By: Dr. Brett Qualls, PT, DPT, OCS
When it comes to exercise, it seems as if everyone has their own opinion on the path to becoming a better you. That’s because there truly are hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of exercise. One type of exercise that is recently gaining some traction is body weight exercise. This type of exercise does not require any equipment and can be done from home or in your favorite park.
What is Body Weight Exercise?
Body weight exercise involves moving the weight of your own body for exercise. It does not require equipment or a special gym to participate. Squats and push ups would be perfect examples of movements that you could use in a body weight exercise regimen. The movements can be performed slowly or you can add speed to include a cardio training component. Essentially you are pushing, pulling, or lifting your body weight for resistance.
Other examples of body weight training exercises includes: stair climbing, burpees, tricep dips, planks, wall sits, lunges, and mountain climbers.
Body weight exercise has many benefits. One of the main benefits is that you can easily combine strength & cardio training in one exercise routine. Quickly running through a set of squats, lunges, and squat jumps is a great way to get a good leg muscle burn, while also getting your heart rate up! Many of the high intensity interval training (HIIT) programs use body weight training. Body weight exercise also helps to improve your balance and body awareness. Using body weight exercise is very safe. The risk for injury with body weight resistance is much less than traditional weight training programs.
High intensity workouts are a great way to burn calories and to burn stored body fat. A study found that a 45 minute bout of vigorous exercise increases your metabolic rate, which is the speed at which you burn calories. The exciting thing was that your metabolic rate was also increased for up to 14 hours after the exercise. This means that for 14 hours after your workout, your body is burning more calories..even at rest! Body weight training is an excellent way to get a whole-body high intensity workout in.
Why Body Weight Training?
Body Weight training is simply the most convenient type of exercise. Like it or not, everywhere you go…your body weight goes right along with you! Body weight training can be done at home or while on the go. You can get your squats done on your lunch break at work, or get a few push ups in while in your hotel room while traveling. Body weight training takes many of our typical excuses out of the equation. The excuse of not making it to the gym or not having the right kind of equipment go right out of the window! Body weight training is also very fun. With nearly a limitless list of options, your boredom with regular gym machines will be a thing of the past!
When it comes to exercise, one of the most important things is that you actually do it! Thinking or talking about exercising have rarely lead to much success or gains. In order for exercise to do you any good, you have to put in the work. Body weight training may seem like a very simplistic form of exercise, but that’s because it really is. It is a great place to get started if you are new to exercise but it is also a functional exercise to add to your traditional weight training program. Body weight exercise is truly for everyone.
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