It’s well established dumbbells and barbells are some of the best equipment to use. However bodyweight based exercises offer unique benefits over almost any other type of training and although not essential, I highly recommend it.
One of the reasons is they are known as closed chain exercises, this means the whole body is free to move. For example a very advanced closed chain exercise would be a freestanding handstand press up.
To perform this requires tremendous core and upper body strength otherwise one will simply fall over. Compare this to a seated dumbbell shoulder press and we really have no comparison. A standing barbell shoulder press is closer in its benefits as it engages a lot of core muscles to keep you stable.
However the difference with the handstand press up is it requires even higher activation of the core and upper body because you need to stabilize your whole body as it moves up and down through space.
All bodyweight exercises are closed chain and require more muscle activation and are more challenging than traditional weight training.
Not only this, but unlike other forms of training, bodyweight exercises can be advanced almost indefinitely to make them more challenging so they activate more muscles.
This simply can’t be done with other forms of training. For example pull ups can be turned into L-sit pull ups which require much more core activation, but also more back muscle strength as well.
With body-weight training you can also develop more skill, coordination and balance as you get better and if you persist develop phenomenal movement.
For example here I perform a muscle up, quite an advanced bodyweight exercise and then perform a forward roll, challenging more muscles, more coordination and skill.
I highly recommend bodyweight exercise. Not only is it great, but it requires minimal equipment if any.
Whenever you are training, always think if there is a bodyweight version you can do instead, if so, it’s probably best to do that option.
With the unique benefits of bodyweight exercise you’ll probably find it gives you faster and better results.
Whether you are a weekend warrior, beginner or high level athlete, bodyweight training can help you.
If you have ever seen gymnastics and those who use the olympic rings you will know what phenomenal shape they are in and that is because apart from the years of dedicated training. The olympic rings are one of the best pieces of equipment to develop strength and muscle as they challenge so many muscles. I therefore highly recommend them once you have a good base level of strength as they are quite an advanced piece of equipment.
Where to start?
Keep it simple and master the basics.
- Press ups
- Ring rows
As you master the basics push on to tougher exercises such as:
- Chin ups or pull ups
- Gymnastic ring press ups
- Hanging leg raises
Then you can move onto more advanced exercises such as:
- Muscle ups
- Rope climbs
- Dragon flags
- Gymnastic ring flys
- Pistol squats
If you master these you can go even further, working on things like:
- One arm chin ups
- Back levers
- Front levers
- Straddle planche
- Iron Cross
- Hollow back press
- Human flag
So are you going to try bodyweight training? Or if you already do what are you working on?