If you want to strengthen your body and build muscle, you might be under the impression that you need to hit the gym and pile on the weights. But these days, bodyweight-based workouts are increasing in popularity. Even professional athletes are beginning to swap their gym sessions for workouts without equipment. Here are some of the benefits of bodyweight training that might just convince you to cancel your gym membership.
1. More Variety of Movement
So many of us spend our days at a desk in front of a computer, and the last thing we should do when we’re ready to exercise is sit on a piece of gym equipment. Bodyweight training requires a much broader variety of movement, challenging your body to work muscle groups that you simply can’t reach sitting down. Additionally, many bodyweight training programs combine cardio and strength elements, so you get a very effective and efficient workout done in a shorter period of time.
If you’re into short, intense workouts rather than long sessions, remember that consistency is key! A quick workout here and there won’t get you the results you’re looking for. You’ll need to build them into part of your routine.
2. Bodyweight Training Builds More Muscle
Many people are under the impression that in order to build muscle effectively, you need more weight resistance than your body can provide. In fact, bodyweight training is likely more effective at building muscle in a shorter period of time. Most bodyweight exercises are classified as closed kinetic chain (CKC) exercises or movements where your extremity (hand, foot, etc.) is fixed to an object (often the floor or a wall). When you work out this way, movement at any point in the kinetic chain requires you to move other joints in the chain creating resistance training in multiple areas at the same time. If you work out with a piece of gym equipment, you’re often doing workouts with an open kinetic chain (pulling a weight, for example) and the exercises are actually less effective.
Did you know?
According to the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, closed chain exercises are responsible for a 31% increase in lower body strength after only six weeks. While the open chain group only improved by 13%.
3. Do Quick Workouts, Anywhere
Of course, another clear advantage of bodyweight workouts is that you have so much more flexibility in when and where you train. You can exercise without equipment in front of the television or do a quick workout at your local park if you want to. There is no need to pack a bag and commute to and from the gym. As a result, you’ll likely find it much easier to stick to your training plan, fitting in more workouts at home than you would if you had to commit more hours on a trip to the gym. Of course, it’s important to build a routine and establish good fitness habits. But you might find that bodyweight training at home fits into your busy schedule more easily than the alternative.
*There are a few ways to approach bodyweight training. Tabata, HIIT, and circuit training are three popular types of training. Learn all about Tabata-style training here and HIIT vs. circuit training here.
4. Bodyweight Workouts Help Prevent Injury
If you do any other kind of sport activity (and even if you don’t) bodyweight training is critical to injury prevention. Bodyweight workouts can help you to build a more stable torso through back and core exercises while increasing overall flexibility– two key components of long-term injury prevention. Of course, if bodyweight training is completely new to you, you should ease yourself in and be mindful that your body is learning to move in a new way. Here are a few useful tips to help you stay injury free while you start a bodyweight training routine.
5. Bodyweight Exercises are for All Abilities
Bodyweight exercises often come with a variety of variations. You can tailor each exercise to your specific ability level making it easier or more difficult based on where you are in your training. As you progress, you can seamlessly switch to the next variation and continue to advance in your fitness. Here are some easier and harder variations of basic exercises.
Getting Started With Bodyweight Training
If you’d like to get started with a bodyweight training routine, you might consider checking our the adidas Training app. In it you’ll find easy, at-home workouts, structured training plans, and resources to help you learn new exercises. All of the routines are designed to let you workout without equipment, so you don’t have to have a fancy gym setup to get started.