Last updated on December 6, 2015 | Follow @deanyeong on Twitter
It was 5 years ago I started to train, because I was overweight and always suffer from low self-esteem, and thinking to transform my body shape to change the situation.
The fitness industry is not that big by that time especially online, there are very little people sharing information about training back then. All I know is getting to the gym. Then perform multiple sets of dumbbell lifting.
So, I did that pointlessly without even knowing what I’m actually doing. If you haven’t workout for long before, you will definitely see results with any kind of training.
But very soon, I hit a plateau. I never see any muscle gain or even fat loss after the first 2 months. Not even strength gain. It’s like the more I do, the weaker I am.
Fortunately, my desire to turn my health and fitness around is so strong, so I started to train on HIIT running, that helps me to lose 10kg in just a month. Then I train using Stronglifts 5×5, that increase my strength by about 150%, from 40kg squat to 100kg squat, 25kg bench press to 60kg bench press.
But there’s always a limit when you’re lifting heavy weights. Without building a proper foundation (body structure, posture, overall capacity), I hit a plateau again after 7 months of Stronglift training.
So, that makes me think, what is the best training approach to build a strong, lean and functional body efficiently? Which means spending less time on it, due to my overloaded schedule as an entrepreneur.
The answer is – bodyweight training.
What’s bodyweight training? In short, it simply means training with solely with your body weight. But there are people perform bodyweight movements with external weights such as weight vest during the advanced stage.
In the deeper layer of definition, I define bodyweight training as movements, workouts and routines that move our body in the most natural way available, while external weights are used only when you master the beginner level of the training and looking forward to achieve higher strength with the same bodyweight movements.
Before we dive into the specific body movement and technique, here are a few benefits of training with your bodyweight.
#1 — More efficient and effective
Bodyweight training is very efficient and effective with come to building muscle, increase strength, lose fat or even just to achieve overall health and fitness level. Why? Because 99% if not 100% of bodyweight workout movements are compound movements. What is compound movement?
A compound movement is a workout / exercise that requires more and one muscle group to perform. With that said, there are more than one joint involve when you are performing a bodyweight workout.
For an example, you’re using your chest, shoulder, and arms as the core body part when you perform a push-up. Those are just the major muscle group and skeleton parts that involved. Besides you chest, shoulder and arms, you actually working your back and core muscle at the same time.
#2 — Safer with minimal supervision
Without any weight on top of you, which mean it’s safer compared to working out at the gym. I was working out in the gym before with strength training approach (Stronglifts 5×5) which required serious heavy weights and 120% focus.
That’s super useful since it’s all about compound movements as well, but I never suggest anyone to start with that training approach before they master the basics of body movements and weight lifting form (posture).
Of course, you will still get injured if you didn’t perform a movement correctly OR you get into advanced movements before you master the basics one. That’s why we have progressive movement to train your body step by step from stage to stage.
#3 — Functional movements
I think you notice already that I’m using the word movement a lot, very frequently. Yes, because that’s exactly what bodyweight training is. It’s body movement, you’re moving your body in it’s natural way with the resistance of your own bodyweight.
Since it’s your own body movement, it’s more functional when to apply it to your daily life. Let’s imagine this, you squat, you push and pull, that’s all the basic movements you’re performing in your daily life. Now, what about biceps curl? Do you perform this movement in your daily life?
#4 — Do it anywhere anytime
Again, bodyweight training requires very little equipment. In some case, you will need just a pull-up bar or parallel bar (for dips). Since you’re training with your own bodyweight, you can access it anywhere at anytime.
What’s good about it? NOTHING! Because you can’t have any excuse anymore. Yes, for those who always look for excuses to make an impeccable change in their life, there is nothing good with this. But for most of us, it’s super cool and convenient.
You don’t have to stuck in the traffic jam to head to the gym. And it saves a lot of time on unnecessary activities such as travelling. No waiting for equipment.
Now you might have 2 questions about this.
Bodyweight? It’s for girls / old man / or anyone else because it’s not cool at all! You can’t get the muscle mass you want from bodyweight training, right?
Alright, definitely understand this. I have the same thought before I start training with my body weight too. But let imagine, have you seen the statue of ancient strongman and athlete before gym even exists. How they train their body? Yes, they train their body with bodyweight. Of course, they do lift stones and heavy objects sometimes but their main training will be with their own weight.
Not agreed? Alright, let’s don’t argue at this, for now, try to search for the word “calisthenics” on YouTube. Got it now?
Cool! Now you might have the second question.
But how am I going to start? Isn’t bodyweight workout are just an extra exercise to add into your weightlifting routine?
No! You definitely can train with your own bodyweight. There are so many bodyweight movements we can do to train our body, but what should you do? And how you can make them into a routine?
I’m going to continue this article with the 6 core movements of bodyweight training.