Tuesday 30 September 2014

Bodyweight Training 101

This post will be highlighting one of the simplest methods for training and conditioning, bodyweight training. This method is definitely not something new or trendy, as it goes back thousands of years. Simply stated, bodyweight training is any exercise that involves using the body as the means of resistance to perform work against gravity.

With over 200 bones and 600 muscles in the body that work in accordance with each other, it just makes sense for anyone looking for a strong and balanced physique. Although walking could be considered a bodyweight exercise, let's be a little more creative here.

Calisthenics, pushups, chin-ups, plyo-metrics, yoga... see where I am going with this?

Sure traditional free weights and machines can make an individual stronger, but one advantage of bodyweight training is that you can do it almost anywhere. Most bodyweight exercises are "closed-chain" exercises which include multiple joints as the resistance is moved away, from or toward an anchored body part. By allowing the individual to work in a 3-dimensional or multi-planar environment to overcome the force of gravity, it is head and shoulders above a single-joint exercise such as a bicep curl.

The main disadvantage for bodyweight training is that it is perceived too easy for advanced trainees and  too difficult for beginners. One can argue that speed of contraction, rest intervals and volume can make the "elite" beg for forgiveness as well as isometric and eccentric work can help the beginner progress to the next level.

From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the gymnasts and military of today... we have proof that bodyweight training is highly effective. Why wait... weight... to try it?