Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to build lean muscle tissue and strength without all the hassles of using expensive equipment or having to use a gym, which can also put a strain on your wallet
[Remember ladies, lean muscle tissue DOES NOT mean big and bulky. Plus the more lean tissue you have, the higher your metabolism. The higher the metabolism the more fat you burn!]
Not only are bodyweight exercises a great way to enhance your lean tissue building and strength, but they also allow your body to move much more naturally than traditional modalities like the barbell, exercise machine or traditional piece of cardio equipment.
Trust me, there is NOTHING natural about exercise machines or cardio equipment. And actually, most of those exercises do you more harm than good. Plus, if you notice, I say movements not individual muscle groups like biceps curls, leg extensions, etc. Personally do not do any isolation training – very unnatural and a waste of time in my opinion.
Bodyweight movements are less stressful on the body and can be done pain free by most people…just as long as you take the time and work your way through the proper progressions. Just like any other exercise, there are progressions you must follow to advance to the harder movement.
If you had to ask me which type of exercise was my favorite, I would DEFINITELY pick bodyweight movements. I am much more impressed by what a gymnast can do on the floor, rings or bars than someone bench pressing a lot of weight.
OK that’s enough talk, lets take a look at a few of my favorite bodyweight exercises:
My favorite upper body exercise. These are an excellent way to build upper body strength in the posterior chain, the rhomboids, lats, posterior delts, traps, along with biceps and forearms. There are a ton of variations to choose from and can be done in a variety of different places…gym, basement, park, office, etc.
Squats develop just about every muscle in the lower body. Start with the parallel squat and progress to the split squat. After mastering the split squat, move to the single leg deadliest and finally to the pistol squat. I would recommend 2-3 weeks at each progression. The pistol squat is extremely hard too use precaution when attempting this movement.
Single Leg Squat Progression…
Like the pull-up, push-ups are one of the best upper body exercises out there (in my opinion). They are so damn effective and a lot LESS stressful on your joints compared to, lets say, the bench press. There are so many different variations it would take us way too long to go through them all. Some of my favorites…spiderman, decline spiderman, suspended push-ups with TRX, dive-bomber, straight arm side to side and 1 arm push-ups to name a few.
The question – ”the bench press or the push-up?” – comes up all the time and I definitely will take the push-up over the bench for many reasons and here’s why.
A great compliment to the pull-up, especially if you haven’t quite got the strength for pull-ups or chin-ups. These can be done under a bar, with a suspended ropes or rings or under the Equalizer bars.
My ABSOLUTE favorite “core” exercise. In my opinion 100x better for building REAL internal strength when compared to crunches and sit-ups. All the muscles of the core (approximately 29 muscles – Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex) are activated when performing planks. And just like the other exercises above, there are multiple progressions to follow.
Advanced Plank Variations…
Everyone loves burpees! : )
So add some of these bodyweight movements to your training regiment today, if you are not already doing so, and work your way up each progression. I can almost guarantee you’ll be “bouncing off the walls” with the results you get.
Train hard, train smart!
Train Like an Athlete!
Here’s some additional bodyweight exercises you may enjoy: