Fitness has began making a shift into a new wave of exercising. The focus is no longer on what is your one-rep max in the bench, but on how intense you can train and how strong are you compared to your bodyweight.
Body Weight Training also known as Calisthenics has been getting very popular all over the world and I think soon enough, it will be more normal to hit a work out in the rings than a deadlift session.
Most people that start working out or are already don't want to be as huge as they can possibly be. It is really not about being like a Ronnie Coleman, stiff as can be with strength that can't even be transferred over to do a muscle up.
I am more than sure that you are more interested in learning how to do a front lever than squat 400 lbs. Am I wrong? Thats right :)
There is something special about being in control of your body. It is an absolute thrill to be able to counter act gravity's pull on us with our proportionate-to-bodyweight strength.
More than that, there are many benefits to training with your body!
- Efficient Workouts- Since there is not as much resistance when body weight training (depending on the exercise being performed), you can cycle through sets with even less than 30 seconds rest. This keeps the muscle pumped and activated. You can perform workouts in 30 minutes or even less if you want that will leave you gasping for air. This is the case with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Have you ever tried them? I suggest you do!
- Fat Torching- The ability to do High Intensity workouts with body weight exercises forces your body to go through a process where it basically gets in an oxygen debt. This causes you to enter into an after burn effect, burning calories for hours the rest of the day.
- Crazy core involvement- One of my favorite reasons of body weight training is that most of the movements require your core to do work. When I say work, I mean completely tight abs working all of your 29 core muscles. Yupp, 29 core muscles in total! This is not only cool because you will get wash board abs quicker than the next guy, but also because it will improve your athletic performance, help your posture and your lower back support too!
- It's fun!- Honestly, there are obviously many benefits of weight training. I can't and will not deny that. But sometimes it can be utterly boring! Am I right? Its very systematized which is not always a bad thing but when you are in a routine that repeats the same movements (which are all mostly isolated), the same reps and sets, month after month, it can get quite repetitive and dull. I like switching things up often. This keeps me very involved in my workouts and my fitness. Calisthenics training definitely brings me that gift. There are so many variations to each exercise and different ways to perform them that adds a certain spice to each workout. Plus, if you are creative, there are literally endless movement to be done with your body weight and some minimal equipment like rings.
- Gain Flexibility- Without the additional stress of weights on the joints and the limited rep ranges, body weight training shines light on allowing the joints to stretch and contract at their full capacity. This is a huge plus for me because when I used to train with weights often, I would always feel stiff and very constricted on my movements. Being supple is one of the key benefits to calisthenics and mobility training.
- Better Balance- With body weight movements, there is much more demand on your body awareness. This trains the mind to be able to handle the body's weight even when it is not properly distributed in each side like in a handstand or single leg squat.
- Less injury- Injury is a big problem with weight training. People like to show off or aren't performing the movements in the correct manner. This causes muscle imbalances and/or too much stress that the body can't handle. Very common ones are knee, shoulder and lower back problems which I have experienced before. Trust me, it isn't worth it! Take care of your body. Training calisthenics is much safer and actually helps build your connective tissues (joints,ligaments and tendons) stronger so that they can endure more stress.
- Freedom- The beauty of calisthenics is that it can be done anywhere, at any time! There is no excuses at this point (unless you have a broken arm;) to workout. If you are at home, the floor is all you need to get a kick ass push up workout or a crazy core killer workout. With minimal equipment, such as resistance bands and a pull up bar which can be bought for no more than $60 bucks (one month membership to many gyms), you can set up a little fitness station in your home or at a nearby park. This is honestly one of my favorite aspects of calisthenics!
How about you? What is your favorite aspect of body weight training or calisthenics? Drop a comment below, because I am really curious to find out!
If you have any questions regarding calisthenics training, nutrition, or athletic performance training, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to give you advice or some answers that you can apply in your life of fitness. Who knows, I might even make a blog post about it.
Also, if you are interested in having a customized fitness plan, also email us with your goals you would like to achieve and some information about you so that we can create the appropriate program suited for you!