“All exercises that you do with your own bodyweight are great” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bodyweight exercises are the most traditional form of exercises with a lot to offer to your body in terms of overall health. According to research, bodyweight exercises are known to improve your strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. One of the major advantages of practicing bodyweight exercises is that you can do them almost anywhere and without using any fancy equipment.
What are some common bodyweight exercises?
While there are numerous bodyweight exercises that one can perform to improve their muscle strength and endurance, some of the common exercises include –
- Push Ups: This exercise contributes a lot to your core stability and is considered to be the best exercise to improve your upper body strength. It can be performed by a beginner as well as seasoned athletes alike and can be performed to target the muscles in your chest, shoulders and triceps.
- Squats: Bodyweight squats are a great alternative to barbell squats as they reduce the risk of injury to your spine due to excess weight. Squats target your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings and it is a great exercise to improve your core strength, balance and mobility in the long run.
- Pull Ups: This challenging upper body exercise is a great choice to target the muscles in your back, chest and shoulders. A highlighting feature of this bodyweight exercise is that it can be modified to target different muscles in your upper body.
- Burpees: This explosive workout is an ideal choice to shed those extra calories as it targets the muscles in your lower and upper body. In addition to improving your cardiovascular endurance, burpees target the muscles in your shoulders, arms, chest, legs and core.
- Planks: This exercise is a great alternative to crunches as it strengthens your core and helps improve your posture as well. Planks target the muscles in your abdomen, lower back and hips and reduce the risk of injury to your back.
Some other types of bodyweight exercises include lunges, dips, mountain climbers, leg raises etc. All the exercises mentioned above require no fancy equipment and can be performed in the comfort of your home.
What are the main benefits of bodyweight exercises?
Some of the key reasons to why bodyweight exercises should be an inseparable part of your training regime are given below:
- They combine cardio and strength training
When performed within a time limit, some of the bodyweight exercises can get your heart pumping to improve your cardiovascular health. For example, try performing as many burpees as possible within a minute on a regular basis and see how it affects your overall stamina in a positive way. You can even combine burpees with push ups to improve your muscle strength along with endurance.
- They help improve body flexibility
The machines in your gym are designed to move the weight in a single plane. Doing this puts excess pressure on your joints which can lead to an injury in the future. Bodyweight exercises do not place limitations on your range of motion and hence are an ideal choice to improve your balance and flexibility. Bodyweight exercises are the best form of functional training as they use multiple muscles and joints in your body simultaneously, unlike gym machines or dumbbells which target an isolated muscle.
- They require minimal space and equipment
Bodyweight exercises do not require you to buy any fancy gym equipment like dumbbells, barbells, machines etc. All you need is a mat (optional) and a good pair of shoes to perform these exercises. Moreover, you require very less space to perform these exercises and hence they can be done even when you are on vacation.
- They improve the overall health
Performing bodyweight exercises is fun as they take away the monotony associated with machines and barbells. You can develop your strength, flexibility, balance and stamina with bodyweight exercises. Studies have also shown that these exercises can help reduce anxiety and stress to improve your mental health.
The TakeawayIf you have just started your fitness journey, then it would be a wise decision to start with bodyweight exercises before shifting to gym training. As for those of you who are regular gym