Most people think that the only way to get the fit, strong body they want is to work out with machines or heavy weights.
But most people are wrong.
Because here’s the thing: the popularity of training equipment mostly comes down to marketing. Fitness companies need to have something to sell you, so they sell you on machines, fancy gadgets, and complicated systems.
Sure, weights and a few pieces of uncomplicated equipment like plyometric boxes, kettlebells and medicine balls can be useful tools to propel you to the fitness level you want. But the truth is that you don’t need any of these to get into incredible shape.
Because the simplest and most effective way to develop strength, gain endurance and lose fat is to train using nothing more than your own body.
Not convinced yet? Here are five ways why bodyweight training should be a key component of your fitness regimen:
1. It’s 100% portable
Probably the best thing about bodyweight training?
You can do it anywhere.
It doesn’t matter if all you have is a tiny apartment studio, a park, your parents’ basement, a hotel room—you can still work out.
Because with bodyweight training, there’s no need for expensive gyms or fancy equipment. All you need is your own body, some motivation and a tiny bit of space—and you can get in a kick-ass workout every single time.
2. It uses your entire body
Another reason bodyweight training rocks is that most of the time, when you train using your own body weight, you’ll be using all or nearly all the muscles in your body, rather than isolating just a few muscles at a time.
Why is this so cool? For a number of reasons:
- Your body was built to work as a whole, so when you train using your entire body you’re ensuring you’ll also be able to function well in real life situations
- You burn more calories when you work all your muscles instead of just isolating one or two
- It turns your body into a fast metabolizing, fat-burning machine
- It leads to quicker, more noticeable results
3. Builds core strength
When machines got popular in the 90’s, people inevitably lost core strength.
Why? Because when you’re sitting down doing exercises such as biceps curls, shoulder presses or lat pull downs, you just don’t use your core very much, if at all.
On the other hand, when you do bodyweight exercises like push ups, pull ups and squats, you’re forced to use your core in order to maintain good form—meaning you’ll end up having strong core muscles even if you don’t do a single sit up.
4. Results in less injuries
When I used to do CrossFit and constantly train with heavy weights, I’d end up injured on a fairly regular basis.
Whether it was shoulder issues from too many heavy overhead presses, a tweaked out neck that couldn’t turn to the side, or a rib that popped out of place (this does NOT feel good, trust me), heavy weights just put us at much greater risk for injury.
On the other hand, bodyweight exercises are much easier on your joints, less likely to put you at risk for overtraining, and also mean you avoid accidents like dropping a barbell on your toe or smashing your finger between two weight plates (yikes!).
5. It makes you a better athlete
To be successful, most athletes need to be able to run, jump, and respond with incredible speed. They need stellar upper and lower body strength as well as supreme balance and flexibility. They need to be able to use their body as a whole, not just in isolation.
Athletes need to constantly work at improving their fitness level in order to be the best they can be at their sport. And since bodyweight training results in greater strength, power, endurance, speed, balance, coordination and flexibility, it makes it the ideal method of training for athletes.
And if you use your own body as your gym, you’ll become a better athlete too.
10 awesome bodyweight exercises you can try at home
Wondering just how to incorporate bodyweight training into your workout routine?
Start adding some of these ridiculously awesome exercises to your workouts:
- Reptile push ups
- Pike jumps
- Walking lunges
- High knees
- Triceps push ups
- Tuck jumps
- Handstand push ups
- Box jumps (just use a sturdy ledge if you don’t have a box)
(Click on the links for a short video on how to actually do the exercises.)
And you can go here for some workouts that use only your own body weight.
Now what are you waiting for? Go try out some of the exercises and get in incredible shape today—without the gym.