In our own training plans we use a lot of bodyweight exercises. The advantage of these exercises is that they can be easily adjusted to make it easier or harder. Beginners can do almost the same workout as pros and learn movements that build on each other step by step. Additionally, you will gain a better understanding of your body and the interplay of the muscles.
What are bodyweight exercises?
Bodyweight exercises are practically all exercises that use the weight of your own body as resistance. Typical exercises are pull-ups, push-ups, rowing, planks, and squats. Our dynamic and static sling trainer are often an integral part of our workouts because they allow for infinitely variable progressions of individual exercises. The sheer number of exercises and variations in combination with the unrivaled mobility make them the real allrounders of training equipment.
Is that enough, though?
There are always those that claim bodyweight exercises are not enough to get you fit and strong. This instantly raises the question what strong and powerful actually is. When you say strong, are you actually just thinking of looking ripped, or do you mean the balance between individual muscle groups? Everybody has probably their own answer to this question but I would go out on a limb here and claim that an overwhelming number of trainees would be optimally challenged with bodyweight exercises. Here are some impressive examples:
Sam Tribble and Team
Progressions are key
The examples above show how incredibly powerful you can get with bodyweight training. All of these exercises have one thing in common – they demand numerous progressions and many, many hours of training. Progressions are the key to advance in bodyweight training. To clear this up with an example – pull-ups are too easy for you? Work your way towards an one-armed pull-up:
Doing 100 squats forces nothing but a weary smile from you? Try some progressions towards a single-leg squat. They can be varied pretty good with progressions and regressions.
If all of this is no problem for you you can always do a movement more explosive or very slow. Both will lead to new training impulses and form the base for continuous improvement.
The real ‘problem’ with bodyweight exercises…
… is ones own ego. Sitting in training machines that guide your movements it is much harder to look stupid. Exercises with your own bodyweight, however, are a sudden reality check for your own performance, especially in the beginning. Sling trainers can be a great help here to guarantee an optimal start and make progressions easier and more ‘ego-compliant’. The most important variables here are the angle between your body and the suspension point of the sling trainer and your stance width (wider = easier because of more stability // narrower or single-leg stance = harder). You can learn more about this here.
If you can handle your ego you will benefit from the huge advantages of this training. Realistic movements patterns, that can often be found in your daily life, will be trained and improved. The risk of injury of external weights is eliminated. Endless variations and progressions allow for a varied training program that has more than enough ideas for life. And the best part is – you can do it wherever you are. In the gym, at home, or on vacation!
What does your training look like? Do you implement a lot of bodyweight exercises into your workouts? What exercises do you do? Pull-ups, push-ups, muscle-ups? Let me know in the comments below!