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Bodyweight Workouts: How and Why


Maybe the pandemic derailed your workout routine. Maybe you found a new one. Maybe you are struggling because there is a shortage of dumbbells (and roller skates). Or by now, maybe you have returned to the gym.


But winter is coming. And there are predictions of another outbreak in which case we might be sent back home.


So whether you are at home or at the gym, whether you think you’ll stick out the winter at home or at the gym, adding bodyweight to your routine is critical.


What are bodyweight exercises?

Simply, these are exercises that use your own weight to provide resistance against gravity. These types of exercises usually require pulling, pushing, squatting, balancing and twisting.

While sit ups and push ups are considered bodyweight exercises, there are plenty more that can challenge your body and spirit.


Why bodyweight exercises?

One of the great things about this type of workout is that it works at all levels of fitness. By changing the number of repetitions, the speed, the length of breaks or the Ballistic movement (defined as muscle contractions that exhibit maximum velocities and accelerations), one can adjust the level of difficulty.


Bodyweight workouts include both cardio and strength training so workout routines do not get boring to your mind or your muscles. Too much of the same thing becomes routine to your muscles and thus the dreaded plateau.


Bodyweight exercises work the core. Everyone has a different reason for working out: muscle mass, stress reduction, heart health, weight loss. And when you add core workouts, you add core strength which helps with back pain, injury prevention and recovery.


These exercises can also be done anywhere. There is no special equipment you need, just your bod.


They build mobility and balance. Yoga is a bodyweight workout. Yoga routines focus on balance, core strength and flexibility.


Because of the high number of repetitions done in a bodyweight workout, this workout style builds endurance.


And possibly the only reason you need to know: they are good enough for Herschel Walker, an Olympic athlete and a 2x Pro-Bowl NFL player. Walker did not lift weights in college. But when asked to show his teammates his bench press he was able to bench 375lbs. The most his coach had ever seen. And then he benched his body weight (222lbs) for 24 reps.


When asked about his incredible strength, Walker credited his hard work and routine. Variety, massive reps and seeing what worked for him rather than listening to conventional wisdom is how he worked out.


Here are Walker's favorite moves.

  • Push ups

  • Sit ups

  • Chin ups

  • Running

  • Taekwondo

  • Swimming/water work

  • Monkey bars--yes you read that correctly

  • Squat thrusts

  • Lunges

  • Dips

  • Stretching

  • Jumping rope


Walker also attributed his strength to his consistency in regards to working out. A key for all healthy habits for sure. Walker’s list of exercises is exhaustive when it comes to bodyweight moves. The versatility of bodyweight workouts can only help with consistency. Boredom is often the cause of workout failure.


Other exercises:

  • Inchworm

  • Mountain climbers

  • Plank

  • Prone walkout--high plank walking

  • Burpee

  • Tuck Jump

  • Wall sit

  • Dead leg lifts.


The list goes on.


So whether you are stuck at home, desire to be at home, at the gym, on vacation or on the field, consider adding bodyweight exercises to your workout routine.


And if you do not have a workout routine, this might be a great place to start.


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