Okay, so you really don’t wanna pay for a gym membership because times are tough right now, but at the same time you really wanna lose some weight and impress that really pretty girl you see at the grocery store ever week. What do you do?
Now is your chance to implement bodyweight workouts.
Also known as calisthenics, bodyweight workouts have been gaining some popularity. The CrossFit movement, though a very interesting sport, is unhealthy and unsafe for your joints, but it has done a few really good things. The first is making squat and deadlift relevant again, and the second is to bring to light the power of quality bodyweight workouts.
If it weren’t for CrossFit then we would be seeing these sorts of movements in the mainstream nearly as much. I am not a fan of CrossFit as a way to healthy due to the over stressing of joints and muscles due to the breakdown of form as the athlete does the lifts, but the way it has brought bodyweight workouts in the light has been something really cool to see.
There is a special sense of pride in person doing something cool. It’s cool to go to the gym and be able to hit a new max on any lift, but it nothing compared to being able to perform an athletic movement that even the crazy strong guys can’t. Plus, it’s a totally different training modality. If you are stuck in a plateau, why not try something new?
Not only is it proven that you would get muscle gains just by doing a new style of training, but you also will be working in a more athletic and natural range of motion and doing more natural movements. You can argue that that is what weight lifting is supposed to simulate, but the thing is that it is still just a simulation of the normal way to move. Before the bench press, there was the push-up; before the lat pull down, there was the pull-up; and before the squat, there was squat jumps and climbing.
I’m not by any means downplaying going to the gym and weight lifting. I love that too. There is just something special about being able to move your own bodyweight in space as opposed to keeping your body still and moving the weight around you.
The beauty of bodyweight workouts is that they require very little to no equipment. In fact, every single muscle can be worked without the use of a single piece of equipment. There are ways to work the back muscles even without doing pull-ups, though that is like the top dog in bodyweight movements.
There are a ton of strictly bodyweight workouts that can be found online for free (I personally recommend the Recommended Routine on Reddit for newbies to bodyweight workouts), but really if you keep the same concept with bodyweight workouts as with weightlifting workouts then you will be just fine. By that I mean you really only need to do a workout focusing on the anterior portion of your lower body (such as squats), a workout for the anterior portion of the lower body (such as glute/ham raises), a push movement (such as a push-up variation), a pull movement (such as a pull-up), and then some core work, then you just completed your first workout!
There are plenty of sources out there to help you along in your fitness journey too. There are a ton of YouTube channels, websites, and even books that will be able to point you in the direction to go. A few of my favorite sources that I like to use is the Athlean X, Buff Dudes, MindPump Media, and Reddit’s Bodyweightfitness subreddit. All of which have corresponding YouTube channels that help depict the movements. The Recommended Routine was written and designed mainly by the guys at CalistenicMovement who run an incredible YouTube channel that is extremely informative and will be able to motivate even the least active person. The first three also have workout routines for purchase, both bodyweight and weight lifting.
The takeaway from all this is that, exercise isn’t the easiest thing to stick to. But once you get started, there are plenty of ways to beat plateaus and have fun while doing it. The concepts of working out fit for all modalities, bodyweight, weight lifting, power building, kettlebell, etc. Just do the movements that work best for you, and keep consistent. No matter how great of a workout plan someone has, nothing will out perform consistency. That is the number one element to living a healthy lifestyle.