While push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups may seem outdated, bodyweight training is still one of the most common forms of exercise.
A form of strength training, there’s a variety of health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training:
- Increases bone density
- Heightens metabolism for weight loss or management
- Reduces symptoms of depression, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions
- Improves overall quality of life by reducing the risk of injury and falls
Some research suggests that strength training improves cognitive skills. This is particularly important for the aging population. Because bodyweight training requires little to no equipment, it’s ideal for workout novices. Even more, the versatility of bodyweight exercises allows users to reduce the intensity.
Some amendments to common exercises include:
- Eccentric training. For some exercises, the concentric phase, or the contraction of the muscles, may be too intense for beginners. But this doesn’t mean the exercise cannot be performed. For example, if you can’t pull yourself up during a pull-up, begin the exercise above the bar, then lower yourself down. Lowering yourself down in this case is the eccentric motion. It still works out the same muscles, and it’s achievable. Eventually, eccentric training will build enough strength to do the concentric motion.
- Modifying the incline or decline. Exercise intensity can also be impacted by the angle of your body. When it comes to push-ups, elevating your hands on a wall or platform will make the exercise easier while elevating your feet will make the exercise more difficult.
- Limiting the range of motion. Some exercises, like one-legged squats, cannot be done to the full extent. By using a chair or surface, you can perform the motion as far as you can go with good technique and end on the surface. Gradually, you will lower the surface as you build more strength.
- Point toes and clenching fists. Irradiation, or the dispersion of nerve impulses that go beyond the normal path, make movements that are normally too difficult achievable. For example, when someone points their toes in a handstand, they are activating more muscles in their legs than they normally would have been. This allows them to perform the exercise more easily.
Equipment and other accessories make this form of training viable for seasoned athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Kettlebells, free weights and resistance bands are common additions to bodyweight exercises. Not only are these accessories more convenient and portable than larger gym machines, they’re more affordable as well.
There are many indoor and outdoor equipment options available for bodyweight training enthusiasts. While indoor equipment allows users to work out in the comfort of home, outdoor equipment, such as Stamina’s Outdoor Fitness Power Tower or Outdoor Fitness Bench, both frees up space indoors and allow users to enjoy their strength workouts outside.
Ultimately, bodyweight training’s versatility in intensity and location are ideal for all fitness levels. Additionally, the health benefits and affordability of this form of training are great for all lifestyles.