A body weight workout is using your own body weight as the main resistance when working out. It’s probably one of the oldest and most versatile of workout concepts. You can target many muscle groups and achieve incredible results with exercises using just your body weight. It doesn’t cost anything and you can practice it at home.
I would hazard a guess that at some point in our lives we have all done a body weight workout. Some of the most popular exercises involving the resistance of your body weight include press ups, sit ups, push ups and squats. We get familiar with them from an early age and we turn to them whenever and wherever we need to burn a few calories or get in shape.
In the past few years home exercise fitness programmes such as P90X have gained a lot of popularity.
The routines and exercises they use are developed on the principles of body weight resistance. There are a lot of videos uploaded on youtube.com etc. by people who have used these programmes and some of the results look quite impressive. The key is, of course, to commit to the programme and give it your best every time.
The body weight workout concept has been around for much longer than any gym and fitness equipment has been and therefore they are perfect to practice at home. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner because you could start with as little reps as you feel comfortable with and increase them as you progress.
Here are some of the most popular exercises you could incorporate in your body weight workout without the need of any equipment whatsoever:
PRESS UPS (OR PUSH UPS IF YOU ARE IN AMERICA) AS PART OF A BODY WEIGHT WORKOUT
Press ups target the muscle groups in your chest, shoulders and arms. If you find press ups difficult at the beginning, try the knee press up where you support your lower body on your knees instead of your toes.
- Do the normal press up (place your hands at shoulder width) to train your inner pecs (pectoralis or chest muscles).
- Do the wide grip press up to train on the outer pecs/chest.
- Do the diamond press up (your hands are flat on the surface and your forefingers and thumbs touch to form diamond shape) to train your triceps.
As you build up your strength you can move on to one arm press ups and the so called “clap press ups”.
SIT UPS AS PART OF A BODY WEIGHT WORKOUT
Sit ups target your abdominal muscles (abs). There is a bit of controversy over sit ups and many fitness experts and trainers advice to swap them with crunches.
- Do the classic crunch (your hands across the chest and knees bent) targets the upper part of your abs.
- Do the reverse crunch (you lie flat on back with hands on your side, lift your legs and bend your knees at 90 degrees then lower back) targets your lower abs.
- Do the bicycle crunch (hands gently holding your head, do bicycle pedal motion with your elbows touch the opposite knee as you twist back and forth) to target your abs, external and internal obliques.
Although crunches train your abs, you need to burn the fat in your abdomen to get the perfect six pack. Do cardio and eat a low fat, protein rich diet in addition to your abs exercises.
Even though most of us want bigger abs, biceps and washboard abs, it is important to train all muscle groups in your body including your legs. Go for a run every other day, do squats, leg raises and other exercises (which could be part of your body weight workout) that target large groups of muscles.
If you are thinking about getting fit or just want to maintain your body strength, a body weight workout is the perfect starting point.