A Quick and Dirty Bodyweight Workout For You To Try
I used to hate bodyweight workouts. This is totally me admitting that I was a fitness snob for awhile, and I still am in some respects. But for a very long time I really just hated the idea of bodyweight workouts. I felt like they were pointless and didn’t do any good whatsoever.
Online clients would ask for me to write up a bodyweight program for them to do on the road, and I would do it begrudgingly. And to be honest, I really can’t tell you why I hated the idea of bodyweight workouts for so long.
It probably has something to do with the masochistic tendency of mine to choose going into the gym and absolutely wrecking myself vs. doing a short little workout that gets my heart rate up and actually leaves me feeling better than when I started.
But as I’ve spent more time in fitness, gotten older, and had to take on more responsibilities, I’ve come around to what I used to call the dark side. Nowadays I’m all about a bodyweight workout when I need to be.
I get it. People travel, life throws curveballs, and sometimes we just can’t get into the gym like we want to. And part of making fitness an integral part of our lives is rolling with the punches and making it work within the context of our life at that point and time.
Fortunately, this is where bodyweight workouts shine. And that’s exactly why we’re going to explore them a little bit today.
A bodyweight exercise is nothing more than moving your body through space in a purposeful manner.
It’s that simple. They work wonders for helping you learn spatial awareness (where your body is in space) and developing motor control. Both of which are things we all sorely need if we’re looking to continue advancing in the gym.
Where they don’t really shine is when it comes to building muscle. Sorry. I know there are lots of fitness articles out there that will tell you bodyweight workouts to build muscle, but the truth is they’re just not that great for it.
Sure, if you’re just getting started you’ll probably put on a little bit of muscle. That’s bound to happen thanks to a phenomenon known as newbie gains. When you’re new to the gym just about anything is going to make you start putting on muscle mass.
But after awhile, you’ll adapt. And when you adapt, you typically have to start upping the weight. An option that is obviously not there for bodyweight training.
That being said, it’s great for plenty of other things. Especially fat loss.
In fitness, we like to make things way more complicated than they need to be. An easy example is the fitness Ivory Tower delineating between open chain and closed chain exercises. Now, you don’t need to know a ton about what’s going on here. What you mainly need to know is that closed chain exercises tend to be a bit more metabolically demanding, primarily because you’re moving your body through space.
Which, if you’ve been paying attention at all, should sound eerily similar to what happens with a bodyweight exercise.
The magic from closed chain exercises happens because you’ve got either a hand or foot that’s fixed and can’t move, and thanks to that fixed anchor position, you’re not being forced to move your body. All of your body. And that requires some significant effort on your part, whether you’re in great shape or not.
Do that a couple of hundred times over the course of a workout through various positions and angles, and you’ve got yourself the makings of one hell of a metabolic program using nothing but your own God given talents and good looks.
On top of the science boner shit, bodyweight training is by far and away the most convenient form of training that exists in the world. Because, well, all you need is your bodyweight and some space.
You can self-select the level of difficulty you’re dealing with, which is a major win.
For most beginners, getting into a bodyweight program is an easy way to learn how to move and also begin pushing themselves a bit. On top of that, the whole intimidation factor of going into the gym is gone, since a bodyweight workout can be done at home.
When you’re fit as shit and this whole gym thing isn’t exactly anything new for you anymore, you can still find ways to turn bodyweight workouts into something that kicks your ass. And when you’ve been gymming for quite awhile, sometimes you get to the point where you really want your ass kicked. All of you masochists out there know what I’m talking about here.
This can be done by varying reps, time under tension, or even going for density instead of a given number of reps. All of which are tools to use in your tool bag.
Regardless, the convenience factor can’t be overlooked. Especially when we’re increasingly busy people who are working and traveling and trying to get our fitness in wherever we can. Sure, sometimes we have a hotel gym and can squeeze in a dumbbell workout. But that isn’t always the case.
So for when you find yourself stranded and can only do bodyweight work, I got your back. Here’s a quick and dirty bodyweight workout you can start using to fire up your fat burning efforts.
A1. Push-up x15
A2. Squat x10
A3. Side plank pulses x15 reps
*rest 60 seconds after each round, repeat 4 times total.
B1. Lunge x8 per leg
B2. Shoulder taps x8 per side
B3. Jumping lunges x10
*rest 45 seconds after each round, repeat 3 times total.
C1. Bear crawl x30 seconds
C2. Mountain climber x30 seconds
*rest 30 seconds after each round, repeat 3 times total.
Boom. Quick and dirty, just like I told you it would be. And coincidentally, just like my sex life. Give this a try when you’re stranded and can’t find a gym and let me know what you think.