Bodyweight training refers to training with your own body weight. The functional fitness boom in particular has made this form of training more popular again in recent years. Bodyweight training is an integral part of every good functional training concept.
In contrast to classic strength training with weights, with bodyweight training you only train with your own body weight. Dumbbells, kettlebells and the like are not used at all. Instead, you do movements that use your body weight as resistance and have to fight against gravity.
What are the benefits of bodyweight training?
With bodyweight training you can train according to your individual needs. It doesn’t matter whether you want to gain muscle or lose weight. With bodyweight training you can achieve both goals.
The right training is not the only important factor for your training success. Diet is also an important factor for best results. Building muscle only works if you eat enough protein.
Training with your own body weight does not just mean that you strengthen your muscles. If you do the exercises correctly, you will become more flexible, your endurance will improve, and speed and coordination will be trained.
Why is that? When you train your muscles with weights, the muscles are usually loaded and unloaded very one-sided. The muscle only has to bend (load) and then stretch again (relief). This is not very demanding in terms of coordination and often does not bring your body more than mere strength.
In body weight training, muscles are controlled in a very complex and varied manner, depending on the movement. Many different muscle strands are used. The more often you train and vary your exercises, the better your entire body adapts.
You become more flexible because your muscles, tendons and ligaments are used in different ways. This not only improves your strength, endurance, coordination and flexibility over time. Your movements in everyday life also improve. You become more economical. In addition, you will gradually find it easier to perform new, more complex movements.
Bodyweight training - possible anytime, anywhere
But training with your own body weight has even more advantages. You do not need any equipment for most of the exercises. That means you can do it anywhere, wherever you feel like it. Whenever you want. You only need a pull-up bar, a stable tree, a playground or something similar for pull-ups.
Another benefit: You save time and money because you don’t have to rely on a gym membership.
Bodyweight training can be done in many different ways. As with normal strength training, you can do a certain number of sets and repetitions. The Tabata method is another option, or you can train using the HIIT method to melt your love handles in no time.
With the right bodyweight training plan, you can train anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you are on vacation, traveling or on your lunch break at work.
Bodyweight training is a holistic approach
Bodyweight training does not train a single muscle in isolation. Because the exercises usually address several body regions at the same time, you also train different muscle parts at the same time. From a functional point of view, this training makes more sense for everyday life.
Because if you have to carry heavy shopping bags or a box of water in everyday life, you need more than just a muscle to carry them. A few bicep curls won’t teach your muscles that.
Disadvantages of bodyweight training
Bodyweight training also has disadvantages compared to strength training with weights. While you can build muscle effectively with bodyweight training, it is a lot more difficult than normal weight training. The reason? When training with weights, you can increase the resistance bit by bit and adjust it for each muscle group. So you can train your body more specifically. In bodyweight training, training the legs and shoulders in particular is often difficult.
One of the reasons for this is that some exercises with your own body weight are particularly effective, but are still demanding for your current fitness level. For example, pistols, pull-ups or push-ups require a lot of body tension and coordination. Therefore, they are often too difficult for beginners.
Nevertheless, you can work with bodyweight training even as a beginner. Because every exercise can be adapted to your fitness level.
How to increase the difficulty
While you can slowly increase the difficulty when training with weights by taking more and more weight, there are different ways to increase the level of difficulty when training with your own body weight.
Repeat the exercise often enough. What a good number of reps is always depends on the exercise itself. If you’re just starting out with your own body weight, it can take a long time to do 8 pull-ups. Eight sit-ups, on the other hand, are much easier to learn.
Do you master basic exercises such as pushups, situps, squats, pullups and planks? Very well. Now you can easily increase yourself further. Simply vary the execution of the exercises a little and make them more challenging. This not only trains your strength, but above all your coordination.
You can improve even further by changing the angle of the exercises a little. This puts a new strain on your muscles and they learn to work better together again. Depending on whether the angle is smaller or larger, the difficulty of an exercise can change very significantly.
With or without weights. When training, you should be fully committed.
Conclusion: Bodyweight Training
Bodyweight training has many benefits. Here again the most important ones at a glance:
- You train many muscle groups with one exercise.
- You train strength, endurance, speed, flexibility and coordination.
- It is extremely versatile with a variety.
- You can do it anywhere.
- You don’t need any equipment for this.
- Little time and no money at all.