Body-weight exercises are ones that use only your body weight as resistance. That means no dumbbells or fancy gym equipment are required — and you can knock out a workout wherever you are. That convenience factor is a major perk.
Body-weight exercises are great for boosting your fitness, metabolism, and endurance, according to the Mayo Clinic. And an article published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal found that using only body-weight moves during high-intensity circuit training is an efficient way to decrease body fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve maximal aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and muscular fitness. A small study published in Physiology & Behavior in October 2016 confirmed that muscle growth can happen even if external resistance isn’t applied. Depending on your current fitness level, your ability to build bulky muscles may be limited, says Rondel King, CSCS, a corrective exercise specialist and personal trainer in New York City.
“If you do body-weight exercises, you won’t necessarily develop large amounts of muscle tissue,” King says. Your bodyweight alone likely isn’t going to place enough stress on the body to fuel substantial muscle growth if you’re a regular exerciser already, he explains — but these exercises can go a long way toward building up strength for athletic activity, preventing injury, getting toned-looking muscles, and promoting healthy functioning for daily living.
Body-weight workouts are also a great starting point if you’re new to exercise. Body-weight exercises help you build an understanding of correct form and movement first, and get stronger in the process, explains CJ Hammond, a NASM-certified personal trainer with RSP Nutrition in Los Angeles. “Before one can start adding resistance with weights and bands, you must master body-weight movements.
You should gain control of your body and go through body-weight exercises and make sure you can do that without resistance before you start adding weight,” King says
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