Benefits of Body Weight Training

By: Pamela Olszyk, MS

Body weight training is becoming popular because there is never a reason to skip a workout.  There is no gym requirement; it can be done anywhere!  Body weight training will help improve health, fitness, and burn calories. It requires minimal equipment, convenient, and it caters to all levels of fitness.  The most common type of body weight training is high intensity interval training (HIIT).  It combines strength and aerobic exercise. 

Works Across All Levels of Fitness

Body weight training can help improve any level of fitness.  One great benefit is that you can start working out at any age. You can start with a simple exercise for a beginner or advanced training for someone who is elite.

Body weight training is a versatile workout.  It can be a combination of cardio and strength, or simply just one.  It allows our body to prevent movements from becoming routine to muscles.  This type of workout is an ongoing process.  Body weight workouts have proven to maintain a strong metabolism and stops weight from creeping up.

Core

Our core is the most important muscle class in our body.  It is made up of 35 different muscle groups: running from your chest to the top of your knees and all the way around your body.  The number one injury over time is back pain.  Strengthening your core will help alleviate back pain and improve posture.  The core is also known as our trunk.  Sit ups only work 2 muscle groups; changing your core exercise to planks, deadbugs, or even the boat pose will challenge all 35 muscles.  Planks, deadbugs, and the boat pose can be advanced or tamed down according to your fitness level.  They are also exercises that you can do anywhere and anytime.  Our core will also help enhance our flexibility and improve balance.

Calisthenics

Calisthenics is defined as exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement.  A recent article published in the New York Times showed that an 11 minute body weight workout can increase endurance by 7%.  The workout consisted of alternating 1 minute of calisthenics and 1 minute of walking.  There was no equipment needed and these exercises were performed consecutively not continuously.  They had pre and post testing of leg power and handgrip strength.  The exercises consisted of jumping jacks, burpees, high-knee running in place, split squat jumps, and squat jumps. 

An overall body weight exercise can be a great improvement to our overall health.  Especially since the pandemic has hit, this is a great way to achieve our fitness goals. It is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services to complete 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week.  Adding a body weight workout to your routine will achieve those goals.