Your Body Is the Ultimate Gym

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By Carl Phillips

“The more you know about exercise, the less complicated equipment you need.” — Vince Gironda

Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten away from how simple strength and fitness training can be. While new technology and equipment is not without its benefits, in many cases it can start to distract us in our quest to get stronger or fitter.

The truth is you already have all you need to get strong, your own body.

Golden Era Muscle & Might
Old time and pre-steroid strongmen knew the value of gymnastic and calisthenic type movements and got very strong in them (as well as training with weights). These guys knew that with chin ups and dips alone you could work the entire upper body and work it hard.

Bodyweight Benefits
So why should we bother with bodyweight moves?

1. It’s Portable
You always have your body with you, you don’t need a membership to use it and can use it whenever you like.

This can be a particularly important benefit for those that travel a lot. A gym isn’t always an option when we’re on the move. However, playground bars (for chin ups), push ups, beach sprints, long walks, swimming and some mobility and stretching drills go a long way whilst travelling.

2. Easier On Joints
Heavy weights can eventually take a toll on your body. While you shouldn’t abuse any training, bodyweight work can be easier on your joints and make recovery easier while still providing an effective and challenging load to work against.

3. It’s Functional
Functional is an overused phrase in the world of fitness no doubt but what could be more functional than being able to handle your own bodyweight?

4. It’s Fun
Moving your body through space just feels good and can be fun (as well as hard work). Learning new and challenging moves or increasing strength in moves we already know well is rewarding.

5. It’s Effective
Think you’ve progressed beyond bodyweight moves? Well, if elite level gymnasts and other athletes can still get a great workout and training effect using their bodyweight alone, what makes you think you cannot?

Bodyweight work has stood the test of time for a reason, it works.

6. You’re Limited Only By Your Imagination
There is a seemingly infinite number of exercise progressions to explore with our own bodies alone. Bodyweight squats too easy, try 1 legged pistol squats. Push ups a breeze for you, try one armed push ups.

Exercise doesn’t all have to be done in the gym or require extra equipment. Your body alone can provide an effective workout stimulus throughout life as you progress through more advanced moves and play with body leverage.

Maybe it’s time to revisit the concept that your own weight can be enough.

Note: This is a reworked and refreshed version of a much earlier post on my site Frictionless Living

Carl is the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live a simpler and more personally satisfying life. He is also the author of several books including A Short Guide to Living Well and 22 Ways to Simpler Living . To read more and/or contact him go to his site.

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