By Vic Magary
For as long as man has realized that intentional physical movement can improve health and fitness, bodyweight exercises have been integral to training. Below are 10 reasons that I love bodyweight training:
1. Foundational for other training methods.
In my opinion, becoming proficient with bodyweight exercises is mandatory before adding external resistance. If you can’t perform a full range of motion squat with just your bodyweight while maintaining good postural alignment, stepping into the power rack and throwing a barbell across your shoulders is premature. If you can’t do push ups with near perfect technique, perhaps you should hold off on the bench press (even if you’re trying to get rid of man boobs).
2. Anywhere is your gym.
I once knew a guy who would do push ups in a Starbuck’s bathroom. Maybe that’s a little weird but it goes to show that nearly anyplace can be used for bodyweight training. Your living room or the neighborhood park are fine choices, but don’t be afraid to go outside of the norm and do a few squats in your cubicle at work.
3. No equipment needed.
Bodyweight training is the cheapest, most convenient training there is as there is no equipment necessary. . . sort of. I’ll stand by what I’ve said in previous posts in that a pull up bar is mission critical. But that pull up bar can be a sturdy tree branch or the top of the swing set at the park.
4. Can be scaled down for beginners.
If you are brand new to fitness, bodyweight exercises are where you should start. Can’t do a push up – not even from your knees? Place your hands on the wall or the back of your couch. Can’t squat so that your hip crease is below your knees at the bottom of the movement? Fine – gradually increase your range of motion, striving for some improvement each session. And the best part is you can just follow the paleo diet and lose fat pretty easily…
5. Can be scaled up for advanced practitioners.
If the standard push up is too easy, try putting your feet on a chair or working on one-armed push ups. If the burpee is getting boring try doing it with a tuck jump thrown in the mix.
6. Near infinite variety.
Maybe a little creativity is necessary, but there are near endless combinations and varieties of bodyweight exercises. Scott Sonnon’s TacFit Program is a prime example of bodyweight movement ingenuity.
7. Train across different modes.
Looking for upper body strength training? Try the hand stand push up. Balance and flexibility? Give pistols a go. Blow torch some body fat? Knock out 100 burpees. Bodyweight exercises can run the gamut of objectives from strength to endurance to body composition to coordination.
Try doing a few rounds of bear crawls and crab walks and tell me you aren’t smiling. Basic tumbling skills like rolls and cartwheels are always a blast. And then there are those crazy parkour folks if you like your fun a little more “extreme”.
9. Conducive to group training – no matter how large.
Whether you are gathering the family for a backyard workout or organizing physical training for a few hundred soldiers, bodyweight exercises will get your group in shape.
10. Ultimate excuse eliminator.
Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere with no equipment, scaled up or down to meet any fitness level, and they’re fun. And what was your excuse again?
[Ed. Note: Vic Magary is a former United States Army Soldier and author of the Best Selling System The 31 Day Fat Loss Cure. He is known for practical fitness and fat loss advice that can be applied regardless of your age or training experience. The 31 Day Fat Loss Cure guarantees that you will lose at least 10 pounds in 31 days or your money back. To get started with your fat loss program, click here now.]