Bodyweight strength training is using your own body weight as a form of resistance -- resistance being the essential component to getting stronger. People have been using their own body weight to strength train for centuries.
Bodyweight exercises develop neurotransmitters because it provides body-brain communication, which is highest during strength exercise that moves the body at the same time.
There are advantages of bodyweight training, such as the fact that it requires more muscles – a kinetic chain of movement. As an example, in a bench press, the core is supported by the bench; in a pushup, your core is support by the core musculature.
Bodyweight exercise is perfect when you have no access to fitness training equipment. It can be done just about anywhere and it's a great way to get fit for free.
Sometimes, a gym membership may be cost-prohibitive – especially for those on fixed incomes. Typical bodyweight training programs use minimal at-home equipment, which makes it a very inexpensive way to exercise effectively.
On the other hand, you may not have room in your apartment or condo for certain apparatus such as a dip bar, vertical bench, or back extension bench.
Bodyweight strength training also offers an alternative to people who don’t like weight training.
One of the most convenient and quality workout tools that has come along is the TRX suspension trainer. TRX was originally developed for Navy SEALs fitness training. It is easily portable, doesn’t take up much room, and accommodates any fitness level. If this sounds like a plug – it is. If you are familiar with my website, you know that I don’t recommend any product that I don’t have confidence in.
TRX develops strength, balance, flexibility and great core stability at the same time.
Certain bodyweight exercises are classic. These include: push-ups, pull-ups, planks, chin-ups, dips, crunches and squats without additional weight added.
The best bodyweight exercises include both calisthenics and plyometrics.
Calisthenics include pullups, pushups, squats, jumping jacks, lunges, dips, planks, and rows.
Plyometrics are explosive bodyweight exercises, like depth jumps, box jumps, broad jumps, jump squats, burpees, and jumping pushups.
Bodyweight strength training is a great foundation to build a very strong and flexible body; but, body weight alone does have its limits.
Depending on your fitness goals, it's important to know that increasing the amount of weight (resistance) over time may eventually become necessary, because your body weight is limited.
Increasing the number of repetitions for intensity is an option for strength gains; however, weight must be added after you reach your bodyweight limit if you hope to make overall progress in any strength-training program.
Bodyweight training doesn’t replicate weight training exercises. The opposite is also true, and the effects are different.
For example, bodyweight strength training for the lower body can make you stronger, but there comes a point when it is not as effective as weight training. Legs moving through the air or supporting your body weight is limiting. As stated previously, and because the lower body muscles are the strongest muscles in the body, producing a stronger lower body eventually requires weights (increased resistance) to be introduced.
Whatever form of strength training you choose, there are no shortcuts. It takes commitment and patience.
The most important point is that you not allow your muscles to waste away as you age. The research is clear – muscle strength is essential during all phases of life; but, it becomes increasingly important as your body ages.