Beginner’s Guide: Body Weight Training

How much you can squat, deadlift or bench are common topics. While it’s great to push yourself with an ideal number of plates on your stack, there’s a lot to be said about the importance of body weight training.

Body weight training often gets brushed off as being “easy,” but trust us: if you’re a 200 lb. fella, that’s 200 lbs. you’re lifting in a chin-up. More importantly, body weight training sets a foundation. It helps with form, flexibility and balance – all of the things that you need to lift heavy weights successfully.

Body weight exercises are a great way to build strength, put on muscle, boost cardiovascular fitness and burn fat. Not convinced? Keep reading for all the reasons you should mix body weight exercises into your routine.

1. They’re efficient

There are still plenty of people who complete two-hour workouts every day, but who really has time for that? By doing body weight exercises, you eliminate a lot of the time that you would’ve spent setting up your weights or waiting for a machine to open. You’ll be able to transition quickly from one exercise to the next, keeping your heart rate up and shedding those calories.

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2. You get your cardio

I don’t care what anyone says, cardio is important. Cardio is what gets your circulation going and gets blood pumping around your body faster – this keeps your immune system up, boosts your mood and helps prevent injuries.

With body weight exercises, it’s easy to get the best of both worlds. Jump squats and burpees are great examples of body weight exercises that combine strength and cardio. Instead of spending 20 minutes doing 4 sets on a squat rack, do a few sets of jump squats and have your heart rate soaring in half the time.

3. Fat-blasting

Doing circuit training with body weight exercises is a great way to lean out, so that you can get those muscles to really pop. With body weight exercises, you’re doing higher reps, you have less rest time and you’re adding in a bit of cardio. All of this is the perfect recipe to boost your metabolism and have you burning calories well after the gym.

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This “afterburn” is common after a higher intensity workout, which is the category that body weight training tends to fall into. The afterburn happens after HIIT because your body has expended more energy than it typically would after a steady state workout like weight training. The idea is that your body needs more oxygen after HIIT to restore itself to its resting metabolism state. This meansthat your metabolism is seriously working after body weight training, so you could be torching calories for up to 24 hours after your workout.

4. It’s Accessible

Almost anyone can do body weight exercises. For some, weight training isn’t accessible, whether it’s due to intimidation, injuries or overall musculature. There are tons of modifications available for body weight exercises – it’s easy to make a movement simpler or harder, depending on your fitness level.

Body weight exercises are also a fantastic place to start if you’re new to the gym. No one walks into a gym and immediately squats a hefty weight – if they do, odds are that form is way off. Body weight training gives you a base if you’re considering moving into weight training. It helps strengthen your body, getting you ready for heavier weights, and it helps you nail your form, which means that you won’t end up injuring yourself down the road.

5. Convenience

You can do a burpee, a squat or a push-up anywhere. If you really wanted to, you could stop reading this for a second and drop down for 20 push-ups. Body weight training is great for people who don’t want to invest in a gym membership, or for those days when you don’t feel like hauling your butt to the gym.

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Next time when you’re lying in bed, thinking that you need to work out, jump out of bed and do a quick body weight circuit. You’ll feel good and you won’t even have to change out of your pajamas – win-win.

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