Most people don’t really think much of body weight training though it’s one form of exercise that is amazingly effective in burning fat and building muscle at the same time. Some trainers actually believe that bodyweight training is much more effective than training with free weights.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of body weight training is the fact that it doesn’t overly stress your joints as compared to the typical weight training exercises. They instead provide a more natural and fluid range of motion that improves your fitness level quite efficiently.
With that said, there is still a good number of people who say that bodyweight training doesn’t just do it in terms of building muscle as compared to weight lifting. The reason for this is that bodyweight exercises are mostly associated with unending number of reps, military and endurance training.
But then, if body weight exercises are not effective muscle builders, why then does the muscular development of gymnasts tell a totally different story?
The crux of the matter is that most trainers are not aware of how to maximize their gains using the right bodyweight progressions. You certainly don’t expect to pack on the muscle just by doing basic sit-ups and push-ups simply because they are not challenging enough for your body to build muscle. But, what if there is a way to make these exercises more grueling? For example, you can do one arm pushups, steep incline pushups or one arm inverted rows.
As you become better and better in this more challenging bodyweight exercise, you can now start incorporating weighted vests or chains to your routine. Though this will no longer be strictly bodyweight training, it’s going to serve as a very effective strength bodyweight training.
Dedication, discipline and patience
Something else that makes people think that weight training is the most effective way to build muscle is the fact that it’s easier to grab a heavier barbell compared to moving from a frog stand or even crow stand to a complex planche push-up over, say a period, of 6 months.
You will therefore need a lot of dedication, discipline and patience to achieve this. Another problem you may encounter is that through the right nutrition and exercise, you are getting heavier making body weight exercises more difficult, meaning progression will be a lot slower than before.
What builds bulk and strength?
For you to gain lean muscle and be strong you are going to need tension as well as substantial loading. Going for too many reps will not provide these as it only works to activate slow twitch muscles. You should therefore do complex body weight exercises for 8-12 reps. However, for lower body exercises, you can go for up to 20 reps. Doing 20 pistol squats for example will make for some awesome legwork.
So, don’t just stick to jumping jacks and expect to see bulging muscles, you need to take things a little further. Push yourself to do more today than what you did yesterday and you are soon going to see great results.