Bodyweight Is Back
Calisthenics have made a comeback in recent years due to their simplicity and effectiveness. After all, you don't need equipment to do them, not to mention that bodyweight training is a powerful and effective way to build muscle. But not everyone has embraced the calisthenics resurgence.
Many traditional gym folk have resisted bodyweight exercises for one simple reason: They suck at them. But if you fall into this category, you don't have to suck anymore! Here are five reasons to add more bodyweight exercises into your program, along with ways to identify and eradicate any weakness that may be holding you back from excelling at them.
1 – Your Body is an Awesome Barbell
Many of the all-time great bodybuilders used bodyweight exercises in their training regimens. But many of today's lifters are under the misimpression that any exercise that doesn't involve moving a ton of iron is automatically a waste of time.
Sure, you do need to lift something heavy in order to increase your strength, but that load doesn't always need to come from an external source. Your own bodyweight can offer plenty of resistance. Anyone who considers himself strong should be able to complete at least 30 full push-ups and 10 full pull-ups.
If you're unable to master those foundational movements, you owe it to yourself to give calisthenics a fair shake. Bodyweight training keeps you mobile, balanced, and honest about your real world, pound-for-pound strength.
2 – Bodyweight Exercise is a Great Body Fat Tester
It's easy to think you're getting stronger if your lifts are going up, even if your waistline is expanding right along with them. Increasing your body mass can improve your leverage to lift an external load, regardless of whether that mass is comprised of fat or muscle. With calisthenics training, however, any superfluous body weight you're carrying will decrease your leverage and make your exercises more difficult by creating additional resistance.
In other words, if your body fat percentage is greater than your max number of push-ups, you have a low strength to mass ratio, which is basically a more scientific way of saying that you're too fat. If this is the case for you, the only pie you should be eating is a big ol' slice of humble pie. Put your ego aside and devote yourself to improving the basics. It doesn't matter how much you can deadlift; if you can't do a single pull-up, you're not strong.
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