When most people think of Bodyweight training, they imagine push-ups, pull-ups, dips or rows. They believe this is too basic and will not build any significant strength or muscle and eventually disregard it, moving to more well known methods of weight lifting. Shockingly, lots of professionals in the fitness field have a similar idea when its comes to bodyweight training and never give it the time of day. Bodyweight training has some of the most difficult and skilful exercises known to man, which take years of practice and patience to build the required strength to perform.
Gymnastics and Calisthenics training, has shown time and time again, to have built fantastic physiques and awesome strength gains. The key is knowing how to progress from basic to advanced bodyweight exercises and be able to effectively programme progressive workout plans, catered to the specific goals of the individual.
Not only does Bodyweight Training build strength and aesthetics, but it is also fun and will keep you entertained for years to come, as there is always more to learn! So with hard work and dedication one day you will be pulling out handstand push ups, one-arm pull-ups, front levers and much more!
Yes, it takes patience and years of training to be able to achieve the really advanced skills, but you will also be gaining flexibility, balance and awareness, while building awesome strength and aesthetics along the way.
Another great attribute to Bodyweight Training is the fact that you can get a decent workout in, wherever you are, without the need of a gym or lots of equipment. Furthermore one of the most, if not, the most effective and dynamic training tools for building upper body strength is gymnastics rings. Rings can be set up anywhere you can find a sturdy tree branch, scaffold pole or any kind of framework. There are hundreds of progressive exercises you can do on the rings and virtually unlimited strength gains you can build from just this one piece of equipment. I cannot rate gymnastics rings highly enough and are a great investment for any athlete or trainer. All of this for around thirty pounds.
Through bodyweight training you develop a great understanding of how your body can move. The limitless movement patterns and unconventional exercises enable you to really have control of your body. It will build strength and stability through a very high range of motion which will support in physical longevity. This style of training mainly focuses on building the necessary strength to progress to more advanced movements and eventually the straight-arm strength skills which are at the highest levels of bodyweight strength.
Bodyweight training is a very honest training method, where body composition will heavily influence progress. Basically, if your weight is high due to fat percentage, then you will find it harder to lift your weight... obviously! But this often has a very positive effect on a persons motivation to lose unwanted weight. As they start to lose body fat and get leaner, they're abilities in bodyweight training improves.
I have seen time and time again the sense of accomplishment a bodyweight athlete gets from having the capacity to control they're body in such a way. The sense of euphoria you get, going from ground zero, to being able to move your body in a way which seems to defy gravity, is unmatched.
Lastly, bodyweight training involves controlling the scapulae (shoulder blades) in every upper-body movement, controlling the elevation, depression, protraction and retraction. As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, 'Form - Quality over Quantity', this is an important and fundamental skill to develop and master. It will be the key to you having great form, improved power production and execution in all your upper-body exercises and will help in overall injury prevention. This control of the scapulae has a good carry over to other disciplines, for example performing a bench press, where you would take the cues of scapular retraction and depression.
To round up, here's a little recap on why I believe you should be either, incorporating or fully embracing bodyweight training -
- You can build a great physique and awesome strength with just your bodyweight and minimal equipment
- Interesting and fun, always more to learn and always another level to progress to
- Anywhere, anytime – minimal equipment needed to get a great workout
- Controlling your bodyweight in space is extremely gratifying
- Limitless movements and exercises – unconventional movement
- Builds strength and stability in a high range of motion – mobility, injury prevention, physical longevity
I hope this article has enticed you to start bodyweight training. I truly love this type of training, it has kept me interested enough to want to train everyday, learn as much as possible and has inspired me to train others in the discipline and base my career around fitness and health.
Keep your eyes peeled for more articles in the near future