For example, in between bench press sets, do a set of pushups to failure. Or after hitting several sets of bent over rows, do a set of pull-ups to failure.
But I can’t even do a pull up!
Mastering bodyweight exercises can be tricky at first. You have to learn the form and gain the strength and confidence to properly execute them. Let's say your goal is to be able to do a pull up. First you start by working on inverted rows and lat pulldowns. These exercises mimic the motion of a pull up and help strengthen the muscles required to do one. For pushups, start on your knees and work on being able to drop the entire way to the floor and back up.
Eleven Excellent Bodyweight Exercises
Try slipping in the following bodyweight exercises to your strength training routines:
- Tuck Jumps
- Mountain Climbers
- Push Ups
- Chin Ups
- Pull Ups
- Wall Sits
- Pistol Squats
- Handstand Push Ups
While they can be tough at first, bodyweight exercises are excellent and can really take your fitness game to the next level. Better yet, they can be done literally anywhere and can leave you with a nice sweat in very little time.
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