5 reasons I’m obsessed with body-weight training.

No gym? No problem.

In the Park, at the beach — perfect. As soon as you roll out of bed, no problem. It’s definitely hard to come up with a good excuse not to workout if you do not need a gym with equipment or machines. Example, “the gym closed early today for the holiday, what do I do now?”. You really do not need machines or heavy equipment to achieve your gains. You can achieve size, strength, power, mobility and balance with only gravity and your body. The following are five reasons why bodyweight training is awesome and the core focus of my training:

1) Trains the brain and body

In kinesiology this is called kinesthetic intelligence, people who have a high level of kinesthetic intelligence generally have excellent motor skills and coordination. They are often very physical and are keenly aware of their bodies.  Kinesthetic intelligence is something that can be improved with a good bodyweight training program. When training your body to perform exercises that will help improve your gross motor skills, you will ultimately learn to move more effectively while bringing more awareness to your body and its position in immediate space. Put it this way, if you are more aware of your body in it’s space while let’s say dancing, chances are you will feel a little more comfortable and look more fluid at the same time. Bodyweight exercises that demand more muscle control and balance will help your body move more intelligently.

2) Healthy joints

Let’s talk about staying far away from knee braces slings and wraps. Body-weight training takes your joints through full rang of motion with common movements like full hanging pull-ups or deep bench dips. This kind of training strengthens joints at the end ranges of full flexion or extension (where injury usually occurs). What I’m saying is let’s try to bulletproof your body and joints while strengthening your smaller stabilizing joints so that you can train hard and come back for more. Being sidelined from overstressed joints and structural imbalance will only produce a bad mood and eventually weight gain — one of my personal favorite exercises to maintain strong and healthy joints is Dive to Hollow Body.  (demo here)

3) Get stronger, leaner and look better

Since You can use your own body resistance by doing push ups, squats and more to develop longer, leaner muscle instead of the bulky muscle that comes with heavy lifting. Instead of just burning fat with cardio, body-weight training helps you build muscle to replace fat with lean tissue. The more muscle to fat ratio, the faster your metabolism becomes. A faster metabolism means you burn fat more effectively. Bodyweight training is incredibly effective for building muscle. … However, there are still those who argue that bodyweight training isn’t as effective as weight lifting when it comes to building muscle. Since bodyweight Training is often a military style, endurance oriented workout, is should not be mistaken for its muscle building capabilities. For instance your ever see a gymnasts physique? Enough said.

4) Never get bored

I like to compare it more to a sport like skiing or tennis. I know, how do you compare push-ups and crunches to skiing? Well if you where to think of the skill levels of skier like beginners (green circles), intermediate (blue squares), and experts (black diamonds) you can compare it to an exercise progression. For instance, you can perform a basic strict push-up (green circle), you can do a “delt tap” push-up (blue square) or an Explosive “chest clap” push-up (black diamond). All three progressions have a skill, strength and ability level. Over time as your ability, strength and skill level increases, you can perform more and challenge yourself to do more dynamic movements that will keep you far from boredom.

5) It builds balance and prevents injury

Consistent bodyweight training builds structural balance, meaning you have balanced muscles front and back as well as side to side. Many people train what only they see in the mirror, while neglecting some of the most critical areas for pillar movements like pushing and pulling as well as squatting and lunging. This can affect our posture and lead to structural imbalances. One of the things I reinforce when working with clients is “its all about hips and glutes”. This is where most athletic movements are driven from. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. It is large and powerful because it has the job of keeping the trunk of the body in an erect posture along with acting as the chief antigravity muscle. 

Chris Vlaun performing a walking prisoner lunge.

There are many more great reasons to incorporate body-weight training to not only achieve your fitness, but to prepare you for life. It’s functional, it’s athletic and gets you ready for your sport, occupation or activity that you will use on a daily basis.

**Bonus: A study posted in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that cadets at the US Military Academy who performed bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-up and lunges sprinted faster and jumped higher than those who did a static warm-up routine.

For information about our online bodyweight training program visit us here.

Christopher Vlaun – ©2019

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