Body weight training is a method of exercise everybody should get into. It is simple, requires hardly any equipment, and is something you can do practically anywhere. It is also perhaps the way people used to workout before the advent of gymnasiums. Body weight training exercises are also remarkably easy to do but can also be quite challenging. Body weight strength training can be very hard and may surprise some people with the difficulty of the movements. Some even claim that body weight training is more difficult than using free weights. There is also the additional benefit of not beating up your joints-up since you do not subject your body to excessive weight.
Body weight strength training also allows for a much more natural range of motion while providing improved overall athleticism. One institution that is a proponent of full body weight training to this day is the armed forces in most countries. They still employ old school movements that have proven to be highly effective and unmatched at developing real world strength. Let’s take a look at some body weight training exercises that you can adopt for your own strength conditioning.
This classic move remains one of the most used exercises for developing chest depth and also exercising the triceps. You can vary the way this exercises impacts your chest simply by the distance of your hands from each other and by elevating your feet. Added difficulty that advanced users of the push up do is to do one armed pushups. Bruce Lee famously did the one arm push-up, but only supporting himself with his thumb. Muscleandfitness.com adds the following regarding the versatility of the push-up,
Pushups “not only builds up the chest, shoulders and triceps, but is a great stabilizer of the torso and lower back.
It can be done with various hand, feet and elevated positions. Push-ups variations such as EQI’s, hindus and push-up plus are incredible rehabilitative exercises.”
To up the challenge, here’s how to do a one arm pushup from mensfitness.com.
“Use a bench, step, table, or wall, so that your pushup is done on an incline (this makes it a lot easier). Get into pushup position with one hand on the surface and spread your feet wide apart. Tense your entire body and hold your free hand tight against your lower back . Lower your body slowly until your chest nearly touches, then explode up to the starting position . That’s one rep.
Repeat the rep on the other side and then go on with your day. In a few hours, drop down and perform another rep. Repeat the process a few more times-do this five to seven days a week. Performing perfect reps when you’re fresh builds good form (skill) in an exercise, which will later translate into greater strength and endurance. When you can perform five total reps on each side in one day, lower the elevation you use, eventually moving down to the floor.”
Instead of doing cable pull downs, why not ditch the machine and just go all out with your strength for some classic chin-ups or pull-ups. For upper body weight training, the pull-up is still difficult to even a lot of fit guys. For the advanced bodybuilder, the chin-up or pull-up remains one of the moist popular and challenging exercises for the back. Here’s how to do a classic chin up with no cheating involved (which happens a lot). Perfect form for the classic pull-up is outlined from menshealth.com.
The perfect pull-up
1: STARTER’S ORDERS
Grip the horizontal bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully extended. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Get ready to dangle.
2: ON THE PULL
Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale and pull your chin, then your chest towards the bar by driving your elbows towards your hips. Cross your legs to help maintain your balance. Come on, man, it’s only about two feet.
3: TO THE TOP
Keep your shoulders back and your chest up throughout the entire movement. Slowly pull yourself up until the bar is just below your chin and preferably at the top of your chest. But don’t hang around admiring the view.
4: POWER DOWN
Start to inhale as you lower yourself slowly away from the bar back to your starting position. Move at a steady pace maintaining the correct body shape at all times. Okay, that’s one.
5: NO SWING LOW
Never lock your elbows, swing your feet or “bounce” before starting the upward movement. You’re just looking to transfer the power without jerking. Easy, right?
3. Single leg squat
Squats without weights may seem easy, but try a single leg squat, and you’ve got a whole new exercise and challenge. This will be very difficult at first and your body will take some time adjusting to the balance and strength required to execute it perfectly. Here is a how to step by step of the exercise from exrx.net.
To get a better idea, you can also watch this video.
4. Jackknife sit-up
The jackknife sit-up is both difficult and efficient because it combines movements that involve the upper and lower abs. Performed correctly, it can be an almost complete abdominal workout. There are a few variations of the jackknife sit-up. This is the traditional version where arms are up stretched from fitstream.com.
How to do Jackknife Sit-ups
1. Lie flat on the floor with your arms fully extended back behind your head and you legs straight.
2. Bend at the waist and contract your abs whilst simultaneously raising your legs and arms to meet in a jackknife position above your stomach.
3. Lower your arms and legs back to the starting position and repeat.
Beginning the Jackknife Sit-up
If you can’t yet perform the Jackknife Sit-up, try starting with the standard sit-up first or the plank and build up abdominal strength before progressing.
There are other body weight exercises , but these four hit all the basic body parts which include your chest (push-up), back (pull-up), one leg squat (legs) and the jackknife sit-up (abs). Don’t be surprised if you find yourself giving up your weight routine because of the challenge you will enjoy with this hassle free routine.