The Benefits of Bodyweight Exercise
Exercise is a huge term. There are more exercises out there than we can count, and they all have something totally different to offer you. Even when you do find exercises, there are different ways to do them, different set styles… different everything. One way to exercise that is particularly incredible though is by using your bodyweight. Anything from callisthenics through to specialised equipment and iconic exercises; bodyweight has it all. To really make the most of it though, it’s important to look at what goes into making bodyweight exercises so great, and what all of the benefits are, even outside of the standard benefits of exercise.
Let’s look through some of them
One of the most impactful benefits of bodyweight exercise is usually agreed to be the natural movements that you're doing. When you're using big weights in your exercise, it’s easy to do weird new exercises that may put your body at risk, since it’s such a strange way to move. With bodyweight exercise that’s hard to do.
If your body fits into an exercise that you can use, chances are it’s a pretty natural thing to do. Anything form pull-ups and TRX rows through to dips, squats and push-ups, it all comes from a natural place that was once probably used for survival. Your body was made for it, quite literally.
As a result of these natural movements, nearly all bodyweight exercises you could want to do work more than one muscle. It’s very difficult to find a bodyweight exercise that doesn’t have the benefit of building functional strength from using multiple muscles. Think about it.
Generally speaking, to use the biggest muscles in your body like your lats, glutes and pecs, you need to use supporting muscles like your biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, you name it, but there’s always something. That's the best way to build them all at the same time, and improve your functional strength as a result!
As well as all of these supporting muscles working with bigger muscles to make compound exercise, your body also has to balance itself in just about every bodyweight exercise. You need to balance your self while you're doing it since there are no machines or weights to help you do it. The result? Core activation.
Any exercise where you have to support the weight with nothing but your feet on the floor needs it. Your abs and lower back are the basis of it, but there's a tonne of other muscles involved in the process too. When you use all of them to their fullest potential, that's going to build your core strength. It's by far and away one of the biggest benefits of bodyweight exercise.
The final bodyweight exercise benefit we'll look at is how easy it is to do. Since the movements involved are so natural, it means you don't really need to use anything to do them. Most of the time, as long as you have something to push against, pull on and stand on, you’re set.
If you do want to take things to the next level, you can buy things like push up bars or even a power tower, but these aren't necessary, they just really help you get the most from the exercise and push you as far as possible since they’re such amazing exercises.
There's also the safety aspect to using some equipment, but aside from that, it's easy to take a 'the world is your playground' attitude and even do your workouts outside if you feel like it. Anything from tables and chairs to walls and playgrounds can be a good fit. Get creative!
Overall, bodyweight is an awesome way to start exercising from a new perspective, keep things low impact and seriously build core and functional strength. Those are all hard to find when you use big weights and machines especially. Find a good balance and see what works best for you.
If you're stuck for ideas, don't forget to check out our guide on everything you need to know about callisthenics here, too. There are lots of examples and even more info!
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.