21 August 2018 6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Bodyweight Strength Training
Whether you call it calisthenics, gymnastics strength training or bodyweight training, using your own bodyweight as resistance for exercising is an effective way to develop strength, lean muscle mass and burn body fat. Bodyweight strength training provides all the benefits of conventional weight training including increased muscle mass, reduced body fat, and reduced risk of disease. Below are an additional six reasons why you should incorporate bodyweight strength training into your exercise program.
1. MINIMAL TO NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED.
Bodyweight training can be done anywhere. Your body becomes your gym; you can train at home, while you’re travelling and anywhere else you might want. Additionally, you don’t need to spend any money on fancy equipment or an overpriced gym membership. You can perform a myriad of exercises using only your body and the floor, and even more with the help of a simple horizontal bar, which is available at most parks.
2. BUILDS COORDINATION/NEUROMUSCULAR CONTROL
Although some coordination is required to perform weight lifting exercises, bodyweight exercise demands a much greater level. For example, handstand push-ups require a great deal of balance and motor control when compared to an overhead barbell press. A benefit of bodyweight training is that you will develop strength and the ability to produce external force but also your level of body control.
Many people find calisthenics intimidating and are deterred when they see advanced athletes performing skills like planche push-ups, which can seem unachievable. The positive news is that with the correct progressions and consistent training you can safely build the strength and motor control necessary to achieve these moves no matter your starting level.
3. LEARN SKILLS
Rather than lifting weights with the goal of lifting heavier weights, bodyweight training teaches you progressively more advanced movements and skills as you develop. In addition to getting stronger; you will learn handstands, muscle-ups, levers, human flag and various other tricks along your training journey. These skills can be great motivation to train toward; with clear successions to work for along the way to achieving the final skill.
Impressive skills are also a great way to interest children in exercise (and adults), encouraging them from an early age to establish a healthy lifestyle.
4. FUNCTIONAL TRAINING
“Functional training” is a commonly overused and misused buzzword in the fitness industry. Basically, it means training which has a benefit beyond the gym; usually within everyday life or sporting applications.
There is no universal “functional” program. For certain people lifting weights will be more functional than bodyweight training (e.g. strongman competitors). But for sports such as MMA, gymnastics, and grappling, which require athletes to proficiently manipulate their own bodies, bodyweight training can be the difference between winning and losing. It allows a higher level of body control and awareness.
Bodyweight training is also great for older adults. Simple bodyweight exercises can strengthen movements used in everyday life, helping to prevent against physical decline and falls.
5. IT’S FUN
Discontinuing an exercise program due to boredom is a common issue. Bodyweight training is a great method for those who are easily bored by conventional exercise techniques. There is great variety in the types of exercises you can do (cardio, strength, balance) and you can do so in almost any environment. Further, for those with children and time constraints, you can take your kids to the park and do some pull-ups on the bars while they play, or even use your kids for resistance, for example with weighted pull-ups.
Like all sports, calisthenics has a community of participants. From my experience, not matter where in the world I meet calisthenics athletes, they are supportive, hard-working, friendly, and fun people. There are informal meetings, competitions, and online groups where people can share their knowledge and help to motivate each other.
There is no reason why one shouldn’t do weights or should only do calisthenics exercises, but to maximize the results of your training everyone should try to include some bodyweight exercises into the regimen.