Bodyweight training is a great way to build endurance and muscle at the same time. No gym membership or special equipment is needed, so there’s no excuse to skip a workout. All you need is your body and a medium-sized space to move around in. The average living room works just fine, or you can do bodyweight exercises in your garage or yard.
If you’re looking to start a workout routine or mix up your current program, bodyweight training is a great place to look for inspiration. But first of all – what is it?
What are bodyweight exercises?
They are a group of exercises that use your body’s own weight as resistance for each movement, rather than gym equipment or weights. Examples include:
- Box jumps
- No cost. If you’re like me, owning workout equipment is cost prohibitive. Weights, giant rubber bands, extremely heavy bouncy balls – the costs can add up quickly. And we haven’t even talked about machines yet! Bodyweight exercises have the huge benefit of being totally free to use. In a world where the cost of living is constantly increasing, this is a major plus.
- Readily available. You can lose weights, misplace your resistance band, or experience technical difficulties with an electric machine that prevents you from using it. But you can never lose your body. It’s always there, just waiting for you to drop down and pump out ten pushups. Or twenty, because you’re awesome.
- Better for your joints. Studies show that weight training, including bodyweight exercises, improve joint health as well.
- Core strength. Besides your abs, your core also includes back muscles, obliques, and muscles around the pelvic area. Building up core muscle strength helps improve posture and balance, two things we all use every day even while not working out.
How can I do these at home?
Getting started is easy. Just throw on some workout clothes and pick a flat area to begin. You can work out indoors, outdoors, even on the rooftop if you want. Changing scenery is a major advantage of bodyweight training, so feel free to move around if you’re getting bored with the primary exercise area.
Next, check out a few beginners’ guides to bodyweight exercises. Think you know how to do a correct pushup? Might want to think again and double check. When I started bodyweight exercises, I realized it had been a decade or two since my high school gym teacher led the class in “Up….down….” while critiquing our form. Reading a basic tutorial on how to do a perfect pushup was a huge help.
Once you review a few basics, pick a routine and get started. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do the full amount of reps or perform all the moves; adjust your expectations based on your current fitness level. Remember, starting at a lower number of reps just means your overall progress will be higher.
Have fun with bodyweight training and remember to try new moves or variations of your favorites when things get a bit boring. Stop when it hurts, ask for advice when you need it, and stick with it for lasting results.