When we think about building muscle and losing fat we think ‘Let’s lift some iron!’. But think how many people think about doing body weight exercises only to get a sweat on ? Are you one of those who only thinks about lifting weights or did you ever think that in 20 minutes of body weight stuff you will literally break your muscles down ?
Before you think I’m crazy and that weights are a waste of time they’re not and they have their uses but if you are a person who doesn’t like the gym, hasn’t got any weights at home or hasn’t got that much time then your body weight work outs are a perfect choice! Humans are the most advanced beings in the animal kingdom and 1 beauty of us is that we can move in all sorts of motions! Look at a horse, it can only walk on 4 legs but we can crawl, walk on 2 legs, do handstands (that takes training but still can be done!) move on our hands and feet, balance on our heads and all sorts! So even talking in terms of movement we can vary that motion. However, in this day and age our motions have become very limited due to lack of exercise, rubbish diets and sitting down all day causing stabiliser muscles and fixators to weaken and fail at their jobs. Now unfortunately we cannot fire our muscles or prevent their pay raises but we can train them up and strengthen them again! This is where body weight kicks in! By doing body weight work outs we become a lot more functional in the sense that our stabilisers and fixators come in to action to hold movements in place. Think of doing a press up – now when most of us look at somebody doing a zillion press ups we are impressed which is fair enough. But if you take a step back and look at the strength of those stabiliser muscles then you will be further impressed! So even if you are overweight or lacking in strength, body weight work outs are an excellent choice to go for.
Apart from improving balance and functional movements, these exercises give you immense strength! Look at those gymnasts and rock climbers, can a guy benching 120 Kg balance on a rock 300 ft in the air on 2 fingers? I hardly think so! That guy benching that much probably couldn’t do 15 chin ups ! Yes you aren’t lifting any external weights but the strength to gain from simply body weight movements are extremely effective. Even simple things like hanging from a bar with a tight grip will strengthen your shoulders, forearms, wrists and even core muscles. In fact, these movements are incorporated for people wanting to improve their dead lifts! Check that out bet you didn’t know that eh! Chin ups are extremely challenging right ? Stupid question to ask. But if you do 1 chin up then you are lifting your whole body weight which is impressive! So even doing 1 chin up at say 75 Kg that is a lot more impressive than sitting down on a lat pull down machine and lifting 60 Kg for 10 repetitions! By doing chin ups instead you again will be activating more core muscles, stabilisers and improving all round strength and body functionality. Things like lunges, jumps, lateral jumps, squats, skipping, squat to side lunge etc are fantastic for improving explosive strength, endurance, speed, mobility and body movements! These are all functional movements which will keep you stronger, more agile and healthy. See, already sounds for interesting than sitting on your ass doing leg extensions – how borrrringg!
Body weight work outs are a fantastic way of becoming toned! They will sculpt your body and by the time you get to grips with it, practise for a few months you will make Caesar look like the Nutty Professor! Trust me on this, prior to lifting weights all I did was body weight stuff and even when I go travelling that’s all I focus on is body weight movements and I feel great, functional and strong! Before weight training when I solely concentrated on moves such as press ups, chin ups, squats etc I was toned and loved that feeling. Another good thing with doing body weight, functional movements is that you will develop all round strength so when doing things in the real world such as carrying heavy objects or any type of physical labour your muscles will work as a team and activate in a coordinated manor. Unlike weight training you only use that certain part of your body which is fair enough as you want to concentrate on that muscle group, but put it to the real world and your body works as a system. You must think that I hate weights but that’s not the case, I lift everyday but I always incorporate functional movements such as press ups, planks, bear walks, hand walks, side to side movements, chin ups and many many others. These exercises will help me keep lean, strong, agile and most importantly keep me feeling great about myself.
So let’s look at some of these exercises you can do:
Sprints, mountain climbs, planks with knee tucks, spiderman, press ups, chin ups, jack-knives, leg raises, tuck jumps, burpees, jumping lunges, 1 leg torso rotations……..yes the list goes on. See by only those exercises you can create your own circuit and do that 3 to 4 times! The good thing is that within each of those exercises I have suggested there are variations of them. Just keeps getting better and better eh!
So now we know that body weight work outs are fantastic, all you need to do is formulate a programme, keep the intensity up and be disciplined and you will look like a Greek God/Goddess!
Sculpt yourself up and get on these exercises!