“If more people knew you could get a good physique using your body as abarbell, they could take matters into their own hands,” advised author BretContreras. His book, “BodyweightStrength Training Anatomy,” has been guiding readers to better health andphysical fitness through the use of their own body versus using anyman-designed weight training machine.
While often thought of as a mere “stepping stone” to more vigorousweight training exercises, using the body as resistance provides an overalltoning, strengthening, and cardio workout in one fell swoop rather thancombining the use of different machines for different muscles, and then a longrun or other activity for cardio conditioning.
Once a person masters the staple body-weight training exercises,advancement can be done by simply adding weights or resistance bands, or evenincorporating living room furniture to change the position or challenge thebalance the exercise requires.
The advantage of body-weight training is that it can be done anywhere,anytime, and encourages participants into natural movements rather than forcingthem to adapt to machine restrictions. These natural movements are great for improving overall mobility,stability, and creating movement patterns that one engages in during everydayactivity.
Another proponent of this training style, Jessica Matthews of theAmerican Council on Exercises, advises body-weight exercises blend well withthe movement towards functional strength training, or training that mimicseveryday movements as opposed to the older bodybuilder style workouts.
“Our body is one kinetic chain, everything moves together, so mosteveryday exercises will move multiple muscle groups,” she explains. Because ofthis, body-weight exercises can be adapted to focus more on building muscle, ortoning with added cardiovascular benefits.
While machines are not necessarily a thing of the past, this new focusand style of fitness offers a lower intimidation factor to new exercisers and achallenge for athletes of all levels. Iflooking to change up the pace of a workout, many experts recommend adding a fewbody weight exercises to challenge and tone the whole body rather than just onetarget area.
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