The benefits of bodyweight training workouts are actually quite massive and profound! This post will seek to explore the motive behind working with bodyweight exercises to build strength and to build a great body.
First things first: the main goal of working out is progressive overload – to increase your strength. You can build strength with dumbbells, barbells, cables, rocks and yes – even your own bodyweight.
Some people are under the misconception that you can’t build a lot of muscle with bodyweight training. Surely, these guys haven’t hung out at Thompson Square Park in NYC or Santa Monica Beach.
Some of the best physiques I’ve seen in my life were built primarily from bodyweight training. Or, bodyweight training was at least a huge component.
If you work your way from assisted chin-ups to muscle ups (or heck, even one-arm chin-ups), well, dammit, your back and biceps will grow like crazy.
If you build your way up from regular push-ups to one-arm push-ups (or even feet-elevated one-arm push-ups), your chest, shoulders and triceps will explode!
So whether you work with external resistance or your own resistance, the same concept applies: Get stronger and your muscles will grow!
Now let’s explore the six primary benefits of training bodyweight style!
#1: Bodyweight Training is Great for Staying Injury-Free
Gym room injuries are very common and seem to be part of the game for most lifters. Whether it’s a nagging shoulder or a pinched lower back, it seems as though injuries run rampant in weight rooms.
But in the past, I would occasionally get injuries from lifting. Interestingly enough, bodyweight exercises were never the culprit. And even more interesting: if I had shoulder pain from benching, the same pain would be eliminated from doing push ups.
Bodyweight training really helps keep the body in proper position, and allows you to stay injury free and mobile! If you want to refresh and recharge your body, take a month off lifting and focus exclusively on bodyweight training.
The difference will be night and day! You’ll feel loose, light, powerful and injury-proofed.
#2: Bodyweight Training May Activate More Muscle
Here’s something very cool with bodyweight training: Bodyweight movements are entirely closed-chain exercises. When you perform a push up, your hands are fixed to the ground and your body moves freely through space.
Same with a pull-up and one-legged squat. Compare that to the bench press, lat pull-down and leg press, and you’ll notice that in these instances, your body is fixed and your hands move through space.
Well, interestingly enough, closed-chain movements (bodyweight movements) actually help activate more muscle, in addition to being easier on your joints.
This is why very few people get injured from push-ups compared to bench pressing! As well, one really cool bench press tip is to pretend to turn the bench press into a closed-chain movement.
Instead of trying to lift the barbell up over your chest, focus on driving your back into the bench. This little mental trick can help you activate more muscle and thus, lift more weight.
Will Closed Chain Movements Enhance Muscle Fiber Recruitment?
What’s also quite fascinating is this: everyone plateaus on bench press. There is no getting around the fact.
Some people even plateau on bench press before they even get to a decent level of strength. But interestingly enough, very few people plateau on weighted dips.
I remember being unable to budge past 300 lbs on bench press. Then I switched to a closed-chain exercise: weighted dips. Doing this, I was adding 5 pounds per workout with ease!
This carried on for several weeks, to the point that I went from 135-lb dips all the way up to 180-lb dips in only 8 weeks! That’s a 30+% increase in just two months!
Hell, I would have continued to build more strength if it wasn’t for the fact that having more than 180 pounds on weighted dips felt like torture, haha.
I seriously thought my sternum was going to crack. But what’s interesting is that when I went back to bench press, I was so much stronger than before. The 45 pounds of strength I gained on weighted dips helped a TON.
Within a very short period of time, I was repping 315 pounds on bench.. As shown below :)
Closed-chain exercises are no freaking joke! You can take bodyweight exercises like chin-ups and dips and throw on a dipping belt, and then you have the best of both worlds.
You have a closed chain movement that you can add weight to, making it more difficult, as your strength progresses!
#3: Work Out Anywhere with Bodyweight Training
With bodyweight training, the world is your gym – you can workout anywhere you want! You can even train outside in the beautiful sun… Outdoor workouts are my favorite.
I remember when I was in Santa Monica, I dreaded going to the hotel gym to lift weights. But working out on the beach seemed like PLAY! I hit the pull up bars by the beach and I never felt better.
I had so much energy and was so freaking happy. If you haven’t worked out in the outdoors before, give it a try. It’s awesome! (Just try and find a spot that has a pull up bar.)
When I’m in NYC, I love to go to Central Park. They have some pull up bars there, so I could workout there all day if I wanted to. It’s so much fun!
In fact, here’s a recent meet up that I did in New York with my Kinobody Subscribers :)
With bodyweight training, you never have to worry about taking a step back in your progress when life gets busy or while you’re traveling or on vacation.
Who doesn’t have the time to drop down and do a set of push-ups or one-arm push-ups? It’s the commute and time it takes to get to the gym that takes a ton of time!
With bodyweight training you don’t have to wait for a machine to free up. You are your own exercise machine. Hell, you could be at home working or reading and doing a set every few minutes. Talk about productivity!
#4: Bodyweight Training Will Build A Killer Core & Crazy Coordination
Bodyweight training requires an immense amount of core activation. When you build up to one-arm push-ups, your core will be nothing short of extraordinary.
In order to keep your body centered and balanced, your core has to be extremely strong. The same is true for one-arm chin-ups. With bodyweight training, you have no option but to develop great core strength and coordination.
Chin-ups, one-arm push-ups, pistols, bridging and front levers require a tremendous amount of core strength and stability. Continued use of these exercises will build an incredibly strong, dense and chiseled set of abs.
In fact, you can build perfectly developed abs without the need for direct abdominal work.
#5: Bodyweight Training Promotes Incredible Aesthetics
To become proficient at bodyweight training you need to be very lean! The less fat you have on your body the more proficient you will be. I have always found that bodyweight training makes it quite easier to lean down.
This is because dieting and body weight training complement each other. Getting leaner and losing fat improves your bodyweight training performance. On the other hand, dropping weight tends to decrease weight training performance.
It can be frustrating to see your weights go down as you get leaner and subconsciously you may blow your diet to try and maintain your lifts. Whereas, with a bodyweight training routine you know damn well if you get to a lower body fat, it will be easier to move your body through space.
Even a 3 or 4 pound drop in fat tends to improve bodyweight performance noticeably. What’s more, bodyweight training promotes an incredibly aesthetic physique.
Do you know the key to looking amazing? Great relative strength. This is the greatest indicator of a strong muscle-to-fat ratio. The reason people who are masters of bodyweight training have such incredible physiques is because they must stay lean.
If they gain 15 pounds, they need to ensure each and every pound they gain counts. Fat doesn’t count; muscle does. With weight training, you can gain 30 lbs (half being fat) and it won’t matter.
You don’t have to lift your own weight; you’re lifting external weight. So bodyweight training will incentivize you on a conscious and unconscious level to manage your body fat levels. If you goal is to build muscle, you’ll be eating to build only lean mass.
If your goal is to lose fat, it will be easier to stick to your diet because with every pound of fat you lose, your bodyweight performance will improve greatly!
#6: Bodyweight Training Will Turn Heads Faster than Margot Robbie in a Bikini
Train with bodyweight movements for several months and you will progress to some of the most advanced variations of exercises known to man. People will stop what they are doing at the gym to admire you.
You see, in today’s world 300+ benchers and 500+ deadlifters are not uncommon…
But what is a total rarity is to see someone who has completely mastered his or her own bodyweight.
When was the last time you’ve ever witnessed someone at the gym do a chinup with only the use of one arm? Or how about hang from a pull up bar and, keeping their entire body and arms straight, lift themselves up until their body was parallel to the ground?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you’ve probably never seen that. Bodyweight training just looks DAMN COOL! Most people can’t relate to bench, squat and deadlift numbers.
I remember when I told my brother I bench pressed 315 pounds one day and he asked me if that was supposed to be good. Seriously.
On the other hand, almost everyone can fathom the strength it requires to do push-ups and chin-ups with one arm.
This is the reason why Hollywood films turn to bodyweight exercises for workout scenes and clips…
For example, in the show Arrow, Stephen Amell is doing muscle ups, hanging leg raises and one arm push-ups in the training montage scene. And yes – people flipped over that montage!
Bodyweight training has this impact, in addition to helping you build a truly breathtaking physique, so you owe it to yourself to incorporate it into your workout protocol regardless what you’re currently doing.
The NEW Kinobody Course: The Bodyweight Mastery Program
On this note, I have great news…
This program is all about how to achieve the Mastery level bodyweight movements, including: feet elevated one arm pushups, one-arm chin ups, muscle ups, pistol jump squats, and more.
There are a full 8 workout progressions that help you get to this level (including some “hybrid” workouts that combine bodyweight with weight training).
And no, it doesn’t matter what WHAT level you’re currently at – even if you can’t do a single chin-up. You simply select the level you’re at based on the movements you can do, and follow the program which will help you progress to the more advanced variations of those exercises.
The best part of this program is that it’s entirely based on helping you build the lean, chiseled, muscular Kinobody physique. Only, you’ll be able to do this outside of the gym – or anywhere you want to work out.
I honestly feel that this is the best bodyweight training program on the planet because it focuses on building strength, is strategic in the progressions, and is the most methodical program ever compiled to achieve the Mastery level.