Forget gym equipment — why bodyweight workouts are best for full-body fitness

If you’re someone who is used to going to the gym and working out with lots of different kinds of equipment, you might be sold on the idea that that’s the only and best way to achieve full-body fitness. However, what if you were told that there are many others out there who believe bodyweight workouts are far and away superior?

You might not believe them because it’s become a convention in the media to suggest that training with weights builds muscle and increases fitness to a greater extent than any other method, including bodyweight training. There are countless articles out there that argue that bodyweight workouts ought to be reserved for people who are new to fitness or trying to overcome an injury.

However, there are a wide array of benefits to a quick bodyweight workout, a method that has been incredibly effective for thousands of years. It still is — here’s why.

Man Performing Bodyweight Exercise
Photo by Li Sun/Pexels

The benefits to bodyweight training

Bodyweight training rocks because all you need is yourself. You have a body. It’s yours, at no cost. Some people like to add a few small aides, such as dip bars or a pull-up bar. However, no rule says you must purchase or use those things.

You don’t need money

Like Huey Lewis sang in the ’80s, you don’t need money, and you don’t need fame. While a gym membership can go anywhere from $25 per month on up to $200 or more, when you drop in your living room to start doing push-ups, there are no monthly fees involved.

Bodyweight training helps you move naturally

Bodyweight training helps provide your body with the maximum in functional fitness. In other words, the regular, ordinary movements you do every day become easier. Whether it’s something as simple as picking up a bucket of water and carrying it from one place to another, hiking a steep hill, or climbing a cliff, bodyweight training helps your body move and function the way it’s supposed to.

You become a better athlete

In the same way that bodyweight leg workouts might enable you to hike better, as mentioned above, they also do the trick when it comes to making you a better all-around athlete. Say you want to do better at various sports, whether that’s basketball, soccer, football, you name it — the actions you perform can all be enhanced through bodyweight training.

As the Strength and Conditioning Journal points out, bodyweight training is “capable of developing elite levels of functional strength.”

You’re protecting your joints

In comparison to weight training in a gym, bodyweight training doesn’t put much stress on your joints and tendons. Something you might notice is that many bodybuilders become injured during their workouts. They end up with severe problems with their necks, wrists, knees, and shoulders.

The reason these bodybuilders get hurt is simply that the tissues in those areas of the body aren’t designed to have the intense stress of massive weights placed on them. By contrast, bodyweight training builds your strength, muscle, and endurance while keeping more vulnerable areas of the body safer.

You actually do build muscle

As long as you constantly drive yourself to perform harder bodyweight exercises, you won’t need weights for your muscles to grow. For example, do standard push-ups regularly and slowly increase the number. Then, when that becomes child’s play, increase the incline at which you perform them. Then when that isn’t hard anymore, switch to doing push-ups with just one arm. As long as you regularly up your game, you’ll be on target to having a body that any Spartan would be proud to possess.

Two Women Training Together
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Resources for bodyweight training

Doing a simple search on YouTube will bring up a long list of bodyweight workouts that are entirely free to view and emulate.

For example, the following channels offer up titles like the 30-Minute Bodyweight Workout by Popsugar Fitness, 8 Best Bodyweight Exercises by Athlean-X, and 20-Minute Full Body Workout by BullyJuice.

Other Youtube channels that offer bodyweight training include:

Whether you’re new to bodyweight workouts or you’re a seasoned pro, building muscle, strength, and endurance while keeping your body as safe as possible are worthy goals. Bodyweight training can help anyone achieve them. You can achieve incredible strength, mobility, balance, and grace through bodyweight training. What are you waiting for?

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