The value of bodyweight exercise – using your own body as resistance instead of machines or equipment – is often underestimated. But Virgin Active’s National Product Development Manager, Ceri Hannan, says that bodyweight exercise has stood the test of time as an effective stand-alone workout or as an integral part of health club classes.
Ceri highlights the key benefits of working with your own bodyweight:
1. High output, low investment. The main benefit of bodyweight training is to build strength without investing hours of time a week. A short, full body routine that includes sets of exercises like lunges, squats, and crunches, with short breaks in between, can build muscle very effectively.
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2. Better balance and flexibility. Relying on only your body to workout also improves balance and flexibility. A full body routine engages your core muscles and improves strength in your limbs. Classes like Virgin Active’s Barre 180 combine bodyweight training with yoga and dance-inspired moves to build alignment and posture.
3. Control and variety. Many strength training or cardio routines can get feel monotonous but with bodyweight training, you’re completely in control of your routine. You can change it up to include more challenging sets on some days, exclude them on recovery days, or simply switch the order to keep it fun.
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4. Anywhere anytime. Another plus is that bodyweight training requires no special equipment or training gear, which means that you can do it anywhere and it’s accessible for anyone. If you can’t make it to your health club, you can do it at home or outdoors.
5. Keeping it lean. The short bursts of exercise that make up a bodyweight routine have been proven to help with weight loss more effectively than long cardio sessions. And the focus of many strength training routines which involve weights or other equipment is to bulk up but with effective bodyweight exercise the result should be a lean, strong body.