The moment one thinks of building muscle, the mind immediately conjures up images of dumbbells and sleek, shiny machines. You imagine bulked up guys grunting and lifting weights at the gym and it all seems like too much effort. But don't discount the benefits of bodyweight training as it is a very powerful weapon to have in your arsenal of exercises.
Generally, men above 40 just do not have time to spend hours at the gym sculpting their bodies. They have careers and family commitments that take up all their time. Not to mention the gym membership fees that can get costly and can always be put to better use for some household expenses or to take the wife out.
The truth of the matter is that it’s definitely possible to get muscular and lean with bodyweight training alone. Just look at the men in the military. Most of their time is spent doing countless push-ups and other bodyweight exercises. The same applies to gymnasts, martial artists and many other athletes.
There are plenty of benefits that come with bodyweight training. I’m going to list some of the best ones that will make you understand just how effective and potent these exercises are.
For starters, you can do them anywhere. You do not need a gym. You can do them in the privacy of your own home. In fact, if you’re hard pressed for time, you can even do them in your office at work. Push-ups, squats, burpees, lunges, mountain climbers and many bodyweight exercises require very little space. After all, you’re only taking up as much space as your body requires.
You can’t find such flexibility with other training methods. Weight training will require equipment. Swimming will require a pool and sprinting requires a track. Bodyweight training brings you back to the basics… and you only need yourself. It’s fantastic.
There are many men who are extremely muscular and can lift heavy weights. Yet, if you ask them to do a V-sit or a planche push-up, most will struggle. The reason for this is that some bodyweight training exercises target muscles in the body that are often neglected.
By using bodyweight training in your workout regimen, you will be working muscles that you didn’t even know you had. Your training will be well-rounded and you’ll be fitter.
As one ages, it’s inevitable to feel a certain loss of range of motion. You feel stiffer. Your joints ache and creak more. This is especially true for the knees. Men above 40 often will not be able to do high impact exercises because their joints just can’t handle the jerking and bouncy movements.
This will reduce your training options. You may not be able to run because your knees hurt. You wouldn’t even dare to think about sports such as CrossFit or boxing. You need a method of training that will strengthen your body, retain and build muscle and also work your cardiovascular system.
Bodyweight training does just that. You’ll be using your bodyweight as resistance. You can do the exercises in a slow and controlled manner and in fact, this is even more difficult than doing them fast. You’ll feel your muscle fibers screaming when you do these exercises slowly. They’re that powerful.
Excellent question. There are hundreds of exercises out there and you can easily Google them or look them up on YouTube. Below, you’ll find a list of the best and most common bodyweight training exercises.
I chose them because they’re highly effective and target most of the major muscle groups. Just by doing them for a few minutes, you’ll be working your muscles. Do note that if you do bodyweight exercises rapidly and for about 7 to 10 minutes, your workout will also be cardio in nature. So you’ll get the best of both worlds.
This is probably the most famous upper body exercise in the world. It’s an excellent exercise for working your triceps, chest and shoulders. To a certain extent, your core muscles will get a workout too.
To do a push-up, you’ll place your palms and knees on the ground like you’re in a crawling position. Next, lift up your knees so that your weight rests on your palms and the balls of your feet.
Bend your arms and lower your body till your nose is about to touch the floor and then push back up and straighten your arms. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise. Do as many reps as you can.
This is the benchmark of upper body strength and it’s much more difficult than push-ups. You will need a pull-up bar. So, you either have one installed in your door frame at home or you’ll need to find a place with a pull-up bar.
To do a pull-up, stand below the bar and reach out and grab it with both arms. Bend your knees and hang off the bar. Now bend your elbows and pull yourself up till your chin is above the bar. Then lower yourself back down into hanging position. Do as many reps as you can.
If you grab the bar with your palms under the bar, you’ll work your biceps. Many people find this easier. If you grab the bar with your palms above it, you’ll work your triceps and this may seem more difficult.
This is a fantastic exercise for your legs that will work your quadriceps and gluteus muscles. It’s a simple exercise to execute but when done repeatedly will have your legs quivering in exhaustion.
To do it, just stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Now, bend your knees and lower your butt till it’s in line with your knees. Basically, you’re aiming for a 90-degree angle between your calves and thighs. Once you do this, straighten your knees and stand up. Repeat as many times as you can.
Planks are great for targeting your core muscles. There are several different types of planks such as the side plank, shoulder tap planks, etc.
We’ll start with the basic plank. All you need to do is kneel on the floor. Now you’ll place your forearms on the floor and they should be parallel to your chest. Next, you’ll need to raise your knees off the floor.
You’ll now be balancing on your forearms and toes. Keep your core tight and hold this position for as long as you possibly can. If your body starts shaking, don’t panic. It’s normal and your core is getting a great workout.
To conclude, now you know just how effective bodyweight training is… and it’s easy on your wallet. Even if you’re used to training with weights and prefer those exercises, do incorporate at least a few bodyweight training exercises in your routine to change things up.
If you’re ever short of time or you’re stuck in a hotel that has no gym, bodyweight training will always be there for you. Do them enough and you will be strong, tough and have a sculpted body regardless of what age you are. It doesn’t get better than this.