I love training with weights. Kettlebells in particular. The heavier the weight and the less reps the better! 😉 (1 – 3 reps is my absolute favorite! HA!)
But, I also love training bodyweight. It’s so so hard, but it’s so awesome! Now, I realize that many people hate bodyweight exercises because they aren’t good at them. If this is you…here are some good reasons why you should do it!
Get HELLA strong! Controlling your body weight can make you (and your core) hella strong. Proper bodyweight movements can also be much harder than picking up a weight in many cases. It’s pure pound-for-pound strength. Yes, bodyweight training = strength training! And so many bodyweight movements transfer very well to weighted movements. They will make your barbell and kettlebell movements that much stronger. For example, a single arm push-up or plank hold can help strengthen your single arm overhead press. Bodyweight movements demand a very strong core…push-ups, pull-ups, pistol squats, handstands, etc! You owe it to yourself to master some version of these bodyweight movements. It can really help guard you against injury and ensure that you keep correct form and tension under a load. Speaking of tension…
Bodyweight training teaches you how to use tension. Training bodyweight movements like push-ups or pull-ups teaches you how to link your entire body. These two movements in particular require that you move/hold as one unit, which means you have to stay tight and you must learn how to properly engage your core. All of this gives you fantastic body awareness that you will find very useful when you go to pick up a barbell because you’ve already been training yourself to use tension without a load. (Did I mention that tension will help you create a strong core?)
Bodyweight movements will help keep your mobility in check. A parallel squat requires good mobility, but a pistol squat takes that to a new level. Just ask my ankles and calves. There’s nowhere to hide those little things when training bodyweight, so you might find yourself spending some extra time on mobility – and that’s not a bad thing. Again, it’s just going to make your movement better and will help you get that much stronger overall. (Below…Master this feet and knees squat before you move to the next progression with the box because it’s gonna come back up and look something like this.)
You can keep progressing…forever. There are so many regressions and progressions for many bodyweight movements. A good example is the handstand, which we are currently working on. Most of our members are working on L-stands or holding a wall facing handstand. We are starting here so members get practice really engaging their core. It’s a requirement for both and a huge part of attaining a proper freestanding handstand. Now, this doesn’t mean everyone will be doing handstands by the end of 6 weeks…but their core and confidence is going to be strong and their practice of this one movement could continue for so very long before it its fully mastered. (Another good example is the dragonflag!)
I think t’s important to train using different modalities…heck, use them all…barbells, kettlebells, bodyweight! There’s really a place for all of them. And do some things you’re good at because that’s fun (I mean, I get that!), but do some things that challenge you too and know that you’ll come out stronger mentally and physically because of it.
Carry on bodyweight ninjas!