Reasons to train with your body weight
If you think that your own body weight is not enough for a good strength training to progress… You don’t know how wrong you are!
Are you one of those who believe that in order to improve, it is essential to “move” many kilos? That’s because you still haven’t learned about the many benefits that training with autoloads can bring you.
We are all different, with a unique strength, unique weaknesses and unique goals. “There is no perfect way to train. There is no “best” method or perfect tool. There are simply different methods… and ways to execute them. If you’re like me, the bar, the dumbbells and the kettlebell draw most of your workouts, but these are just means to an end. However, sometimes I decide to make a big change in my routines and introduce workouts only with my body weight. The result? I feel more athletic, healthier, with less joint stress and fewer overuse injuries.
GREATER VARIETY FOR ADVANCED SUBJECTS
The older your “training age”, the slower your adaptations will be. That’s the way it is, we must accept it. If the basic linear overload were always the same, we would all be doing squat with 1,000 kilos after two years under the bar.
Instead of obsessing over the same squat, bench press, dead weight and basic loads you’ve been doing all your life, make changes. Start adding one-legged progressions, dominated progressions, and advanced push ups, such as the “POP” push ups.
This is just one example of the “variety” I propose, the “Pop” push ups are an excellent explosive movement for your upper body for better nervous system function and to build explosiveness and power. Try them at the beginning of your session before the heavy press exercise of the day. Try 3×5 (3 sets of 5 repetitions) with 60-90 seconds rest.
The idea is simple, place a medicine ball between your arms and just below your chest, perform an explosive push up to take off the ground and land both arms on the ball and as extended as possible.
By incorporating variety you will have the possibility of encouraging progression. Don’t limit your results for the simple fact of getting used to a type of stimulus, especially if you are advanced and, day after day, you submit to kilos and kilos in the same exercises. Make a “break”, change the stimulus to your body and mind, tackle tasks with your body that refresh your planes, work angles, your explosiveness… and, above all, that force you to remember that a true athlete controls his body to perfection, that your body can be your best bar.
Ah…and you’ll see when, after a while working like this, you come back to raise irons. You will feel pleasant changes.
BEST ATHLETIC CONDITION
If you practice any sport I don’t have to tell you that the speed and efficiency in which you move is what determines your success, whether sprinting, jumping or moving and rotating through your hips. If you only go to the gym with “health and silhouette” goals let me point out that improving your athletic condition will speed up your process and your results.
We are at a time when Olympic power lifts and building maximum strength are “the menu of the day”. Absolute strength is very important (the one who writes to you is a fervent advocate), however, for athletes the most important factor will be to keep moving effectively with sufficient relative strength.
Training using only your body weight is ideal for building relative strength because each exercise is limited by the ability to move, control and stabilize your body through space. Maximum strength is still vital, but incorporating movements with your body weight such as sprints, jumps, skips and basic squats and push ups is essential for athletic performance.
One of the examples is the following exercise, the hops or jumps followed and controlled (with or without fences).
Instead of performing a movement for the umpteenth time, you reinforce space-time, coordination, speed, stability and mobility as you move your body.
Perform consecutive jumps with good control, over hurdles or not, emphasizing deceleration and braking to control your body.
LESS STRESS ON YOUR JOINTS
Another great advantage of this type of training is to prevent injuries. Bar and dumbbell exercises may be the backbone of most good training programs, but too much of a good thing is exactly that: too much. Specifically, overloading the same movement patterns for years is a safe way to “wear down” your joints, especially if there are technical deficiencies.
Training with your body weight provides a different mechanical overload, while reducing the stress on the joints.
I’m not saying put an end to big, beneficial lifts – nothing could be further from my intention. Instead, incorporate more movements with just your body weight as squat to one leg a couple of times a week.
IMPROVES MOBILITY AND STABILITY IN YOUR BIG LIFTS
Most exercises with your body weight require a stability and mobility that is often neglected in the most popular training methods. These exercises performed with only your body weight recruit small, often forgotten muscles to light up and stabilise your body in the way it is supposed to work.
Incorporate this type of bodywork for a while and experience how your big lifts (squat, dead weight, bench press…) explode once you return to them, with greater awareness and kinesthetic support, i.e. how you perceive movement.
BUILDS MORE FORCE FROM THE “REAL WORLD.”
I have seen people lift more than 100 kilos in bench presses who, however, were not able to perform a single push up properly. If you want to be a “beast”, if you want to reach heights that you didn’t think about training, you must be able to control your own body safely and efficiently. Your body is great at compensating for hidden weaknesses, especially with the same movement patterns.
So instead of bombarding the bar again, create overloads in your exercises with just your body weight. These exercises will provide mobility and stability challenges simultaneously with the primary movements and stabilizers already in place. The end result is a body that is able to move in the real world, not just in the cage and on the bench.