Bodyweight strength exercises help you develop the strength and power needed to do more work in less time. Bodyweight strength exercises allow you to develop strength that allows your body to stabilize itself. This way, you are less likely to injure yourself with heavier free weights because your body is not ready for the loads.
You should be involved in a comprehensive training program to prevent injuries and burnout. The three building blocks of integrated training are:
STABILIZATION – Primary goals are to correct muscle imbalances, joint dysfunctions, postural distortion patterns, improve kinetic chain integrity (human movement system) and reconditioning/rehabilitation.
STRENGTH – Primary goals are to improve stabilization strength/endurance and increase muscle hypertrophy (growth) and strength.
POWER – Primary goals are to enhance neuromuscular efficiency, increase power production, increase speed strength and create neuromuscular adaptations throughout the entire range of motion.
Your training program should be:
a. multi-planar (sagittal, frontal, transverse)
b. multi-joint (exercises such as bench press, squats, lunges, rows)
c. multi-dimensional (stabilization, strength, power)
d. proprioceptively enriched (high neural demand, such as balance training)
e. sport-specific (if needed)
You should follow a systematic approach with the following goals in mind:
a. injury prevention
b. body fat reduction
c. increased lean muscle mass
d. increased strength
e. improved endurance
f. improved flexibility
g. improved performance – rate-of-force production or power (muscles producing force in the shortest period of time) allows you to do more efficient workouts (do more work in less time).
Bodyweight workouts use natural body motions that don’t limit your natural range of motion (like machine lifting does). Since no two people have the same exact motions, bodyweight exercises are ideal for beginners and veterans alike.
Plyometric (jump training) exercises are important but only if you have enough strength and joint stability to make these more risky exercises work effectively for you. Plyometrics are great fat burners.
A proper strength training program would go something like this:
1. Overall strength training (including core training) to stabilize joints, build muscle, correct postural problems, improve flexibility and implementation of a nutrition program.
Some bodyweight strength exercises would include:
–pushups of all variations
–lunges of all types
–step ups of all types
–squats (two-legged, one-legged, split, lateral, Bulgarian)
2. Strength training with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, etc. would be mixed in with bodyweight exercises.
3. Progress to power exercises, speed exercises, plyometric exercises and sport specific exercises when your body is ready.
Don’t skip to steps #2 or #3 without adequately doing step #1 or injuries will surely follow!
Train smarter, not harder.
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