Strength training is an integral part of every fitness programme in order to get the most benefits of exercise. Using your own weight to build strength couldn’t be easier: it’s totally customizable, can be done anywhere and at any time, requires no equipment and takes less than 30 minutes. It also has positive effects on your sleep cycle, metabolism, bones, immunity and mood. If you are intimidated by free weights, treadmills, group classes or exercise machines the very thing you might just need is to include bodyweight exercises into your workout routine.
Cardio is definitely beneficial – like weight loss, strong heart and lungs, increased bone density and what not – but building muscle is equally important. Bodyweight exercises are a type of strength training, which helps rebuild muscle.
Building lean muscle mass is great for:
- Your heart, lungs and blood vessels
- Healthier blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Lower stress levels – improve your mood and fight depression
- Better sleep and more energy
- Hormone production
- Brain activity
- Increased oxygen use by muscles
- Reduced joint and bone pain
- Reduce risk of diabetes
- Removal of metabolic waste from muscles during resting periods
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Increased resting metabolic rate
- Reduced risk of stroke, acute coronary syndrome and overall cardiovascular mortality
Perform strength-training exercises at least two to three times per week and try to make it a full-body workout – do exercises that include the big muscle groups, like your back, legs, chest and core. Aim to do eight to 10 different exercises and perform 12-20 reps in each set.
Switch up the different exercises to target various muscle groups.
Always stretch after a strength workout to recover, prevent injuries and increase range of motion, flexibility and recovery time. (Tip: if you can, do a low intensity cardio warm up for about 5-10mins so your body is warm and prepared for the workout)
Examples of bodyweight exercises to try include:
- mountain climbers
- chair pose
- tricep dips
- reverse fly
Check out this slide-show of 20 best body bodyweight exercises – it shows you exactly how to do each one.
Click here to read more on the benefits of bodyweight training.