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Benefits of Body Weight TrainingBenefits of Body Weight Training


Benefits of Body Weight Training

Strength training with body weight exercises, like squats, lunges, and push-ups, is regaining popularity due to its effectiveness and minimal need for equipment. Here are a few reasons body weight training may be a good fit for you.

It Is Effective

Similar to when you lift weights, workouts that use body weight for resistance challenge the muscles by causing tiny tears in the muscle tissue. The tissue responds by rebuilding itself to become stronger. In addition, body weight training involves compound movements that use multiple muscle groups to develop large muscles and the smaller muscles that support them. Body weight training is also ideal for fast-paced circuit workouts, which boost calorie burn for weight loss.

It Is Functional

A variety of exercises can improve strength and build muscle, but some do not translate well to the movements you do in daily life. Body weight training can be classified as functional fitness, meaning the movements are similar to the real-life activities you do outside of the gym. The exercises use the muscles you engage when standing out of a chair, squatting to pick up a heavy box, or carrying groceries.

It is Adaptable

Body weight exercises are adaptable for any fitness level. With a few simple adjustments, you can make standard moves easier or much more difficult. For example, you can start with shallow squats and then move to deeper squats as you gain strength. From there, incorporate jump squats and one-legged squats. For push-ups, start on your knees, then progress to a standard push-up on your toes. To increase the challenge, do wide-grip push-ups or one-armed push-ups.

It Saves Money

A body weight workout requires no gym membership and no investment in equipment. It is the least expensive form of resistance training you can find. Depending on the exercises you choose, an exercise mat may be helpful, but otherwise, you simply need a quality pair of athletic shoes to get started.

It Saves Time

There are several reasons a body weight workout saves you time. You don’t have to travel to a gym to do it. As long as you have some open space, most exercises can be completed in your living room. Whether you exercise in a gym or at home, there is no need to lug out and put away equipment or wait for others to finish using the pieces you need. The lack of equipment also helps you move quickly from exercise to exercise, which keeps your heart rate elevated for cardiovascular benefit and reduces your exercise time.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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