The Bodyweight workout
Anyone interested in sculpting their physique needs resistance training at the heart of their exercise programme. However, weightlifting can seem daunting. Bodyweight exercises can be a useful introduction for men and woman to help build confidence.
The bodyweight workout
Whether it is a bodyweight exercise or weightlifting, both are forms of resistance training. In the case of a bodyweight workout, you are inducing resistance against a bodily movement, with your body acting as the resistance. But don’t expect it to be a walk-in-the-park. Bodyweight exercises can be calibrated to test the very strongest and fittest individuals. However, as this article is focused on helping people get started I will outline some easier and intermediate options to help you on your way. One thing to bear in mind, lower body exercises are usually easier than upper body exercises.
Four key movements
- Bodyweight squats: (beginner level) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then squat down by bending the knees, leading down with your bottom. Go all the way down, at least to parallel with the ground, and then back up. Ensure you maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement with your chest up. To progress: increase resistance by holding dumbbells in each hand, before moving up to a Bulgarian bag or full barbell squat.
- Lunges: (beginner level) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Then take a lunge forward. Then bend both knees and come back up, repeating ten times. Then ‘lead’ with the other leg and repeat. To progress: increase resistance by holding dumbbells in each hand.
- Push ups: (intermediate) Get into the push up position with your hands shoulder width apart while resting on the balls of your feet. Brace your abdominals by sticking your hips forward and keeping your chest up, this will also ensure that you have a neutral spine. Then lower yourself to the ground and push back up. If this is too difficult: instead of your feet, rest on your knees, and then progress to your feet.
- Pull ups: (intermediate/advanced) A pull up bar is required to perform this exercise. Place your hands around shoulder width apart and pull yourself up through your elbows. This is primarily an upper back exercise, with variations to the grip; you can widen your grip or reverse it, so palms are facing towards you. To progress: add resistance by attaching weights to your legs or torso.
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