Starting an exercise routine can be very difficult. Many people think that joining a gym with the newest equipment is the key that will help them meet their fitness goals. The reality is that for most people, simple bodyweight exercises, which use virtually no equipment, can provide the best workout of all. Brett Contreras, a well-known personal trainer and fitness author, discussed this very issue in this article from October 14.
Contreras discusses his own history with bodyweight exercises and how they have benefitted him throughout his life. He feels so strongly about this topic that he wrote a book titled “Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy.”
In the book, Contreras details how to use a simple progression methodology to continually stress the muscles and build a fantastic physique. For example, Contreras talks about using living room furniture to make a tougher version of a simple exercise. He explains that a person can lie on the floor facing the bottom of a table. Use the legs of the table to pull the body upward, like a reverse row. This is a great exercise both for the back and gripping strength.
One of the keys to making a bodyweight workout effective is to cycle through exercises without stopping in circuit fashion. Contreras advocates starting with a simple 15 minutes and day, doing push-ups, squats, pull-ups, and so on, working up to 20 minutes a day three times a week.
Lisa Wheeler, national creative manager for Equinox, also sings the praises of bodyweight training. Equinox has a bodyweight class known as “Animal Flow,” which focuses on bodyweight exercise that were inspired by basic movements of both man and animal, such as lunges and “crab crawls.”
Bodyweight exercises are a great way to work out because they can be done almost anywhere and they work more than just one muscle. For example, push-ups require stabilization through the core and work the chest and triceps together. Pull-ups work almost every muscle in the back.
The equipment does not make the workout. The effort level does.