Your own body, plus gravity and a little help from the ground/floor, a bar (or solid, bar-like structure) and a maybe a sturdy chair/bench or similar raised surface add up to one of the most well-rounded and complete training gyms you’ll ever find. We often think we need complicated mechanical equipment and at least an assortment of weights to begin exercising in earnest. But as it turns out, we often make life and getting the exercise we need much more complicated than it needs to be. Indoors or outdoors, at home or at the office, in a park or at the beach, you can take bodyweight training wherever you want to go, with some knowledge and creativity.
What are bodyweight exercises? You likely started doing them as a child – pulling up onto a tree limb, squatting down to examine a worm in a puddle, showing off a handstand to your friends. In gym class, you probably learned push-ups, pull-ups, lunges and maybe even burpees (which are very similar to what we called ‘squat-thrusts’ when I was a kid and which you can find in multiple creative variations nowadays). Probably one of the most popular bodyweight exercises currently is the plank. Yoga, if you distill it down to a physical form only, is a also type of bodyweight exercise system.
Some of my clients, when first introduced to bodyweight training exercises, were skeptical that it would provide them with the kind of intensity and results they enjoy in traditional weight training. They quickly changed their minds. Higher repetition is the key. Try doing 40 squats, just you and your bodyweight (make sure you know how to do a proper squat first, please, or have been given a safe adaptation to suit where you are now in your abilities), and then observe how you feel. I am an advocate for doing whatever you love if it gets you moving and keeps you healthy. The more movement and exercise tools in your training toolbox, the better. One of the greatest benefits of bodyweight training is that it can be done anywhere, at anytime, plus it’s highly effective and, dare I say it, even fun!
All of the trainers at Our Place bring bodyweight exercises into the training mix, and we also offer a Bodyweight Class on Thursday evenings, 5:30-6:30, that is open to the public. Your first class is always free. Come give it a try, learn some new stuff, have fun, and be healthy!
By Liz Bragdon
Liz is a Yoga Instructor and Movement Educator at Our Place Studio, located at 338 N. Vermont Street in downtown Covington. (985) 875-1182
Learn more about Liz’s work at www.opcovington.com & www.move-with-me.com