At the modern gym, many people use only complex machines while others work up a sweat using only heavy iron weights and barbells. Somehow along the way, perhaps simple bodyweight exercises lost their importance.
This is too bad because bodyweight exercises can be extremely challenging in their own right and work all sorts of muscle groups that a nautilus machine will never touch. They are absolutely critical to incorporate into your weekly regimen as they work much more than the primary muscles that drive the movement.
For example, an Air Squat strengthens not just the upper thigh muscles but challenges your hips, core, and your balancing abilities as well. A simple classic Pushup will tone your spine and legs as you struggle to keep them in a straight line during the movement.
It’s for not nothing that Bodyweight exercises should be considered foundational to building long-lasting strength.
Some other advantages of performing these movements are that you can do them just about anywhere without the need for specialized equipment. A park bench can help you do Dips, and the floor can be used for Burpees and Squats. You can do these movements just about anywhere- a park, the beach, and your own living room. Therefore, they’re convenient and inexpensive: no gym membership required.
And don’t discount them as easy either. If you weigh just 100lbs, performing a set of unassisted Pull Ups is going to stress your entire musculature to its limits. One of the best advantages of bodyweight exercises are that they stress both your cardiovascular system and your muscle strength endurance simultaneously. Rapidly changing the position of your body keeps the heart rate elevated, while gravity works to get your muscles tissue burning.
If you’re just getting started out with physical fitness, Bodyweight exercises are a great way to go. They’re easy to learn and will get you primed for more challenging weight training down the road. Start with some of the video demonstrations below.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.