Are Bodyweight Exercises Worth Doing?

I’ve recently been getting excited about the possibilities of bodyweight exercise.

Here’s the thing. I think it’s just kind of weird to start exercising with free weights without getting good at bodyweight exercises. That doesn’t mean we can’t do both, but to me, of the two the one that’s essential and shouldn’t be rejected is bodyweight exercise.

I know some people could be annoyed about that opinion, and I get it. Several years ago when I began getting in shape for the first time, I did some research and I myself began going to a gym and lifting free weights. I got pretty strong, and built up a decent amount of muscle. I could lift amounts of weight that made my friends surprised and impressed. That was cool.

And after all that time and effort, I still was not particularly good at push-ups, or lunges, or pull-ups.

That was not as cool.

True enough, in the long run you can’t get quite as strong with bodyweight exercises as you can with free weights, especially in some muscle groups.

Still, it’s possible to get pretty significantly strong with bodyweight exercise, and there is less danger. Think about it: I was squatting and deadlifting hundreds of pounds of weight, and yet I was incompetent when it came to doing proper unweighted lunges. That’s just weird! Isn’t it? And it’s not very practical.

Much better to build a solid foundation of bodyweight fitness, and then to progress to free weights and machines once there’s a need.

And that’s only if there ever is a need, of course. Most of us don’t (and shouldn’t) aspire to be able to deadlift a truck or to have biceps the size of bowling balls. We just want to be healthy, to be more than strong enough for our everyday activities, to look good at the beach. We each need to find that line for ourselves, and while for some it may require going to the gym to use weights, many of us will perhaps be surprised to discover that all we need is a bit of floor space in our living room and maybe a pull-up bar.

Let’s forget Covid, and the way it lately has caused gyms to be closed for months on end, and made bodyweight exercise the only real option for many people who want to keep exercising.

Even without that, bodyweight exercise is just way more convenient than using weights. It can be done anywhere, anytime. You don’t need to make a trip to the gym, or bring your workout clothes, or carve out an hour of your day. If necessary, a bodyweight workout can be broken up and scattered into the breaks in a day.

Anyone can get started, anytime, anywhere. All that’s needed is to find time to do a bit of research into it, and then launch right in.

It’s a habit, I’ve been finding, that offers big rewards for small efforts.

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