Here are 7 reasons why I love bodyweight exercise routines:
Organize bodyweight exercises into high intensity circuits, and you’ll drop fat like magic.
Gymnasts train with bodyweight exercise workouts, exclusively. Yet they’re stronger than most bodybuilders. They have a nice, lean physique to compliment their athletic skills, because body control is an important aspect of overall fitness.
Bodyweight exercise takes up a very small amount of your time. You can train for as little as 10 minutes a day and burn fat in the comfort of your own home. Sometimes I’ll just drop down and do a few pushups while I’m working, just to get the blood flowing again.
If you perform bodyweight exercise at a high intensity level, you will increase your metabolism.
My aerobic conditioning is better than what it used to be when I used to run 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week. When you perform bodyweight exercise at a high intensity level, you also train your heart. And so the low intensity of a jog or run does not tire your body out.
The most important aspect of bodyweight exercise is that you can save a ton of money on expensive gym memberships or fancy equipment. All those fancy gizmos do nothing for a sleek body.
Finally, have you ever seen the difference in physique between a sprinter and a jogger? High intensity bodyweight exercise if your option if you desire a nice lean and muscular physique.
For more great bodyweight exercise training information, check out Workout Without Weights:
Workout Without Weights
Workout Without Weights is a complete bodyweight manual written by Coach Eddie Lomax which shows you over 150 bodyweight exercises you can perform in the comfort of your own home. The manual also includes templates you can use to design your own bodyweight programs, plus over 60 sample workouts to keep you challenged. Don’t forget to grab the Combo Package for even more high intensity bodyweight workouts.
We all know how much I love bodyweight training. When I first began this blog, I was going to focus my training specifically on portable equipment such as dumbbell, kettlebells, and resistance bands. Over time, questions such as, “What kind of workouts can I design for people who are unable to perform a single push up?” plagued my mind.
In my search for these answers, I stumbled up on an eBook titled “Workout Without Weights.” After purchasing the eBook, I was impressed by the variety of exercises for both beginners and advanced trainees. Unlike most eBooks, Author Coach Eddie Lomax actually teaches you how to design your own training programs and workouts.
I contacted Coach Lomax to ask him a few questions concerning bodyweight training:
Parth: Coach, one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that one is unable to put on significant muscle mass through bodyweight training. What are your thoughts on this?
I think that anyone with the sole goal of putting on muscle mass should take a serious look at their goals. Yes, I know, building muscle is something that motivates a lot of people to work out. But when you limit your exercise to activities ONLY designed to build muscle, you are missing out on some of the most beneficial forms of exercise… such as bodyweight training. I think a lot of exercisers fall victim to the desire to MAXIMIZE. “I want to maximize muscle”. “I want my muscles to be the biggest they can be!” My big question is… WHY?
For me, exercise and physical training is not about maximization… but optimization. I want to optimize my physical abilities to meet the unpredictable challenges of sport, work and life with excellence. As a bi-product of optimization, my body builds lean, strong, athletic muscle. My muscles get as big as they need to be to meet the challenges they are faced with… no bigger. What’s ironic is, seeking to maximize muscle growth often has the result of decreasing performance.
So, first I would say, rethink why you want to put on so much muscle. Second, think about all the challenges of work, sport and life that are overcome by the ability to move your own bodyweight around. If you want to be prepared for these challenges, you need bodyweight training.
Parth: Many advanced athletes feel that they can get absolutely no benefit from bodyweight training. They feel it’s too easy for them. What are some things that advanced athletes can do to make their workouts even more intense using bodyweight training?
Here is what happens: We have been brainwashed to believe physical training is Resistance Training (weight lifting) and Cardio. We do sets and reps of a certain exercise to target a certain muscle group with certain rest periods. Then after we are done treating the body like a bunch of parts, we do some aerobic cardio to improve the heart and lungs. So, athletes think that doing a workout with only the resistance of their own body is too easy. And the thing is, if you are going to use this predominately bodybuilding style of training, they are probably right.
However, I believe the body should be trained as one complete unit. All the muscles, heart and lungs should be challenged at the same time. The lines between resistance training and cardio training need to be blurred. I would ask the athletes, “Is your sport done in a compartmentalized way with robotic actions where strength and cardio respiratory endurance are separate? Or, is your entire body needed to work in unison in order to excel at your sport?” Bodyweight training is great for switching between strength exercises and “cardio” exercises seamlessly, which is an excellent way to train.
So, my recommendation is to design bodyweight workouts that blur the line between strength training and cardio respiratory endurance. For example, do a circuit of push-ups, air squats and V ups without rest, then do 50 jumping jacks… and repeat for 20 minutes without rest. When the athlete is lying on the ground in a pool of their own sweat, ask them… “Are bodyweight exercises too easy?”
Parth: I like the idea of training your body as one unit. Lets move on to cardio in general. I personally hate steady state cardio, but I do know it has a place. What’s your opinion? Steady state, or interval cardio?
First of all, I don’t like the term “cardio” at all. Anything you do that raises your heart rate and breathing rate is cardio. I prefer Energy System Training. By that I mean you should train to improve your energy systems, whether that be when your energy is delivered aerobically (with oxygen), or anaerobically (without oxygen). One of the problems with steady state cardio is you are only training your aerobic system. On the other hand, interval training trains your anaerobic systems due to the high intensity for short duration. You really should train both, as you need a strong aerobic base as a foundation for more strenuous training. However, your goal should be to do more work in less time… not just do more work.
Let me explain. If you jog 20 minutes in your “target heart rate” zone (something else I can do without), you need to jog longer the next time to progress… let’s say 25 minutes. Then the next time 30, then 35. You get the point. Pretty soon, you need to go on a 3-hour jog to improve. Sounds ridiculous, but if you just keep jogging at the same pace for the same time… there is no improvement.
So, instead of increasing the time at the same pace… increase the pace. So now you are running faster and longer in the same time. This is improvement. Eventually, you will reach a point where you are running your max output for that time period. This is where Intervals come in. Intervals are high intensity for short periods of time with either complete rest or reduced activity in between. When you add up all the short bursts, they equal a higher intensity than you could have achieved otherwise without the rest periods. Again, Progress!
So, start with steady state. Work up to 20 minutes. Then increase the intensity doing more in the same period of time. Then use Intervals to progress even further.
Parth: You seem to big a huge fan of Tabata Training. You even have an entire separate installment devoted to Tabata Training. What’s so special about Tabata?
We just talked about intervals. Tabata is just a way to do intervals. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest… repeated 8 times. The whole thing takes less than 4 minutes. The reason I like it is because it marks the extremes. If walking for 30 minutes is on one extreme of intensity, Tabata is on the other. This is the best way to push yourself both physically and mentally and get great improvements.
I also like Tabata because it is not limited to regular “cardio” activities like running or biking. You can do it with bodyweight exercises, calisthenics, using a punching bag, wrestling drills… just use your imagination. If you do Tabata right… 4 minutes is plenty and you’ll need plenty of rest to recuperate. So, basically I like it because once people experience Tabata, they understand why the slow, long, boring cardio routines for longer and longer duration are really a waste of time.
Parth: I think the best example of effective bodyweight training is gymnastics. Is there something particularly different, in your opinion that gymnasts do that gives them such a great balance of strength, athleticism, and physique? What principles can a regular trainee take from gymnasts?
Consistency. They train hard and A LOT! We talked before about building muscle. Well, gymnasts have muscles most people would be happy with. They just don’t want to put in the time and consistency to get them like gymnasts do. That’s why they opt for weight lifting… because it is faster and “easier”. But the thing is… faster and easier does not mean better.
I would content that the muscle gymnasts have are BETTER than those developed by just weight training alone. Don’t get me wrong, I like weight training. But it just goes to show; some type of bodyweight training should be a part of everyone’s fitness program from beginner to advanced.
So, you may never be able to get the physical abilities of a gymnast with coaching and a lot of practice. But you can apply yourself to bodyweight training and get great results, a great body and improve performance and health. You just need to do it consistently enough and for long enough.
Parth: Last question. What is your opinion on the general state of health in America? What do you think we as fitness professionals can do to help out and motivate those that are really sick?
There is an immediate need for Americans to pursue health through what I call the Fitness Trilogy (Nutrition, Exercise and Lifestyle… in that order). Unfortunately, all the tactics have been tried. Doctors try to scare people into seeking fitness. Health clubs try to appeal to people’s vanity. The government is starting to take action by putting restrictions on what can go into food. Nothing is working, and things continue to get worse.
I think what will happen is something that is not very politically correct. The overweight (I prefer to say over fat) will be singled out much like smokers have. People started calling cigarettes “coffin nails” and “death sticks”. When you see someone smoking, you start thinking they have a death wish. When you see how their sickness affects the entire health industry (and your costs), you start to take it personally thinking you are paying for their indifference. I think the same thing will happen with the unfit and overweight. People will start viewing the overweight at the buffet line as someone slowly committing suicide. And unlike smokers, there is nowhere to hide the fact you are overweight.
Now. I’m not saying I’m in favor of this. I’m just saying there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution to this, and who knows where it can lead. I wish there was something we could do… but the fact is the only people that can provide the kind of motivation need to make a change is the individual themselves. We just have to be ready to help them when they decide enough is enough.
Workout Without Weights is a manual which teaches you how to use your bodyweight to improve your health and fitness. The eBook features not only exercise descriptions, but also teaches you how to develop your own effective training programs
When most people try to lose weight, they pop in some sort of aerobics tape such Tae Bo or one of those dancing tapes. That’s not too bad. I mean, at least you’re moving your body.
But what you really need to be doing is strength training. You don’t need to go out to a gym and start lifting heavy weights. You can do it in the comfort of your own home with your own bodyweight.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “but I can’t do pushups, pullups, and squats.” That’s fine, don’t’ do them. But their is an entire slew of other very basic, simple bodyweight exercises you can perform in the comfort of your own home.
Bodyweight Training for Obese People
One of the biggest qualities of bodyweight training, aside from it’s fat burning benefits, is the fact that it teaches you body control. Mobility is the ability to move, and is one of the most important things in daily life.
For just a second, I want you to expand your mind. Think beyond pushups, pullups, and squats. Think about the strong, powerful bodies of break dancers. Think about the lean bodies of gymnasts.
It’s no surprise that these individuals are extremely athletic. Gymnasts, dancers, and people who practice Yoga don’t necessarily train for fat loss.
Instead, they train for movement. That is exactly what you need to focus your energy on.
Solving the Movement Problem
There are three ways you can move better and hence start losing fat. Each of these three methods are performed at different levels of intensity, but are still extremely vital in your long term progress.
Method One: Low Intensity training with Mobility Drills
The goal of mobility drills is to get you to move better. It does this by stretching and strengthening your joints through a variety of movements. Mobility drills are important for all fitness levels, and will help you get your body warmed up to higher intensity training.
Method Two: Medium Intensity training with Prasara Yoga
Prasara Yoga is the next step up. It teaches you how to easily “flow” from one position to the next. This is a low-impact form of exercise, but it can also be extremely difficult as the postures get more and more complex.
Method Three: High Intensity training with Bodyweight Movements
This is the last tier of training. Once you’ve gotten good at mobility drills and are comfortable with yoga, it’s time to test your body and see how far it can go with explosive bodyweight movements.
There’s only one program out there that successfully combines all three of these methods into one, complete bodyweight training program. The name of the program is Bodyweight Exercise Revolution. Coach’s Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock show you how to use unique bodyweight movements to lose fat, build muscle, increase strength, improve athletic fitness, and enhance longevity.
Here’s a great workout you can do just with your own bodyweight. This workout revolves around calisthenic and animal movements and is a great alternative to your regular bodyweight squat lower body workouts.
It’s also a great fat burning cardio movement. If you’re following an upper body/lower body training split, then this is a perfect workout for your lower body and cardio day.
Some of the movements require some space and place where you can make some noise without disturbing anyone. A park or your backyard would be great. Lets first learn the exercises before moving onto the workout:
Get into pushup position. Bring both your legs in explosively towards your chest. Your feet should land right below your hips. Push them back to starting position. This movement is exactly what you do during the transition between thepushup and squat jump during a traditional burpee.
Get on all fours. Your butt will be in the air. Move forward by moving your right hand and right leg at the same time. Repeat on the other side. The best way to do this movement is decide upon a set distance, and just perform the bear crawl for that particular distance.
Get down into deep squat position. Walk forward without letting your body come off the ground. The best way to perform this movement is take small steps. A little bobbing up and down is fine. But try to keep your body as low to the ground as possible.
Start with in a low deep squat. Place your hands on the floor in between your feet. Most of your weight should be balanced on your feet. Spring forward and land on both your feet and hands at the same time. The biggest mistake people make with this movement is to land on their hands before landing with their feet.
This movement is kind of like a cross between a bear crawl and frog jump. Instead of placing both your hands on the floor, place just one hand on the floor. Jump forward first with both your feet, then move your hand forward. Continue in this pattern – jump with your legs, then move forward.
Repeat with the other hand.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Drop down onto the floor into squat position and place your hands on the ground. Kick your legs back, the way you would in mountain jumps. You should be inpushup position. Perform a pushup position.
Bring your legs back in. You should now be in squat position again. Explode into the air. When your feet return to the ground dropimmediately back into the squat position and repeat.
8 Count Body Builders
8 count bodybuidlers are very similar to burpees. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Drop onto the floor into squat position and place your hands on the ground. Kick your legs back and perform apushup. From this position, separate your legs.
It’s almost like performing a jumping jack with your legs in pushup position. Bring your legs back together, bring your knees back in, and perform a squat jump.
Speaking of jumping jacks. Most people are familiar with this movement from gym class. Start with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump and spread your feet outwards, and bring your arms up towards the air. Clap your hands together above your head and jump back to starting position.
Jogging in Place
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bring your right knees up so that your 6 inches off the ground. Bring your right foot back down and repeat with your left foot. The main idea here is that you’re simulating jogging in place.
Drop down into squat position and explode upwards as high as possible. As your feet hit the ground, squat back down immediately and repeat.
Now that you know how to perform the exercises, I will provide you with the workout. I’ve created three separate versions for beginners, intermediate and advanced trainees:
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by a 60 second rest. Work up to 2 rounds for a 30 minute workout.
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest. Work up to 3 rounds for a 30 minute workout.
Perform each exercise for 60 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest. Work up to 2 rounds for a 30 minute workout
The great thing about these exercises is that one transitions straight into the next one. There’s no need to do any setting up for any of the workouts.
If you’re ready to incorporate bodyweight training as part of your fitness plan, then you should check out Bodyweight Exercise Revolution. Coach’s Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock show you how to use unique bodyweight movements to lose fat, build muscle, increase strength, improve athletic fitness, and enhance longevity.
So you’ve decided to start training at home. Now what should you do? Spend a lot of money on equipment, or invest some money on eBooks? Well, before you can answer this question, you need to really think about why you’re working out at home.
Everyone out there is talking about pullups, pushups, and squats when it comes to bodyweight training. However, what about some really unique exercises? The reason why people believe that bodyweight training alone can not help them achieve the kind of fitness they desire is because they do not take the time to seek out some unique exercises.
Well, I’m going to show you a few unique movements that will really help you spice up your bodyweight workouts:
Lie face down with your arms at your sides as if your were doing a typical pushup. However, instead of the fingers pointed towards the front of your body, reverse the grip and have your fingers point towards your feet.
Keep your hands and elbows close to your body and push your body up until your arms are extended. Lower and repeat.
Lay on your side on the ground. Prop your right elbow under your right shoulder and raise your hips up until your body is straight. Keep your abs tight and hips straight.
Hold this position for the time desired, then return to starting position.
Get three chairs or surfaces of the similar height. Place them in such a way that you can place your hands and feet on them as if you were doing apushup.
Keep your body straight and abs contracted as your lower yourself towards the ground. Keep going past the point of parallel. You should feel an extra stretch on your chest.
Losing fat while you’re constantly going from one business trip to the next is tough. Especially in this economy where you need to work harder and longer to make the same amount of money as you did before, and don’t have the time and money to get in a great, fat burning workout.
Well, that’s what you think. In reality, you can easily get a great fat burning workout without using weights. And you can get this fat burning workout in an extremely short period of time. Lets first focus on how to workout without weights. Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of the basics: pushups, pullups, and squats.
These basic movement are great, but they fail to take into account the full needs of a busy traveler, such as yourself. You see, as a busy traveler who’s constantly on the go you need to perform exercises that gets you moving faster, and boosts your energy level so you can focus better on your work.
Re-Learning how to Work Out
I recently came across a great bodyweight training resource called Bodyweight Exercise Revolution. This amazing program, developed by Coaches Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock, features some of the most unique bodyweight movements I’ve seen.
I’ve literally been re-taught how to workout. And I’m going to pass that knowledge onto you. First of all, the movements that you choose need to multi-dimensional. After all, you have very little time on your hands. So, if you can target 3-4-5 or even 6 muscle groups at the same time, then you can get a full body bodyweight workout in an extremely short period of time.
The second thing I learned was how to organize my workouts. Bodyweight Revolution workouts incorporate something known as interval training. This is where you perform an exercise for a short period of time (30-60 seconds) before moving onto the next exercise.
Best Workout without Weights
Coaches Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock have a lot of great workouts. Here is my favorite workout, and one you can do easily in a hotel room:
Perform as a circuit:
* CST Side Ground Engagement, 30 seconds
* CST Quad Squat, 30 seconds
* CST Dog Burps, 30 seconds
* CST Jump Squats, 30 seconds
Start off with 3 rounds, and build up to 10 rounds. Non-stop. Each circuit is 2 minutes long, so a 10-round workout would take you only 20 minutes. Once you’re able to perform 10 straight rounds, it’s pointless to keep adding rounds or increasing the time intervals.
Instead, seek to make the workouts harder. For example, you can combine the dog burps and jump squats into one movement. Or, you can add in a pullup in between (if you have access to a pullup bar). There are many bodyweight exercises you can choose from.
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We all have obstacles in our lives that prevent us from doing certain things. What I want to know is, what is your biggest obstacle when it comes to improving your health and fitness. What’s really keeping you from achieving your goals?
I would love to hear your responses. Please post your thoughts to comments, and I will respond and try to give you advice if you want me to. Thank you!
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