The world is your gym. This isn’t only a saying but a fact. As long as you have a healthy, functioning body, you can work out. You don’t need weights or equipment to move closer to your fitness goals. I personally believe that the key to getting your body at its optimal state aesthetically and functionally is to add bodyweight exercises to a solid weight training program.
Bodyweight training is essential. Not only is it great for muscle recovery but it also builds body awareness. Bodyweight training also prepares you for weight training. How can you squat with a a barbell on your back when you can’t even do it with your own body weight?
Top 5 Bodyweight Exercises
Push-ups: These are my favorite bodyweight exercises because they’re so convenient. You can do them anywhere at anytime of your choosing. You just have to drop down on the ground and get to work. I used to rely on push-ups before I ever stepped foot in a weight room. They set a good foundation for me to start with since they work a number of muscles like the chest, tricep, shoulder, and core.
Sprints: When people think of bodyweight exercises, sprints don’t often come to mind. It’s usually the traditional bodyweight exercises you can do at home. To do sprints all you need is your body and open space. Sprinting can help you with any fitness goal. Sprinting can help you build muscle, burn fat, and increase athleticism. It’s also a very underrated strength building tool. Anyone that’s looking to build their legs without using weights should incorporate sprints into their routine. There are many ways to do sprints.
Chin-ups: In a previous article I mentioned chin-ups as weighted exercise when you add weights to it. You can still get great benefits from chin- ups when using only your body weight. Chin-ups will build your lats, traps, abs, and upper back. It’s also good for grip strength since you have to hold onto the bar to pull yourself up.
The good thing about the chin-up is that you don’t need a chin-up bar to do the exercise. You can go to a playground and grab a monkey bar or something similar to pull yourself up. If you’re feeling brave you can even use a sturdy looking tree branch.
Leopard Crawl: In the last five years I’ve gotten familiar with the Leopard crawl exercise. It’s one of the most interesting exercises I’ve done. This is a great move to increase core strength and coordination . In addition to the core muscles, Leopard Crawls strengthens various muscles in your upper body. It’s also strengthens your nervous system due to the contra-lateral nature of the movement.
Jumps: As someone who grew up playing sports, I big fan of jumping exercises. Jumping exercises are a great way to build athleticism. They’re similar to sprints in that they can build some very powerful legs. Jumps can be used as a form of cardio too if you use them intelligently. I speak from personal experience when I say using too much volume in your jumping exercises can lead to joint pain. I currently use jumps before my heavy squat and deadlift days as a way to prime my nervous system.This is just one way I include bodyweight exercises in my workout routine.
How I incorporate bodyweight Movements To My Training
Morning Workout: One way I incorporate body weight exercises to my workout routine is by doing them in the morning. Twice a week, I do 5-10 minutes of Leopard Crawls before getting ready for work. Doing this is my substitution for coffee because it wakes me up. Also, challenging myself as a way to start my day helps me build my fitness mindset.
Workout recovery: I use bodyweight exercises for workout recovery, in the form of yoga . I’ve mentioned this before but yoga has several benefits for lifters including stress relief, increased joint stability, and better flexibility. When I feel beat up from a previous day’s workout, yoga helps revitalize my body.
Workout Finisher: I sometimes use bodyweight exercises as a form of cardio. It’s called Density Training. The idea is to in as many reps as possible of a movement during a certain time period. I like to do a circuit involving bodyweight push-ups, body weight squats, and planks. Below is how it’s structured.
- Push-ups: As many reps as possible in 45 seconds
- Squats: As many reps as possible in 45 seconds
- 45 second Plank
- Repeat cycle
- Rest for 1.5 minutes
- Repeat cycle
The goal is to do at least three rounds of the circuit. The main benefits is increased muscle from the high volume and fat burn due to the increase in heart rate.
I hope this post convinced you to add some bodyweight exercises to your routine. I still prioritize weight training but it’s good to have some variety in your fitness routine. To tap into your body’s full potential