Bodyweight training is in every single fitness magazine, blog, and has been estimated to be of the 10 most important trends in the fitness industry for 2020. Should you do bodyweight training? Is it a good option for you? Are there contraindication for that type of training? Before you pick an online bodyweight training routine or sign up for a bodyweight training class, there are a few things you should consider.
In this article we will explore the world of bodyweight training, its definitions, benefits and limitations:
Is Bodyweight Training the same as Calisthenics?
What are examples of Bodyweight Training?
What are the benefits of Bodyweight Training?
What are the limitations of Bodyweight Training?
Bodyweight is not (only) Calisthenics
Nowadays, we hear people using the term “calisthenics” and “bodyweight training” almost interchangeably, but this in incorrect.
Calisthenics is a type of bodyweight training. Its goal is to develop strength.
With calisthenics, you use your own bodyweight as a means to maximize your power and athletic ability.
Calisthenics is a branch of bodyweight training. While it is an excellent type of training for power and ability, it won’t necessarily produce changes in your cardiovascular endurance, agility or muscle endurance. Again, its main focus is to build strength.
Before you dedicate yourself to doing calisthenics only, keep in mind that you will improve your strength, but such a program will not result in significant change in your cardiovascular health and muscle endurance. Your best bet, if you’re interested in doing calisthenics is to also incorporate cardio sessions and bodyweight endurance workouts into your program.
So what are examples of bodyweight training?
Basic movements include running, jumping, pushing, pulling, lifting and squatting. Any movement that does not involve any type of equipment.
And Push Ups!
A bodyweight training coach will teach you how to progress from the simplest variations to the most complicated and advanced exercises starting with creating a strong and steady pillar of support with your abdominals and glutes.
The Benefits of Bodyweight Training
The benefits of bodyweight training are multiple – that’s why they’re so popular. Let’s take a closer look at 3 major benefits:
1. IT’S CONVENIENT
You can literally train anywhere, from your home, your office parking lot to your hotel or backyard. The fact that you don’t need any equipment makes this type of training extremely affordable and accessible to mostly everyone. No need for a gym or bulky expensive equipment, you can get started right away.
2. IT’S FUNCTIONAL
You can gain tremendous functional fitness in terms of strength, power, balance, and endurance from progressive bodyweight training.
The fact that you’re working with your entire body as a whole helps develop mind-muscle connection, and results in a superior muscular control. Because in real life, your muscles never work in isolation, they always work as a team.
A functional program is any group of exercises that better enable the participant to move through their normal life activities. For example, a functional program for a senior who aims to maintain their autonomy and stay in their home the longest possible will be very different from a program devised for a young parent who’s running after their toddler all day.
Therefore, this means that functional training focuses on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, rather than just lifting a certain amount of weight. With a functional bodyweight training routine, you will improve your balance and coordination on top of improving your general quality of life.
3. IT BURNS CALORIES
Because bodyweight exercises are almost always multi-joint exercises and require the use of multiple muscles at once, they take more work and energy to complete. That means a higher energy output and more calories spent to perform bodyweight exercises.
The Main Challenge with Bodyweight Training
Because of gravity, bodyweight training can predominantly focus on pushing movements over pulling. If you think of a squat or a lunge, all you’re doing is lowering your body towards the ground and resisting gravity by pressing up into your feet. Push movements overly focus on the anterior chain (the muscles in front of your body like your pectorals, quads and biceps) VS your posterior chain (the muscles in the back of the body like your trapezius, lats, glutes, and hamstrings).
For that reason, a good bodyweight training program will require the use of your environment (furniture, landscape), a pull-up bar or a suspension system. If your program is slanted towards pushing movements, you will experience structural imbalances that include
- being quadricep dominant (knee pain),
- rounded shoulders
- upper back, shoulder and neck pain
- lower back pain due to an anterior pelvic tilt.
A balanced program that targets both the anterior and posterior chain using minimal or no equipment is crucial to remaining injury-free and see improvements in your fitness.
You should consider adding bodyweight training to your exercise routine:
- If your goal is to be lean, limber and athletic;
- If your goal is to complete a full set of push ups or pull ups;
- If you want to feel like a badass because your body can do anything in the real world;
- If you travel a lot or run into crazy scheduling issues, you’ll be able to continue getting high quality workouts from anywhere.
Outdoor Group Classes
Our outdoor group classes in Marina, CA are highly focused on bodyweight training and adaptable to most fitness levels. Come try out a class or email us to enquire about our new Hybrid Private/Online personal training sessions from your home.
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