If you’re new to working out (or even if you’ve just watched a lot of movies), you might have an idea that the only way to really get strong is to lift heavy weights. You’ve gotta pump some iron to tone those muscles, right? Wrong! Bodyweight exercises can actually offer some of the best health and fitness benefits, and they should definitely play a role in any full body workout routine.
That’s correct, bulldoggers — the only thing you might really need to get your best ever workout is the weight of your own body.
So even though you look really cool lifting those big dumbbells with some throwback music playing in the background, you can say goodbye to heavy weights (unless you really like them, of course!).
We know you’re a brainy group, and you probably want to know why bodyweight exercises are so great. Don’t worry… we have the info to back it up!
First, let’s get clear on what we’re really talking about when we say “bodyweight exercises.” At the risk of oversimplifying things, they’re exactly what they sound like — a category of exercises that don’t require free weights or other weight machines and instead rely on the weight of your body alone to feel the burn.
Are you with us so far? Great.
Whether you know it or not, you’re probably already pretty familiar with a lot of the best bodyweight exercises out there. You might even incorporate them into your existing workout routine! According to Muscle & Fitness, squats, pull-ups, and push-ups are among the most beneficial bodyweight exercises in the game.
See? We’re talking basic moves here.
And according to the pros at the Mayo Clinic, your bod can benefit a lot from these basic bodyweight exercises — no extra equipment required! Bodyweight exercises give you the resistance you need to build muscle strength just as effectively as the workouts you might do with free weights or on a machine. Moves like lunges, crunches, and step-ups — in addition to the squats, pull-ups, and push-ups we mentioned earlier — can all work together to give you the full body workout you crave.
If you can make it happen, the Mayo Clinic recommends incorporating these kinds of strength training bodyweight exercises into your routine at least twice a week, though we’re big fans of the “once is better than never” philosophy over here. Start with 12 to 15 reps of any of the bodyweight exercises we’ve discussed here and work your way up from there.
Since you don’t need to spend extra money on equipment or even leave your house to practice bodyweight exercises, you’re really running out of workout excuses… which is another reason why bodyweight exercises are an ideal option.
If you already spend time hanging out with us in our Boulder studio, Main Line Studio, or in our bulldog online classes, the good news is that you’re probably already doing more bodyweight exercises than you realize! So many of the lunge and squat and ab sequences we do in our classes rely on bodyweight for resistance, so bulldoggers can consider themselves ahead of the game when it comes to bodyweight exercise. No matter how often you do yoga, if you’re doing it the fitness-fueled bulldog way, you’re building some serious strength.
The moral of the story?
Don’t assume that you can’t increase muscle strength without the help of free weights or a gym membership. Bodyweight exercises offer some of the best workouts, largely because they’re so darn accessible (just like bulldog yoga!). Put that beautiful bod of yours to work as the resistance you need to get even stronger! Trust us — it will help you look and feel your best.
Want to learn more about which bulldog yoga class can offer you the best range of bodyweight exercises? Check out our customized yoga class calculator!
Do you have a favorite bodyweight exercise? Tell us on Instagram (Boulder | Villanova) or over on our Boulder and Villanova Facebook pages!
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Featured image: bruce mars/Unsplash; Push-up image: Sam Owoyemi/Unsplash