Higher, stronger, faster - excercise everywhere, 30 minutes a day, and without gym equipment. Sounds good? Read on.
Not to say that bodyweight training would be easy, you don't expect a sport having a huge effect on your body to be easy. But it's simple.
Most of the exersices are so simple and still so effective, no wonder that nowadays they are getting overlooked. Scientifically proven, the most effective and healthiest type of training is high-intensive strentgh training, which, using the advantages of bodyweight training, makes an explosive combination.
I am at the early stage of exploring it and I've been experimenting with that type of training for 3 months, doing it consistently 3-4 times a week, 15-45 minutes each. And while I'm definitely going to stick with that, I've come up with 7 reasons that convinced me to jump-start with bodyweight training.
1. Bodyweight training is long-term
Those who are attending to gym know that as soon as you stop doing it you quickly lose your shape, gained with so much effort over a long time. Yes, the process of recovering doesn't take much, in case you want to go on or you return after a serious injury.
For me it means straight forward: once you've started going to gym, to keep the shape, you have to do it all the rest of your life. And while some bodybuilding freaks are feeling perfectly comfortable with that, for me it's a very difficult commitment. Especially in a rapidly changing environment.
Personally, I can't imaging going to the gym regularly all my life. I needed a long-term solution, sustainable excercises that I could do here and now, everywhere and everytime, without excuses whatsoever.
And here comes bodyweight training.
2. It is universal
High-intensive strength training's purpose is not only muscle growth.
This is a nice bonus, though, but is not the only effect. High-intensive strength training with bodyweight helps not only to develop strength, but also to improve the cardiovascular system, develop stamina, balance, coordination, speed and flexibility.
It makes you looking and feeling fit.
And once you are strong and at the same time fast and coordinated, you can easily jump into any sport you can think of. Fitness is a basement. From that point on, diving deeply into any sport and developing narrow skills doesn't take so much time.
Champions in any sport spend at least half the training time doing some general excercises. I know it because I was lucky to attend an athletics and volleyball trainings with coaches, who were once Olympic champoins.
3. All muscles are being trained
The problem of gym equipment is that it's mostly focused on one muscle or muscle group. This is sometimes exactly what you need, right? But by training every muscle individually most of the time you oversee the big picture of training your whole body.
Often some muscle groups are becoming more important and are preferred by the athletes. Suddenly, breast and biceps gets more attention than the crucial back muscles, or quadriceps, the big muscle over you knee.
By doing bodyweight excercises, you train all of your muscles, even those, you were never aware of, achieving a natural, healthy-looking and outbalanced body.
4. Bodyweight training is injury-safe
My father was doing powerlifting as he was young. A strong back and legs are what it makes a good powerlifter. But holding on his back a weight two times more than his actual bodyweight (and our back is trimmed to a 2/3 of our bodyweight to carry every day), has thrown its shadow 20 years later - he's got a chronical lower back pain.
Increasing weight also increases the risk of injury. With bodyweight that risk is minimal.
5. Bodyweight exercises are adjustable
Doing just a normal push-up is too easy for you? How about putting your feets on the table and try again? Still too easy? Go ahead and make a handstand and lean your feets against the wall. Now do a push-up. Here we go.
How about push-up in a handstand without the wall? Here is where strength, coordination and balance play together.
Normal squats are boring? Try one-leg squats. My volleyball coach was a master in doing the one-leg squats and you know, he also magically could do a backflip out of a stand. :)
6. All exercises can be done easily at home
That's the beautiful side of bodyweight training - you don't need any equipment (it's useful to have some, but it's optional). All that's required is just your body.
This is critical if you travel a lot, so you can exercise wherever you want.
I agree if you argue that at gym you have a "workout atmosphere". You can't do anything else but to work out. However, I create that atmosphere at home by playing rhythmical and motivational (well, at least to me) Rock and Heavy Metal music. Who wouldn't want to start a workout when listening to Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger", the Rocky III theme?
7. What-the-hell effect
This effect is a great surprise for those who want to be able to perform some particular exercise, but lack strength/coordination/speed/balance. After months of strength training they suddenly are able to do that exercise. What the hell?
Doing strength training you are reinforcing the mother quality of all physical qualities - strength. You won't miss with that one - being strong with your whole body you run fast, jump high and hit hard. You get fit.
I encourage you to give a try to the high intensive strength training with bodyweight, you will be astonished by the results it has. You will certainly need a collection of bodyweight exercises and a healthy diet. Both of them are explained fantastically in a life-changing book "You are your own gym" by Mark Lauren, US marine physical training (great German book localization too).
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