Bodyweight is great!

By PCYC Lang Park Fitness Professional, Shaye Giess

What exactly are bodyweight exercises you ask, and they don’t sound very hard to me I hear you say. Let me tell you, as a bodyweight exercise enthusiast, they can be hard. Really damn hard in fact!

Bodyweight exercises are exactly as the name suggests. They are strength exercises using our bodies and gravity as resistance without using weights or machines. Examples include push-ups, crunches, planks, squats and lunges. They can be as hard or as easy as you want to make them and have a multitude of health and wellness benefits.

One of the great things about doing bodyweight exercises is the ability to move quickly from one exercise to another given that no gym equipment is needed. As such, these speedy exercise changeover times create the perfect recipe for a great High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout.

HIIT fires up the body’s metabolism and burns calories and fat not only while we are exercising but long after we’ve stopped moving as well. It also helps to facilitate the hormone production conducive to muscle growth and improves the cardiovascular functions that help to transport these hormones to the muscles.

Just about all bodyweight exercises utilise and therefore strengthen the core, as they frequently challenge our balance. This is important as studies have shown that we start to lose our balance as we age, and good balance is incredibly significant in preventing trips and falls. In addition, a strong core also helps to improve our posture.

Bodyweight exercises also assist with flexibility as they use a variety of positions encouraging us to use a greater range of motion. We might be standing on one leg, holding ourselves up on one arm or bending forwards or backwards. Increased flexibility reduces our chances of injury from pulling a muscle or overextending past our usual range of motion.

Bodyweight exercises are functional, convenient, and can be modified to suit your fitness level. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, you can start with simple exercises and build up your intensity to increase the difficulty. You can add some cardiovascular training, increase your repetitions, take shorter breaks between each set, add static holds or adjust your tempo. Or you can add an element of instability to your bodyweight movement, by doing a decline push-up with your feet on a balance ball or your squats on a balance ball for example. You can modify virtually any bodyweight exercise to make them easier or harder.

With so many benefits, why not add some bodyweight exercises into your fitness routine today? They are great for cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, increasing strength, toning, and improving your balance, flexibility and posture. They are cheap and convenient and there are endless variations. And I can guarantee you they will give you a great workout!

For more great fitness information, visit PCYC Lang Park today.