What are bodyweight exercises and why are they trending?

bodyweight exercises

Cross-fit, planaforma, aerial yoga – what is the new trend in the world of exercise? It seems that exercise has gone back to basics, when our ancestors proved that carrying around rocks help build muscle. Bodyweight exercises are the “in” exercises to do.

The What

Bodyweight exercises are essentially a series of choreographed movements that help burn fat, build muscle and strengthen your body without the use of external weights. One of the reasons bodyweight exercises are becoming so popular is because it’s cheap. You can perform bodyweight moves anywhere, any time. You don’t even need a fancy gym membership or a room full of barely used equipment just to get started.

The Why

Bodyweight exercises have a lot of benefits that a typical gym-workout session doesn’t provide.

Bodyweight exercises strengthen your core. Because you aren’t on a machine or a bench to balance your body, each movement utilizes your core muscles to keep you aligned. A strong core can prevent injuries, improve posture, and bring out those six-pack abs you’ve been hoping to get.

Bodyweight exercises improve balance. A ton of body weight exercises require funny-looking yet body-chiseling movements like lunges and planks, among others that require balance.

Bodyweight exercises don‘t need the use of any dumbbells, barbells, or kettle balls, these routines are challenging. No matter your fitness level and athleticism, there’s always a way to make bodyweight exercises more difficult.

Lastly, bodyweight exercises are functional. They don’t just make your body bigger, more toned, and Instagrammable, but bodyweight exercises increase one’s mobility, athletic performance, and overall fitness.

The How

It can be hard to find that workout-at-home motivation you need, but we’ve got some simple bodyweight moves you can start with. You’ll be surprised to find out that bodyweight moves are simple exercises you may have already done before. Some moves that you can do at home are lunges, squats, planks, push-ups, and jumping jacks.

A lunge is a single-leg exercise that works your legs from the glutes to the inner thighs to your core. Lunges help strengthen and increase the endurance of your lower body. Because you alternate between legs, it builds mobility and improves balance.

Squats are another lower-body workout that strengthens and tightens your legs and glutes. What’s great about squats, is that it directly heats up your core as you need to both tighten and balance your core. If you’re looking to have more of a challenge, you can hold a dumbbell or two while performing squats.

A plank is an isometric core strengthening workout. On your forearms, you form a push-up-like position and balance your body in a straight and motionless stance, just like a plank of wood. The plank works out almost every muscle in your body to hold that position from your shoulders to your quads, but primarily, it works out your abs. Planks can be done in so many ways in order to make it more difficult or focus on specific body parts.

The push-up is a workout staple. Push-ups require the correct form to maximize its effectiveness. It pumps your chest, your arms, your back, your shoulders. For some, it’s the only workout move in their daily routine. Be sure to go online to search for videos that will help you achieve the perfect push-up form.

A jumping jack is a cardio exercise that works your glutes, quads, and hips. The movement of your whole body increases mobility and heats up your body in order to sweat and burn fat.

Bodyweight exercises are not just solitary routines. A lot of popular group classes have emerged over the years that teach evolved versions of bodyweight exercises.

TRX or total resistance suspension training is a bodyweight exercise popularized by the NAVY seals. TRX training burns fat, build strength and improves heart health by using push and pull movements. You’ll need to purchase the necessary equipment if done at home, but at the gym or in a group class, the equipment will be at your disposal.

Yoga is one of the most widespread and widely practiced bodyweight workouts. Originating in India, Yoga started out as an exercise for the mind, body and soul. Nowadays, yoga comes in different forms in order to build strength, balance and flexibility. You can practice everything from power yoga to hot yoga.

One of the more creative bodyweight workouts becoming popular today is parkour, a strength-building exercise that turns the great outdoors into a fitness playground. Parkour techniques transform basic survival movements like crawling, jumping and climbing into ones that tone and sculpt your body. Other parkour activities include wall-climbing, barre, and HIIT, among many others.

Bottom Line

Bodyweight workouts come in many different forms and levels. You can make them more challenging or easier and do them anywhere. If you’re still wondering which bodyweight workout is for you, start at home and try out different moves to see which suits you and your fitness goals best.

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