You don’t need to lift free weights to help build muscle, burn fat and lose weight. You have all the equipment you need to build muscle mass — your body.
For cardio lovers, you must do more than cardio exercise to lean and tone your body. Unless your cardio session is “bodyweight exercise cardio,” it doesn’t count as strength exercise.
Just a quick note: You can still lift free weights but it's not required to build the body of your dreams!
In a Mayo Clinic article, “Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier,” it stated that strength training includes bodyweight, resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines.
Bodyweight strength workouts burn fat and allow you to use natural body motions. Your joints don’t take the pounding that heavy weightlifting brings. And you can do these workouts anywhere, which saves you time and money.
Machine workouts do have value for beginners and those undergoing rehabilitation. But, even beginners should not stay with the machines for too long. Machines stabilize your body for you. You need to develop strength that forces your body to stabilize itself. Also, no two people have the same exact motions.
Doing bodyweight strength exercises will give you more calorie burn, more fat burn and will tone your body faster than doing similar exercises on machines. Bodyweight strength exercises allow you to train in all three planes of motion (machines usually limit you to training in one plane of motion--sagittal).
Burn more fat by working large muscle groups, not by working out longer! Compound (multi-joint) bodyweight strength exercises like squats, lunges, step ups, pull-ups, pushups, planks and bridges are great examples. Spend less time on single-joint exercises like calf raises.
An IDEA Health and Fitness Association article, Body-Weight Training Program, by Jason Karp, PhD, stated:
“While free weights and machines can certainly make your clients stronger, they often target muscles rather than movement. In addition, many free-weight and machine exercises, such as lat pull-downs and biceps curls, are open-chain exercises, which use only one joint as the resistance is moved away from or toward the body using freely movable limbs.”
“In contrast, most body-weight training exercises are closed-chain exercises, which use multiple joints as the resistance is moved away from or toward an anchored body part. Closed-chain exercises, which are more functional, result in greater motor unit activation and synchronization and better strength performance compared with open-chain exercises”
I recommend the following bodyweight strength workout (10-12 repetitions for each exercise):
-Bulgarian split squats
-inverted rows or pullups
-triceps dips on bars
Do this circuit 3 times, resting 3-5 minutes between circuits.
Start your bodyweight strength workout program today and watch your body begin to lean and tone!
Mayo Clinic article, “Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier”
IDEA Health and Fitness Association, article, Body-Weight Training Program, Jason Karp, PhD
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES, CPT is a Certified Personal Trainer and former NCAA Division I athlete. Mark is the owner of My Fitness Hut, Her Fitness Hut and Sports Fitness Hut. Mark’s Fat Blaster Athletic Training System has been proven to give his clients the fit, sculpted and athletic-type bodies they want. Visit Mark’s main site:
Your Fitness University http://yourfitnessuniversity.com
Reviewed November 23, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith