Bodyweight Exercise & Free Weights

8 Jul

It seems to me that just as soon as weight lifting came into vogue, everyone threw the good old body weight exercises out the window. Why do a push-up when a bench press can increase your chest size even more, right? Or why would anyone pass the lat-pulldown for a pull-up, correct?

Not.

I’m not saying weight lifting is worse than calisthenics, or vice-versa. All I’m saying is that you should not neglect these highly effective, and highly cheap exercises. Here are some reasons:

-They’re cheap.
-They can be done anywhere.
-They can increase functional strength, muscle endurance, and strength, all at the same time.
-They can help break through a plateau.

One of the main reasons I use body weight exercises often is for the development of functional strength. It seems that no matter what, calisthenics do the job perfectly. I’m a martial artist, so I do know when my cross-training is helping me or not.
Here are the most effective exercises I’ve found:

1) Neck Bridge.
2) Free Squats (kind of like a regular body weight squat, but as soon as you get down, roll on to your toes and stand upon the balls of your feet. AKA Hindu Squat, Indian Squat).
3) Push-Ups (of any kind, really, I highly recommend knuckle, fingertip, and the low-swoop variations).
4) Crunches (regular, with feet either up, down on floor, or bent 90 degrees).
5) Pull-ups (either overhand, underhand, or in a “cliffhanger” position).
6) Hanging leg raises (hang from a bar, bring knees up to chest, repeat).
7) Leg lifts lying down (lie down, hands under butt, legs straight, feet two inches off the floor, lift, repeat).
8) Plyometrics

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