How You Can Get Amazing Results With Only Bodyweight Exercises

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Weight lifting is extremely popular today and there’s a gym with a full arsenal of different weights and machines you can use virtually everywhere you go. This has not always been the case, though; until around thirty years ago, weight training wasn’t nearly as widespread as it is today and people were actually very skeptical about its effectiveness and wary of potential injury. Yet, people were still getting ripped – if you look at an average gymnast, chances are they are a lot more jacked than your average gym bro. Prisoners who don’t have access to weights also develop bodies worthy of bodybuilding competitions, even though it’s probably been years since they’ve touched a dumbbell, if ever.

The answer? Bodyweight exercises. Now, there’s no doubt that you are skeptical, especially if you’ve been into weight training for a while because 90 percent of people who lift weights are prejudiced about bodyweight exercises, seeing them as nothing more than introduction and warm-up techniques. They can be this, but they can also be so much more. Indian heavyweight wrestling champion “The Great Gama” weighed 260 pounds and was considered one of the strongest people in the world, yet his routine consisted almost exclusively of bodyweight exercises. So, there are probably those of you who are asking yourself “Well, I’ve been doing a hundred push-ups a day and I’m not getting any bigger” and yes, that can happen – but only because you’re taking the wrong approach to bodyweight exercises.

One of the main advantages bodyweight exercises have over traditional weight-lifting is the fact that they are considered closed kinetic chain exercises, meaning that you move your whole body when performing the exercise. On the other end of the spectrum, there are open kinetic chain exercises in which only the weight moves and the muscles designed to move the weight, such as the traditional bench press. When doing a push-up, on the other hand, you aren’t moving the floor – you’re moving your body towards the floor. Big difference.

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Why? Well, because closed kinetic exercises develop functional strength and apply much less stress on the joints in your body, significantly decreasing the chance of injury. Almost all of the injuries that happen in the gym are in some way related to joints. Consider this as well – how often are you, in real life, going to be standing in one place and expanding so much effort without moving? Closed kinetic exercises are more related to everyday activities, lifting yourself off the couch is essentially a crunch.

Other than that, most bodyweight exercises are compound exercises, meaning that they are multi-joint movements that target more than one muscle group at the same time. Doing big compound exercises in favor of isolated ones produces big muscles due to releasing a larger amount of anabolic hormones. And perhaps the most important point is that you really don’t need a ton of equipment to perform bodyweight exercises. All you’ll eventually need is a Pilates ball or a pull-up bar. That’s it.

So, if bodyweight exercises are so good, why do they have such a bad name? Well, one reason is that if everyone did bodyweight exercises, the fitness industry would be out of business – there would be no need for expensive weights. Another reason is that people feel that bodyweight exercises become less of a challenge the more that you do them, to the point of them being too easy to make any progress. Any fitness instructor would tell you that you have to overload your muscles with weight to keep them growing, but with just a little creativity and modification in your bodyweight exercises, you can get the same results without any weights.

There are several ways you can do this; you can accentuate the negative instead of only focusing on the positive portion of the exercise (something a lot of people don’t do). The further you move away from your core, the harder it is for a muscle to move, making it more of a challenge – try holding a light dumbbell in your hand with your arms completely extended while laying on your stomach, you’ll see what we mean. Increase the range of motion of your exercises by using a bench. There are really many things you can do, you just have to get a bit creative and experiment until you find something that works best for you and your body.

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