Here we will cover all about how to do Bodyweight Exercises which is the latest trend in fitness.
This page also explains the history and the benefits while also describing the body weight strength training exercises and workouts you do in this program.
In one form or another, these kinds of workouts have been used since the beginning of our self awareness and need to move and stretch, and to develop strength for our very survival as a species.
Bodyweight exercises are perfect for anyone engaging in traditional martial arts or MMA.
In fact, a really good martial arts dojo will incorporate a series of single or partner bodyweight exercises during the class.
By attending a class, you will see martial artists doing the following:
• Rope skipping
• Handstand pushups
• Wheel Barrows with a partner
• Fireman carry and fireman squat with partner
• Bridging on the head to develop neck muscles
• Shrimping, which is an escape move but develops the abs as well
• Group bodyweight exercise like bear crawling around 20 people
There are so many more exercises that can mentioned, however a clear picture should be forming in your mind.
Bodyweight exercises are fun and more efficient than weight training.
First lets have a look at the origins of this 'new' fitness trend.
Imagine 15,000 years ago; prior to mankind discovering how to grow crops…you see a group of hunters getting ready.
They are checking their spears, bows and perhaps even slings. It will be a long hunt, maybe one or more days.
They need to kill many animals to feed their tribe and have furs for warmth and animal fat for their lamps.
While you are getting a picture of this in your mind, ask yourself what else might they be doing?
There is a good chance they may be wrestling or doing some form of combat training.
The world is a dangerous place, with vicious animals and other tribes looking to conquer them.
Can you see them stretching their bodies, making the muscles work before they enter a circle of rocks to begin a match?
Hunters of the old days, mimicked the animals they came across. Animals in the wild such as the big cats and gorilla’s do bodyweight and stretching exercises to stay limber and fit.
As mankind grew older and wiser, they looked at animals in fights and how each animal used its body to defeat a foe.
It is said that the martial art of Kung Fu came out of India and that the monks of India would watch something like a Praying Mantis and see how it defeated other insects.
They based Kung Fu on animal exercises and battle styles. The art then traveled to China, where it became famous.
By the time the Greeks held the very first Olympics around 776 BC, they had finely tuned their bodyweight exercises and fighting style called Pankration.
In Pankration, participants combined wrestling and boxing…not what we refer to as the Marquess of Queensbury type of boxing.
The only rules were that you could not bite or eye gouge. Striking of any kind was allowed, such as kicks or even elbows.
Matches were long and hard, so the participants had to be in great shape.
There was a wide variety of exercises to use, everything from push-ups, rope climbing to various types of club swinging.
With the club swinging, it varied from country to country.
The Persians were well known for using a Meel. This was a cross between a mace and a club.
The club swinging had two functions. In battle, warriors would be using a form of club to injure or kill the enemy.
During exercise and practice, the club or Meel would be swung in different arcs to fully exercise the shoulders and arm muscles.
This would aid in flexibility and overall power. Today, club swinging is making a comeback.
People who are using Kettlebells are also putting club swinging into their workout plan.
There are a wide variety of clubs that can be purchased. Most look like an oversized bowling ball pin.
Bodyweight exercises would be exchanged, copied and improved upon in the different countries of the ancient world.
In the modern world today, many people are turning back to the ancient way of eating and exercise.
One of the main reasons for people to switch from exercise equipment like dumbbells…to bodyweight exercise, is the injury factor.
Using free weights can lead to injuries in various ways.
To build up the chest muscles, a person in the gym may try the bench press with free weights.
It is also best to have a spotter, someone to control the weight if the lifter is unable to complete the lift.
However time and time again, spotters get distracted or fail to control the weight.
Major injuries occur, such as damaged throats, teeth or even rotator cuffs, as the weight comes down far too quickly.
Even using the type of gym equipment like a shoulder press compound exercise machine, can result in injury.
When pressing the weight upwards, if the setting is too high, many lifters tend to arch their backs and continue to push to accomplish the lift. This can lead to severe muscle strain.
As well, people who have office jobs and tend to hunch over their computers are more apt to injure themselves on this sitting or standing type of machine.
This is due to the condition the back muscles are in, being rounded rather than fully extended and supple.
A recent study showed that most gyms injuries occur on a treadmill and we all know how the gym promotes the use of treadmills.
They are exceptionally dangerous machines and should be taken out of any exercise routine.
Injuries occur from wrong foot placement to attempting to drink while running, which in some cases, causes the person to fall off the machine completely.
Failure to perform exercises correctly at the gym can cause a whole host of problems.
For example a common problem that occurs is joint or cartilage damage.
Allowing a free weight to bounce without controlling it or over extending in something like a bicep curl will eventually cause injury, short term to sometimes a permanent one.
You will note that if you are in a gym, there are two types of machines, one for compound exercises and one for isolation.
Training with isolation machines does not help with functional strength.
While bodybuilders may look huge and strong, a person who is highly versed in bodyweight exercises will be stronger, without all the bulky muscles.
Bodyweight exercises are compound exercises.
Think of all the varieties of push-ups available to you, from regular to diamond…all of them work your shoulders, chest, arms, legs and ab muscles.
Bodyweight exercises have much more variation, so you do not get bored
If you researched it out and by doing them, you are building stronger, leaner, functional muscle.
Case Study Looking At Real Wrestlers Prior To Television:
While you may doubt that last sentence, take some time to go back through history and look at the strong men of the 19th century.
You can check the history of the Great Gama of India, who wrestled in over 5000 real matches.
He did thousands of push-ups, squats and club swinging every day.
Strong men like Farmer Burns would travel around the United States doing challenge matches for money.
In between matches, he would do stunts at carnivals and fairs…like being dropped in a hangman’s noose. It is a six foot drop and would snap a normal man’s neck.
Farmer Burns was a master of bodyweight exercises and in do so, had developed his legendary neck muscles.
He reportedly had a 20 inch neck and would allow the noose to be placed around his neck, then flex the neck muscles as the trap door opened, dropping him six feet below.
Yes, wrestling in those days was real, not what you see on television these days.
All the top wrestlers from around the world, engaged in bodyweight exercises and special breathing exercises to develop abs of steel.
Farmer Burns developed a mail order training package.
This package came in three separate issues and taught the young men who bought it, the value of bodyweight conditioning and having a clean mind and body.
When you look at the UFC or related MMA organizations, you will see the occasional fighter who is really huge.
It is apparent from the shape of their bodies, that they have been training on machines.
Typically these fighters suffer from exhaustion when the fight goes into later rounds. Their huge muscles become starved for oxygen.
Bodyweight exercise can be really beneficial for sports like tennis, where you are constantly squatting, and lunging after a tennis ball.
Team sports like football, basketball and rugby should incorporate bodyweight exercise.
All these sports require great lungs and functional muscles.
Yes, bodyweight exercises also build amazing cardio.
For instance one special bodyweight exercise, commonly referred to as a Hindu Squat, will give you an overall body workout while leaving you gasping for breathe.
The reason that Hindu squats are the King of squats is this little fact.
You incorporate lots of arm motion during the squat.
Starting out the Hindu squat, you hold your arms out in front of your body.
Get a clear mental picture of rowing a large boat, so that when you go down into the squat, you starting rowing your arms.
It is important in this squat, that as you are about halfway down, you raise your heels.
Many people cannot perform more than 20 Hindu squats the first time out and they are left breathless.
Do some thought and see if you can find an exercise on a gym machine, that will work all this:
• Your abs
• Your thighs
• Your calves
• Your ankles
• Your shoulders and arms
• All your butt muscles…those 3 major butt muscles help support your back.
• Your cardio/lungs in a big way
So now that you can see how bodyweight exercises can help build strong functional muscles, let’s go over some off the other benefits.
Bodyweight exercises will reduce your stress levels…you exercise and you smile.
Seriously some of the bodyweight exercises will have you smiling and laughing.
Trying skipping down the road while swinging your arms or doing shadow boxing while bouncing on a rebounder. You will smile!
In reality, you do not need any equipment for bodyweight exercise unless you are doing pull ups or chin ups.
Basic bodyweight exercises also require very little room.
That’s one reason why bodyweight exercises are perfect for people who travel and stay in hotels.
There is no need to go down to the hotel gym unless you want to and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
So no matter if you are at home or in a hotel, all you need is enough space to get on the floor and stretch out your body to its fullest.
You can start with regular push-ups and then change hand positions to make them more difficult.
Go from regular hand position which is about a foot apart, to a two foot gap between your hands.
Once you become used to doing fifty good pushups in these positions, then you can move on to advanced like placing your hands closer to your head, rather than parallel to your chest.
So what is a good pushup? It is recommended that you bring your body to half an inch from the floor and hold, then push-up to full height…hold and then slowly lower your body to half an inch from the ground.
By forcing yourself to come within half an inch to the ground, rather than just plopping on the ground like some people do…you are working your muscles by forcing them to control your bodyweight.
Now that you have done your pushups, move onto squats. Again, very little room is needed for squats.
As with the pushups, you can vary the distance between your feet, to help work the leg and butt muscles.
Once you are proficient with regular squats, move on to Hindu squats.
Here, you place your feet about a foot apart and hold your arms straight out in front of your body. As you start to go down, two things happen.
You raise your heels and start a rowing motion with your arms.
This rowing motion works your arms; however the extra benefit is cardio.
With Hindu squats, you are working your muscles and your lungs to build up your cardio.
Now if you have any trouble figuring out exactly how to do a Hindu squat, you can view them on Youtube.
Let’s head back to the hotel for a moment. After you have done the body weight exercises in your room, why not head down to the hotel pool?
Before you start doing laps or the dog paddle, you should do some body weight exercises in the pool. The water adds resistance to your movements.
Even if you have never taken martial arts, you most likely have seen a martial arts movie or even the UFC.
So try standing in the pool, in water over your waist. Hold on to the side of the pool if you need help with your balance.
For starting out, all we are going to do is a front kick. You simply lift your right leg up while bending at the knee and then flick the leg out straight.
Right away, you will notice how much resistance the water gives you.
Do ten of these on each leg and try a few squats, going down in the water up to your chin.
You can mix up the type of kicks and if you are a good swimmer..move into water that is at shoulder height and start throwing punches straight out.
Throwing jabs in the water will soon have you breathing heavy. Play with these exercises and you will stay fit without getting bored.
There are many types of bodyweight exercises that a person can do. Each exercise can be modified as competence grows.
The most basic of the bodyweight group is push-ups.
Once you are able to do 25-50 push-ups in a row, you can then move on to different types.
This helps with building functional body strength and also alleviates boredom. Once you are ready, try this type of push-up.
Place your hands on the floor, with the index fingers and the thumbs touching.
The space in-between your hands should be a kind of a pear shape.
As you lower and raise your body, the chest is centered over the pear shape.
Push-ups can be done with the arms extended straight out as if you are standing with your hands over your head.
You will really feel the muscles in your shoulders working and your body will only be coming a few inches off the floor, which is quite different than a regular push-up.
Squats are a great bodyweight exercise. After you are able to perform regular squats with ease, you are ready to move on to Hindu squats.
With Hindu squats, you are not only going to be working your muscles, you will get a cardio workout as well.
Start with your feet approximately one foot apart. Hold your hands straight out in front and then close your hands as if you are holding oars and going to row a boat.
This is the actual motion, you will be doing. As you begin to go down in the squat, rotate your arms, like rowing and raise your heels slowly off the ground.
Breathing in, come down and then start to go back up, lowering your heels to the ground, breathing out and continuing the rowing motion with your arms.
Start small, at 10 in a row and build up to 50.
At 50 Hindu squats you’ll really notice the difference in your legs, glutes and your breathing.
After major advancement in Hindu’s, you can start to amaze your friends with one legged squats.
This advanced squat uses so many muscles in from your core, right down through the glutes and legs.
Chin-ups are a great shoulder, chest and arm workout. After being able to complete the basic chin-up, with your hands one foot apart, you can then go to wide grip chin-ups and then to the legendary one handed chin-up.
You need to include hill sprints in the bodyweight exercise group.
You should have good shoes and actually if you can, wear army boots.
Army boots are built for long distance runs and jogs and give great ankle support.
You try slogging through the mud with an eighty pound sack on your back, wearing sport sneakers. It won’t take long before you are down with an injury.
It’s best to do hill sprints on earth, rather than grass surfaces, to reduce the amount of slippage.
Depending on where you live, you may have to go to the local school park or if you are lucky, on a hiking trail.
For advanced hill sprints, wear a small pack with some weights in there, to increase the difficulty.
The cardio from this exercise is amazing and you should be using your arms in a pumping motion to increase cardio and balance.
The hill sprints will add inches to your leg muscles in no time.
One famed kickboxer added two inches of muscles to his legs, just from doing sets of hill sprints.
These are three of the best bodyweight exercises you can do, for all over fitness.
Imagine how great you will feel, not having to pay gym memberships, while exercising in the comfort of your own home and in the local park.
In doing pull-ups, you only need to find a very sturdy bar to hold onto. It doesn’t have to be a bar that you purchased and installed in your house.
But there are some very solid models that you can hook over a door that you can get home delivered from amazon that I'll feature below for you.
The local playground has many types of play equipment that you can use for a pull-up. It’s best to hit that area early in the morning before the kids arrive.
Wearing gloves is optional however for any beam that is wooden or has rough metal finish, definitely wear gloves.
Pull-ups are like push-ups in that changing the position of your hands, works different muscles.
At first, pull-ups like headstand push-ups are hard to do.
You may not need a partner to give you a lift; however you can certainly use a chair so that your feet are able to quickly touch a solid surface.
Now if you are totally new to pull-ups and feel that your strength is not where it needs to be, start with chin-ups.
Do one if that is all you can do and then break and do another one.
Don’t get frustrated. Your reward is down the road but you have to put in the work first.
Starting out, do not hang straight down with your toes pointed at the ground. This puts a lot of stress on your shoulder muscles and tendons.
Get a bend in your elbows and try to lock your shoulders in. With each pull-up always keep a slight bend in your arms.
It’s the same thing with bicep curls, when you allow the weight to go all the way out and your elbow are straight, you are in danger of over flexing your elbow joint and doing damage.
When you are doing pull-ups for strength, do low reps, perhaps 3-6 and then rest.
Looking at endurance, you would be doing approximately 18-20 reps.
Never do pull-ups until you feel muscle failure. In doing pull-ups, you want to maintain form for best strength and endurance.
When you start jerking and bucking in order to try and squeeze out one more rep, you have lost form and are not engaging your muscles properly.
There are a few things you can add into your pull-ups.
First of all, if you are really struggling with pull-ups, invest in rubber bands.
You can attach the band to the centre of your pull-up bar and then grab a chair.
Insert your right knee into the band and then grip the bar and start the pull-up.
Keep your knees close together and the band will help pull you up.
As your knee is in the band, you have your legs curled so the band stays on.
When you get really good at pull-ups and are able to do them with a variety of hand positions, you may consider adding a weight vest to your workout.
This will make your muscles work harder to build strength. As well, your hand grip is something that you will want to work on.
You can use special rubber balls or purchase a gripper that you squeeze.
Working on the muscles in the forearm is also a good idea.
Get one small weight about five pounds and attached a rope that is tied to a small piece of wooden doweling.
You hold the doweling so that the weight is touching the floor and then slowly begin to twist/roll the weight up, wrapping the rope around the doweling and then work it the opposite direction.
Having a really strong grip and forearms will not only help you with your pull-ups, it is also essential for certain martial arts like judo.
When you are able to grab your opponent’s gi in a vise grip, you can maneuver them into better positioning for submissions.
There are a lot of benefits to pull-ups; massive strength and endurance are really going to assistance in all your other bodyweight exercises.
Okay maybe fun is a word that people will not use while doing these exercises.
However if you are a follower of Tony Robbins, then you will understand the concept.
Depression for the most part is something we create in ourselves.
So how do you get rid of the blues?
Well one way is to go outside and get some fresh air.
Breathe it in nice and deep.
Well since we are outside, why not do some bodyweight exercises?
These two exercises coming up will not only work wonders on your body, it will put a smile on the faces of anyone who happens to see you doing them.
We are going to find a nice flat patch of grass to work on for starters.
It’s recommended when exercising outdoors, that you wear a pair of weightlifting gloves or something similar.
This is to protect your hands from any unseen bits of glass, sharp rocks or even dog poo.
Start out with the burpee.
Now when you do burpee’s, you normally talk to yourself, counting out reps or in some cases, affirmations.
All great but what if you are having a tough day?
Well try this. When you do the jumping portion, you yell out something like, “Yee Hah!”
It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and whip those blues into submission.
So here we go, squat down and put your hands on the grass in front of you, then kick your legs out backwards so you are in a basic pushup position.
Then kick your feet forward til you are in the squatting position and from here…jump up in the air thrusting your hands up and over your head.
Screaming something out loud here is optional?
Start out with about twenty of these and work your way up, increasing by five each time you try them.
Next up, bear crawls. Now bear crawls for beginners should be on flat ground.
After you get good at them, you can find a slight hill to add some resistance.
Bear crawls are easy to get into, just not that easy to actually do for a minute.
You are squatting down, then put your hands out in front of you on the ground.
Slowly move your feet backwards until you have some distance between the two and picture in your mind, that you are a great big grizzly bear, very hungry for some fresh salmon in the river. Start running on all fours.
Caution here, go very slowly til you get the hang of these. Walk at first on all fours if you need to.
This body weight exercise is one of the most difficult to do but produces great overall workouts.
You are working all your limbs, your abs and building cardio at the same time.
Once you have become very good at regular bear crawls, try doing them going up a hill.
Never ever do them going down a hill, same as you should never run down hills. The chance of injury is pretty good if you ignore this advice.
Well the truth is, you will lose some weight but if you really want to drop that spare tire, you’ll need to do something about that cheeseburger habit.
Incorporating bodyweight exercises with the Paleo eating system or a six small meals a day plan, or a Raw Food Diet will have you dropping the pounds.
Notice the word diet, was not used here. Look at the first three letters of the word diet=die. Not a pretty picture.
Also the word diet conjures up some pretty ugly thoughts, like starvation, sacrifice and loss of enjoyment.
In reality, in order to lose weight, you just need to adjust what you eat and how you eat.
Pick something that you can work with, not something that you will struggle with and give up in a couple of weeks.
For the sake of argument, let’s look at a six meal a day plan. You won’t be hungry.
That must sound good to you. In the morning, you have a light breakfast, something like a boiled egg and a slice of toast with organic peanut butter.
In order to trick your body into burning fat, you need to keep putting in fuel, so a couple hours later, you have some fruit for a snack. Burn baby, burn.
Lunch comes up, so you bake a nice piece of chicken or turkey breast and eat that with some raw veggies, like sliced peppers.
Make sure that you drink plenty of distilled water throughout the day and have a glass of water half an hour before the meal.
This will help fill up your stomach and by not drinking it at meal time, you won’t inter with the stomach juices trying to break down your food.
If at all possible, do not drink anything with your meals. It dilutes the gastric juices.
Okay, so now we are up to another snack time. Here we want to get some nuts and seeds into the mix.
Notice we are running each meal/snack intake about 2-3 hours apart.
When we come up to the supper plan, it is either more chicken/turkey breast or a piece of fish.
Make a nice mixed salad and put in olive oil, sesame oil, chopped ginger and pepper for flavor.
Stay away from the salad dressings; they are full of fat and other undesirable elements.
Last snack before bed, try to avoid fruit. Fruit is processed in the lower intestine, not the stomach, so the glucose which is converted to energy, gets into your bloodstream faster.
You don’t want energy before you go to bed. Try to stick with some raw veggies to munch on or if you have to, eat one of the rice cakes.
Just be sure to check all the ingredients before you purchase those, you do not want a bunch of sodium or other elements that are going to interfere with your workout and weight loss program.
Water…distilled or alkaline water is what your body is screaming for. We are made of water, not Red Bull.
By doing bodyweight exercise and having a good stable meal plan worked out, you can finally have the sexy and healthy body you have always desired.
A lot of times, not being able to get fit to the point you want to achieve is the result of a lack of knowledge or understanding.
If this is the case, then you should take the time to begin researching the subject it is that you don’t know much about.
There is a lot of power and relief that comes from learning about various fitness topics. You’ll be surprised about how much a little research can help you with learning how to do bodyweight exercises.
You don't need a lot of equipment at the start when you learn how to do bodyweight exercises, but it does help if you get some resistance bands, a doorway pull up bar, and if you study some books and DVD's that illustrate clearly how to do bodyweight exercises in a safe way that maximizes your results for the effort you put into them.
So below here I'm featuring a range of the most popular bodyweight exercise equipment that can be home delivered when you order here online.
Below here I'm featuring more pages with helpful how-to-do-it tips on how to do bodyweight exercises.
Feel free to submit your own story or article about it, and I will create your own page here with your contribution for the community to read.
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Reasons You Should Do Bodyweight Exercises Versus Exercise Equipment
It’s a truth. No one likes to be injured. We have all suffered some kind of injury, usually by the time we can walk. As babies, we bang our heads on …
There are methods of training that are now coming back into focus. By watching mixed martial arts fighters train, you can see they don’t just use regular …
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