Thursday, August 27, 2020

In Favor of Bodyweight Training:

In Favor of Bodyweight Training
Some have described bodyweight training as being for muscular endurance (cardio) and not for strength but bodyweight exercises can be extremely challenging. It doesn't have to be only traditional push-ups and pull-ups and free hand squats. All bodyweight exercises have a way of streamlining your body and movements and can transform you into being cat-like.

All of these types of exercises are what are called closed kinetic chain (CKC) exercises, that is, the main characteristic here is that the hand(s) for upper body movements and feet for lower body movements do not move; they are fixed in space either resting on or gripping some kind of surface. The exercises are almost always multi-joint (compound exercises) meaning that more than one joint is used in their operation. Some say bodyweight exercises are safer but anyone who has tried to learn planche push-ups too fast can attest to a painful rotator cuff injury so I would emphasize going slowly with some exercises.

This type of training is perfect for a group and boot camp scenarios in either a large room or an open air environment. No one needs any type of equipment of their own except for perhaps chair or bar dips and a chin-up bar but dips and chins can be done in group assembly line fashion with no plates to be put on or taken off. Everyone uses the weight of their own body.

There are bodyweight weight calisthenics for virtually every physical function you can think of whether it be twisting, pushing, pulling or jumping. There are even total body mobility movements: Alligator walking where you walk around belly down (prone) on all fours with your arms and legs stretched out and crab walking where you walk around supine on all fours with your belly up will strengthen you as well as work your heart.

Beginners to strength training can start off doing push-ups on their knees. If they don't have the flexibility to go completely down to the bottom for a free hand squat then they can start off with a half squat. Can't do a chin-up? Fine, just hang down for as long as you can and keep trying to pull up. Once in awhile do negative chins where, using a chair to get your chin to the bar, then emphasize going down slowly for one rep. Before no time you'll be doing multiple reps.

Want to make it harder? How about trying one arm push-ups and one legged squats (called pistols)? If you can perform a one arm chin then you are a beast and should be locked up.

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