Having owned a gym for years and instructed certifications worldwide, I have a pretty good idea of what works when it comes to exercise. I have seen the benefits of different types of exercise many times over, and one thing I always come back to, is bodyweight training.
There is an odd stigma associated with bodyweight exercise by the stereotypical “strong dude” that it is too foofy or “yoga.” Yoga, by the way, with the proper instructor can be an awesome display of physical ability and a really great method for promoting longevity.
Many girls will look at bodyweight exercise as being “too hard,” or “manly.”
I think this stems largely from the fact that you ladies couldn’t do a pullup in P.E. when you were in elementary school.
Now you probably won’t be able to do a pullup at first, but it is a worthwhile goal because it develops relative strength.
Relative strength is the relationship between your weight and your strength, or your strength to weight ratio (also called pound-for-pound strength). I believe this to be the most important indicator when determining a person’s fitness level.
Bodyweight exercises–like handstands, pushups, pull-ups, cartwheels, etc—promote coordination, and enhanced proprioception. Proprioception is just your brain’s awareness of your body; the better it is, the better you move—the better you feel.
One other thing that bodyweight training promotes is freedom. Freedom to train anywhere, anytime. I traveled over 11 times last year and I can safely say that without bodyweight exercise, it would have seriously hindered my health, and my training progress.
Flexibility is a key component in advancing your bodyweight exercise, many of the movements and progressions demand that you get more flexible. Take the L-Sit and the handstand for example:
In the L-Sit you need to have the hip flexibility and strength to keep your legs above parallel. In the handstand you need the shoulder strength and flexibility to support your bodyweight with arms completely locked out overhead.
Bodyweight exercise can take you as far as you want to go. For some, this might mean getting your first pushup on the floor or holding an L-Sit. For others it may be a journey toward a front lever or a planche. For everyone though, it is really about the journey rather than the destination. As long as you are moving your body through space, and having fun, you are making yourself better every day.
Some basic bodyweight strength goals to consider:
L-Sit on Parallettes
Handstand against the wall
Just working on the progressions for the above movements can yield you unbelievable results in your strength, flexibility, and overall training satisfaction.
If you’re interested in learning more about bodyweight training, contact us at Ambition Athletics or sign up for our Full Day Total Bodyweight Strength Workshop.
Better Every Day.
– Max Shank