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Body weight Training – The Good the Bad and the Ugly

July 29th, 2016 | Fitness

Body weight training is an exercise where you use only your body and gravity to produce resistance (weight free). This form of training has been increasing in popularity, particularly with women wanting to avoid using weight so as not to ‘bulk up’ or get injured

These exercises are programmed and implemented with varying degrees of success.

The Good

Body weight training can pretty much be done anywhere and can be a very challenging way to workout.

Sets of strict Pull Ups are an awesome display of strength and can provide substantial aesthetic improvements. Walking lunges are a fantastic way to build and maintain balance through your hips. Bear crawls can be a great way to improve movement patterns and all round strength. Put them all together and you have yourself a workout.

The Bad

Often Bodyweight exercises are too easy…… or too hard.

Can you do a set of Press ups on your knees? Probably. Can you do a set of full press ups? Maybe. Can you do a set of handstand press ups?  Probably not.

The giant leaps in difficulty make consistent progress really difficult to maintain. Compare the Press up example to a bench press. Both movements target similar musculature however the intensity of the bench press can be incrementally increased over time to elicit long term improvements.

The Ugly

I’ve lost count of the amount of people (usually women in their 20s) who have bad shoulders and knees primarily from poorly programmed body weight workouts, usually championed by ’instagram sensations’. A typical session may look like this-

  • Squat jumps
  • Plyometric lunges
  • Press ups
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Planks

Repeat until you crumple up on the floor.

Sure, this will be tough and might actually help you get fitter, stronger and look better….. for a while…. until you break.

The problem with this sort of workout is it has no balance. It puts a huge amount of work through the front of the shoulder, chest, thighs and hips; all areas which get tight and overactive from modern life (desk posture), and not enough upper back and butt work (areas that become inhibited and weak from desk posture).

Over time everything gets worse and starts to cause pain. All of a sudden you have a nasty muscle imbalance which takes a lot of time and sometimes money to fix.

A good rule of thumb is, especially if you sit at a desk all day, is to do at least 50% more upper back and butt work than you do for your shoulders, chest and thighs.

Back Tain 2

Take Home

Body weight exercises can be great however weight training often is more varied and can be safer.

They require careful selection and proper programming.

Your training regime must have balance and address YOUR weaknesses in order for you to remain injury free and to continue progressing in the long run.

Don’t just do what someone else says they do on Instagram, they probably don’t and often shouldn’t.

To learn more about weight training, please contact any of the Gym team at Grace.