Bodyweight training involves basic and traditional exercises for strength training, such as burpees, squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, and more. Incorporating bodyweight training in your fitness program can greatly improve your strength, stamina, and overall performance.
However, in order to achieve optimum results, you should know how to perform bodyweight training correctly.
Here Are The Do’s And Don’ts To Remember
Do Combine Fat Loss And Bodyweight Training
According to a relatively new study, high-intensity workouts help boost the body’s metabolic hormone response, resulting in more calories burned in a short amount of time. It was found that some bodyweight exercises, such as, burpees and battling ropes elicited greater oxygen consumption that results in faster energy expenditure, this is known as the Anaerobic effect.
As per any other type of workout designed to lose fat, your bodyweight program should be structured accordingly in order to receive this wonderful effect. Your training should include heavy intensity exercises with shortened rest periods if fat burning is your main goal.
Do Modify Programs For Beginner
Even the easiest bodyweight exercises can be too challenging for new practitioners because of the lack of core strength. For novices, it is highly important to incorporate in your training program those exercises that aim to stabilize your body and build your strength, as they will help you progress faster.
For instance, start with developing your base strength by doing dumbbell chest presses on a bench (a stable surface), while you try out different push-up variations that challenge the stabilization of your shoulders and core.
As you master an old craft, move on to another variation that puts on additional weight, avoiding unstable variations in the process. Always begin with stable exercises before adding instability to the equation.
Do Use Contrast Training With Bodyweight Exercise
Contrast training involves slow, heavy exercises like squats, followed by light explosive exercises, such as, vertical jumps. Contrast training induces muscular activation and combining them with bodyweight exercises results in more power and explosiveness. Which all comes down to more calories burned and muscle tissue preserved which in turn mean a leaner, stronger, more well balanced physique.
Do Have a Clear Goal In Mind
Setting goals is important because they will keep you motivated and coming back for more.
For example, many novices who haven’t acquired yet the flexibility to perform a full split squat should focus on workouts that train the lower body, in order to achieve a new exercise goal that they haven’t done before. As an example, you could include in your weekly training glute bridges, hamstring curls, and hip abduction as a way to build up to being able to perform a split squat.
Generally, combining your bodyweight exercises with traditional free weights can develop your strength and coordination which will keep you sustained as you progress.
Do Incorporate Bodyweight Exercises Into Your Daily Life
Spending your whole day sitting can be as dangerous as smoking. It decreases your energy consumption, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance.
Make sure to take short time-outs from your busy day to do 2-minutes of squats, push-ups, crawls, lunges and other bodyweight exercises in between sedentary activities.
Doing even short bouts exercises throughout the day will help boost your metabolism, improve your blood circulation, improve your flexibility, and shake off that sluggish feeling, making your mind feel active and energized. You’ll be surprised just how much more work you get done but taking an active break.
Don’t Forget the Basics
For your exercises to be effective, you need to keep in mind the basic principles as to why you are doing them. If you want to build muscle, for example, you need to workout for a longer time under tension in an 8-12 rep range. Go for a longer duration, with a rep range of 15 or more and you’ll be focusing on muscular endurance.
On the other hand, if your goal is to increase strength, you need a shorter time under tension, that would mean working out in the 1-5 rep range.
Tension is the amount of time that you spend lifting the weight. You need to make sure that the amount of weight you are using is heavy enough to elicit change. To be effective, you should be struggling to finish your last rep. If you can finish that rep, do another! And for the next set, increase the weight.
If you need to increase the load, you also want to do this safely and effectively. As a general rule of thumb, you should only increase the load by 10% of what your body was used to before. For example, if you can perform 15 bicep curls using a 10 lbs hand weight, next time go up to 12 lbs. Progressive overload is what delivers results.
Many bodyweight moves are complex and can be difficult for beginners who have neither the proper fitness level nor the proper form down to perform them without the risk of injury.
One example of this is jump lunges and burpees. These exercises are more complex because they use the whole body and are also much more difficult for that reason. Not good options for beginners.
It’s best to start with squats and lunges and move up from there as you get more fit. Also, the more advanced and complicated moves need to be practiced slowly until form is perfected.
To ensure you are performing these exercise correctly, and to get a program that progresses correctly, you should hire a trainer or a coach. Not only will the investment be paying off for years to come and you’ll reach your goals quicker, you’ll minimize the risk for injury. And if you’re anything like me, you don’t have time for injuries!
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Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.