Body weight workouts are built around exercises that use our own body weight to create resistance. These include any exercise that challenges our muscles and our sense of balance against conflicting muscle groups, stationary objects, and constants like gravity. We’re engaging in body weight exercises every time we complete a simple move like a sit-up, push-up, or dip.
Advantages of Body Weight Workouts
Using your own body weight as your gym equipment can be convenient and fun. Body weight workouts are simple, portable and cheap, and they can be done anywhere, from a backyard to an office to a hotel room while traveling.
Floors are all around us, walls are everywhere, and gravity is free. But before you start relying exclusively on body weight exercises, remember that all workout routines should be just one component of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t just trust the floor and your own body to keep you fit—you’ll also need plenty of sleep, adequate stress management, and a healthy diet. You should also bear some of the following considerations in mind.
Body Weight Workout Considerations
Body weight exercises offer plenty of resistance as long as your strength-to-body weight ratio stays low. But as you become stronger, pound for pound, you’ll need to find ways to increase leverage and place your muscles at a greater mechanical disadvantage to get more out of your body weight workout. This is especially true for strong, lighter weight athletes like gymnasts.
Clothing and gear can play an important role in a good body weight workout. Since many of these moves involve parallel bars and floor work, hand protection will be key. In general, clothing for a body weight workout should be loose enough to allow a full range of motion but tight enough not to get in your way.
Also, you’ll need to pay attention to safety. Body weight exercises tend to be unstructured, so monitor your moves and stop doing something if you feel off balance or experience pain in your back, neck or joints.