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How Effective is Bodyweight Training?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Bodyweight training can be helpful as an add-on to your weight training program or as a stand-alone training program. Bodyweight has always been a part of our fitness routines. We called it calisthenics. 

Bodyweight training uses your body weight to provide resistance. It can be as effective as free weights, weight machines, and other methods. When COVID-19 forced people to stay home, many had no weight training equipment and turned to bodyweight training to remain fit.  


What Is Bodyweight Training?

Using your body to provide resistance against gravity is an inexpensive and convenient way to get in a whole workout anywhere. Bodyweight training is a perfect activity for people without access to a gym or fitness facility. You can exercise in a garage, living room, hotel room, or backyard.

The Department of Health and Human Services promotes healthy practices that include 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity, with an additional 75 to 150 minutes of intense aerobic workouts. The recommendations outline the type of physical activity and strength building. Bodyweight training fulfills the recommendations of DHHS in every way.

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Types of Bodyweight Exercises

We know what bodyweight training is, but what exercises does it include? To name a few:

  • Bodyweight squats

  • Push-ups

  • Planks

  • Jumping Jacks

  • Walking lunges

  • Mountain climbers

These are just a few. Others include leg lifts, sit-ups, and abdominal crunches. Any basic exercise that uses your body to create resistance is a bodyweight exercise.


What Are the Benefits of Bodyweight Training?

Cost and convenience are two factors that guide our entire economy. We all like to save money, and it seems even sweeter when we can do that without leaving home. Bodyweight training costs absolutely nothing.

Convenience is another benefit. You can do bodyweight training anywhere that permits the free movement you need to perform the exercises. Bodyweight workouts can also be helpful for interval training and improving your cardiovascular endurance. They also work on muscle strength, giving you one of the most complete workouts. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Total Body Workout: Bodyweight training uses your entire body. A push-up strengthens your arms and chest and works on your legs, core, and lower back.

  • Stabilization: Exercising the entire body strengthens key tendons, ligaments, and muscles to create a fine-tuned machine with coordination and stability.

  • Freedom: Freedom to exercise anywhere. Freedom from the gym. You can select a different routine each day to work with other groups of muscles.

  • No Set Routine: Bodyweight training allows you to add new things to your routine. You can add yoga, a bike ride in the park, or even take a trip to the nearest rock-climbing experience.

  • Great Fitness for Anyone: Can be custom designed just for you or random “let’s have fun” physical activity. No matter your level, you can enhance your training by adding a bodyweight workout or two throughout the week.

  • Low or No Cost: There is no cost for bodyweight training. Occasionally, you may wish to purchase a supplemental device to aid you in training, so we included that little cost.

  • High Efficiency: Your training is efficient because you don’t have equipment. No waiting for gear, no lines, just a simple transition from one exercise to the next.

  • Easy to Configure: Regardless of your fitness level, you can modify exercises to achieve maximum results.

  • Builds Balance: The whole-body advantage of bodyweight training adds balance and flexibility.


Weight Training vs. Bodyweight Training

Depending on your fitness goals, different bodyweight exercises offer other benefits. Exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, and step-ups increase endurance when you need cardio training. Planks, push-ups, sit-ups, and other resistance exercises will meet your needs for muscle-building.

The most significant advantage of bodyweight training over weight training is that you don’t need to go to a gym. Other differences include:

  • Weights isolate specific areas or groups of muscles, while bodyweight training focuses more on the whole body.

  • You can do bodyweight training anywhere. It is a great and functional option for frequent travelers or people who work odd shifts.

  • Weight training generally takes longer than bodyweight training. You must wait for access to equipment in a gym that can extend your training time.

Overall, bodyweight training improves coordination, stability, and flexibility. Bodyweight training is a good fit for most fitness goals, whether you are muscle-building or working on weight loss.  


How a Personal Trainer Can Help with Bodyweight Training

If you decide to work with a personal trainer, they will begin with an assessment of your current fitness level. They will ask you questions about your level of activity, goals, and what types of exercise you enjoy. Using that information, they will develop a progressive plan for you.

Beginning with a bodyweight training program will consist of performing specific exercises in repetition. Most trainers will start slow, adding new activities and increasing the repetitions to move you toward your goal. 

Getting More Out of Every Bodyweight Training Session

No matter what type of exercise you are doing, these tips will help increase the effectiveness of your training. 

  • Keep your movement controlled and smooth

  • When you reach plateaus, switch exercises to continue improvement

  • Add more resistance (more weight) to build muscles quicker

  • Work on opposing muscle sets to achieve balance

When you need to increase resistance, it can be as easy as transitioning from wall push-ups to modified push-ups and then to standard push-ups. With the slight alteration of each exercise, you add more weight to the activity.


Developing an Effective Bodyweight Training Program

Suppose you are interested in developing an effective bodyweight training program. In that case, you can begin on your own or with the assistance of a personal trainer. If you are new to fitness activity, bodyweight training is an excellent starting point as there is no costly investment. You make a plan and exercise.

The friendly staff at Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates can help you determine a good starting point. They will ensure you can physically participate in exercise and guide you to programs that will enhance your experience.

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