The benefits of bodyweight training are quite numerous, 9 of the most important ones which we have right here. If you are a person that likes doing cardio all of the time or if you like going to the gym to pump iron, that is fine, but you may want to give bodyweight training a try. The bottom line is that it is really good for you. Things like a stronger body, better balance and mobility, versatility, and being cost effective all make bodyweight training a big plus. Here are the 9 biggest benefits that you can get from this type of exercise!
What Is Bodyweight Training?
Simply put, bodyweight training is a type of strength training that doesn’t require you to use any weights or gym equipment. Instead of using bulky equipment, this type of exercise uses the weight of your own body as resistance for all of your movements. Good examples of this type of exercise include things like sit ups, pushups, pull ups, lunges, squats, and planks, among many others.
Benefit #1: Cardio & Strength
Bodyweight training uses your own body weight in order to get you to the fitness level that you want to be at, but contrary to all belief, it doesn’t just mean strength training. Yes, using your own body weight to exercise does involve using your muscles to lift your own weight, but that does not mean that you can’t insert a certain degree of cardiovascular training.
For instance, you can try doing some pushups and lunges, which would qualify as strength training, and in between those exercises you can do some high knees, burpees, or other quick bursts of cardio. In essence, you can create your own bodyweight circuit training routine that will both train your cardio system as well as strengthen your muscles.
Of course, you want a healthy cardio system in order to keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in good shape. Plus you want strong muscles to increase physical performance and overall strength. Something that combines both cardio and strength training has a ton of different health benefits and will keep your alive for longer.
Benefit #2: It Is A Versatile Challenge
There are some forms of working out that only offer so much of a challenge, that or they can be too challenging right from the get go. Of course, if you are a beginner and aren’t in great shape yet, you will want to start out with something fairly simple and easy.
Yet if you are an exercise enthusiast that is already pretty fit, you will want to do something that is much more challenging. This is a really big reason as to why bodyweight training is so great, especially if you create a bodyweight training circuit routine.
For example, if you are a beginner you can start out with some simple pushups, or even pushups where you are on your knees. On the other hand, if you need more of a challenge you can do advanced pushups such as military pushups, triangle pushups, or ones where you clap your hands in between every rep.
Bodyweight training is really great because you can modify virtually any exercise to be easier or harder, making it an awesome way for anybody to exercise your way back into health.
Benefit #3: It Is Extremely Cost Effective
One of our favorite parts about bodyweight training is that it is extremely cost effective and cheap. You don’t need a whole bunch of fancy equipment and you don’t need a gym membership to do some great bodyweight training.
In fact one of the reasons that bodyweight training has become so popular across the globe is not only because of its results, but because people like the fact that they can get into shape without the need to empty their wallets.
Pushups, sit ups, lunges, and all of those exercises don’t really require any equipment. Sure, an exercise mat can make things more comfortable for you and a pull up bar helps with pull ups, but in the long run those things end up being much more affordable than buying a monthly subscription to some overpriced gym. If you are low on funds, bodyweight training makes a great alternative to all of those expensive workout options.
Benefit #4: It Is A Very Efficient Way To Work Out
Another thing that is so amazing about bodyweight training is that it is extremely efficient, probably more so than any other type of exercise. One type of bodyweight training such as plyometrics can help improve both your strength and cardio fitness levels in a very short amount of time. A part of the reason for this is that bodyweight training involves the use of no or minimal equipment, which means that switching from one exercise to the next can be done in mere seconds.
Since you can transition from one bodyweight exercise to the next in a minimal amount of time it affords you almost no time to rest in between, thus making things much more intense, burn calories faster, and even gives you a good cardio workout too.
One of the best ways to engage in bodyweight training is in fact by doing high intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT. This type of exercise involves mostly bodyweight exercises and it is kind of like circuit training where you engage in short bursts of very intense exercising with small bouts of medium intensity exercises in between. High intensity interval training involves virtually no breaks, is very physically intensive, and ultimately makes for an extremely efficient way to engage in bodyweight training.
Benefit #5: You Can Burn A Lot Of Calories
A great thing about bodyweight training is that even though it does involve a lot of strength training, it still can help you burn calories like a cardio routine does.
However, you need to be aware that you need to do some really intense bodyweight training such as a bodyweight circuit routine or high intensity interval training such as we talked about before for this calorie burning effect to really take hold. That being said, high intensity bodyweight routines can definitely burn a whole lot of calories and boost your metabolism too.
Yes, a good bodyweight routine will burn calories and fat while you work out, but that is not really what the most important factor is. A really intense bodyweight training routine can burn a whole lot of calories, and not only while you are exercising, but afterward as well, which is perhaps more important than burning calories during the workout and it all has to do with your metabolism.
This extreme fat and calorie burning benefit is thanks to EPOC, or exercise post energy consumption, which is how long your body’s metabolism stays at this elevated rate after exercising. This is also sometimes also known as the afterburn effect. It is shown that your EPOC, or in other words your metabolism, stays pumped up and very efficient for as much as 14 hours after engaging in something like a high intensity bodyweight routine.
Of course, having a boosted metabolism is great for your body because it means that you burn more of the fat reserves on your body in order to achieve a more toned and slimmer look. Moreover, it also means that a lot less of the foods you eat get turned into body fat and more of the food in your system gets turned into energy that your body uses right away. In short, bodyweight training will make you slimmer, more toned, give you more energy, and kick your metabolism into overdrive.
Benefit #6: It Is A Full Body Workout
Another big benefit to be had from doing bodyweight exercises is that they can constitute a full body workout. Bodyweight training can work out all of the muscles in your body from top to bottom.
Squats and lunges are great for your legs, sit ups are awesome for your core, pushups work wonders on your chest, shoulders, back, and arms, and of course you can’t forget about pull ups either. All of these exercises, plus so many more, work to train all of the muscles in your body. This ends up making you stronger, more toned, and better able to complete various physical activities.
Perhaps one of the best parts of bodyweight training has to do with strengthening your core. A strong core is not only beneficial because it makes you look fit, but also because it can help improve your posture and reduce back pain as well.
Strengthening your core is also very beneficial because increased core strength ultimately translates into increased strength in all of your extremities. Of course, bodyweight training also increases the strength of your limbs on its own, which combines with the limb strength gains due to core strength increase to make for some very strong arms and legs. Bodyweight training is great for strengthening all of the muscles in your body thanks to compound movements. That means that each exercise engages multiple muscles and joints to be as efficient as possible.
Benefit #7: Bettering Your Balance
Another big benefit of bodyweight training, at least from certain exercises, is that they can greatly increase your balance. This is not the case for all bodyweight exercises such as normal squats or pushups.
However, you can do 1-handed pushups, 1-legged pistol squats, side planks, and other bodyweight exercises which force you to balance. Of course being forced to balance may not be easy at first, but like with all things, the more you practice the better you will get. This has to do with your proprioceptors.
We aren’t going to go into deep detail about your proprioceptors, which are the things in your body which dictate your balance and how fast your body can counteract shifts in your position. Just like muscles, you can train these things to react quicker, and bodyweight training is a good way to do that.
Benefit #8: Increasing Flexibility
Another benefit you can reap from doing bodyweight exercises is that they can make you more flexible. Sure, some people who engage in a lot of strength training end up with those big and bulky muscles which ultimately lead to a lack of range of motion and overall inflexibility, but that does not always have to be the case.
There are many different kinds of bodyweight exercises that force you to engage your body and force all of your muscles and joints to go through a full range of motion, ultimately making you more flexible the more you do them.
Perhaps one of the best bodyweight exercises that you can do in order to increase flexibility is Yoga, something that involves a lot of poses which force you to deal with your own bodyweight while at the same time increasing flexibility.
Being more flexible has one great benefit, that being that you reduce the chance of injury, such as from pulling a muscle or overextending yourself past your usual range of motion. Bodyweight training is not only great for reducing the chances of getting injured, but it is actually also a good way to rehabilitate yourself from old injuries too.
Benefit #9: Bodyweight Training Is Multifaceted
Something that you should definitely like about bodyweight training is that it never gets boring. There are so many different things that count as bodyweight training that you can work out every day for a whole week and probably still not get through them all.
Boredom is a big hindrance when it comes to working out and it can completely kill your motivation, yet all of this variety can definitely help combat that.
Another great part about bodyweight training is that you can choose to do it at home, in a gym, or outside in a park too, making it a great choice for people who like to change the scenery every now and then. Since bodyweight training is so versatile and can be done at any time of day and at any place, it helps to get rid of any excuses you may have not to work out.
Bodyweight training, as you can see, is both fun and very productive. It will bring you a lot of benefits that you would have never thought about before and we hope that the reasons we have given you might just inspire you to do more pushups and other bodyweight exercises. Once you start realizing that the benefits of bodyweight training outweigh almost anything else that you could think of, we think that you will become a regular practitioner.
If you have any questions or comments about bodyweight training, I would be more than happy to address them!