Whether we want to admit it or not we are good at weight-lifting! Or should I say weight-carrying! Every day we walk around carrying our own body-weight (some more than others) and we may not realize that our own bodies are the greatest fitness tool we have. So, let’s dive straight in to what we think are the top 10 reasons to do body weight exercises and what some good body weight exercises are! Let’s get BACK to BASICS before all this nifty gym equipment.
1. Great way to get fit for free – No gym? NO EXCUSE! Gyms can be expensive and even if you can afford one, do we all REALLY know what we are doing when we get there? There are lots of body weight circuits out there that you can find and do at home and we here at MIFNYC can help you with that.
2. Do not need fancy equipment – Who has walked into a gym and stared sideways at some of the contraptions they have on the equipment floor? Not wanting to embarrass yourself if you sit on them wrong or use them wrong. We know what our arms and legs do so I think that is enough for our equipment needs when it comes to body weight exercises.
3. Can be done anywhere, anytime – In the time it takes to drive to the gym (for some of us) your workout could be complete! Have time on your lunch break? Run into that empty office and get a quick 15 mins in (make sure to bring body wipes and deodorant lol!). Can’t miss the season finale of Survivor? Do some circuit training in front of the TV (my guilty pleasure turned into something productive!)
4. Can be modified for any fitness level – Need to build more core/upper body strength to hold yourself while completing a push-up? That’s fine MODIFY IT! Can’t get a full range of motion below 90 degrees in your squat? Put a chair behind you for support. There are so many ways to make a body weight exercise easier and still effective.
5. Improves your coordination, balance, force, power, and endurance and helps enhance your ability to perform normal daily activities. – Calisthenics in a nutshell! Imagine being able to move with agility and ease, understanding all aspects of your body – its challenges and its strengths. Body weight exercises will bring you closer to being able to do some nifty tricks. Whether it be high box jumps, monkey bars, wall climbs! Think American Ninja Warrior!
6. It combines cardio and strength training (will keep the heart pumping while still encouraging muscle and strength development.) – Every part of you must focus, all muscles in some way have to help stabilize your movements and you will learn to move your body weight around quickly and with ease.
7. Works numerous muscles at once – When you squat your core gets involved and so do all the muscles in your legs. When you do a push-up your back, abs and arms work while your legs help to stabilize you. When you sit on a leg press machine at the gym, the back support takes away from any of your upper body muscles helping to stabilize you and absorbs some of the work as you push against it to push your legs away from your body.
8. Challenging at any fitness level – Mastered the push-up? Now let’s try with one hand lifted or one leg lifted or an explosive push-up! You can challenge yourself at any time.
9. No excuse not to work out – What is stopping you from adding 50 push-ups, 50 squats and 50 sit-ups to your morning as you roll out of bed? What is to stop you getting in a quick 10-minute full body stretch before you tuck yourself in at night? Your phone? TV? Step away from the device for 10-15 minutes every morning and every night and do something that will brighten your day and relax your body for the night!
10. There are plenty of exercises to choose from – You can create a vast number of circuits using some of the following exercises – Squats, push-ups, lying hip raises, lunges, planks, crab walks, bicycle crunches, double leg lifts, side lunges, burpees, frog jumps, plie squats, squat jumps, sit ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, butt kicks and jumping rope (obviously lol). You can pick all that pertain to upper body/lower body and do a set number of rounds until all are completed or As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAPs) in a set amount of time. Both will have benefits and you can alternate between the two options throughout the week.
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