I’ve always known that body-weight moves are beneficial. But early in the pandemic when we were all at home, and exercise gear was simply not available (and ridiculously expensive), I used body-weight moves for myself and my clients for strength, balance, power, and flexibility. The moves have proven to be very effective, and as challenging as we make them for continued gains.
“No excuses” convenience.
Train anywhere, anytime—first thing in the morning in your bedroom, in the kitchen while you’re waiting for something in the toaster oven, in a hotel room when traveling, or on your patio or lawn – a tiny length of floor is enough space for a solid workout. Many clients are still training at home virtually in very small spaces with minimal or no equipment – getting and staying super strong and fit.
No gear, easy prep.
All you need is a comfy, stretchy outfit and a pair of shoes – or go barefoot! A yoga mat is helpful (I like this Manduka EKO Superlite). A chair, bench, or counter are helpful to modify moves as needed.
A gym membership isn’t necessary to get a great workout.
Online training is super effective with a skilled, certified coach who will guide you through movements and range of motion to get the most out of exercises. On demand videos are great, as long as you find videos with a trainer or coach who offers a program with appropriate progressions, modifications, and ways to scale the workout to customize for you.
Body-weight moves are effective.
Research published in the journal Physiology and Behavior found that body-weight exercise helps build muscle “independent of an external load.” Pushing repeatedly against gravity with legs and arms, and adding depth and speed provides gains in aerobic capacity, core strength and stability, and power – even flexibility can improve with body-weight training.
Start wherever you are.
As a beginner at any age, especially after age 50, workouts consisting of eight simple lower-body exercises (the large muscle groups intended to support the body and move us) have been shown to increase muscle strength and power. Strength and power naturally decline more quickly after age 60, but the decline is markedly slower, and much more strength and power can be maintained using body-weight training.
“Functional” – moves you use in activities of daily life.
Many body-weight exercises work multiple muscles at the same time, as in movements we do every day. Body-weight exercises are functional, using many muscles and joints at a time, engaging balance and, and mimicking activities of daily life. A good coach will help you make the appropriate modifications – progressions and regressions, so you can continue to progress again.
Adjust exercises to your strength and fitness level.
Increase or decrease resistance against gravity by adjusting your body position. Find your own challenge, like the angle doing push-ups, increase or decrease the number of reps, or modify your pace. You’ll see progressions as you train – exercises will gradually get easier as you go, so add depth, repetitions, and increase your pace to get continued gains. Every part of the body communicates with every other part all the time, so compound exercises offer whole body benefits.
Check out this article with 5 compound body-weight exercises and an excellent burpee video.
Love to know how body-weight training has been working for you!