Thursday, October 31, 2013

Resistance training using your own body weight.

When you walk into most gyms, you will immediately see many different machines and various weight equipment laid out. Each one of these has a specific purpose. As a gym rat, you have the ability to choose between lifting light or heavy weights, based on what you are trying to accomplish in your workout. But sometimes making it to the gym as often as you would like can be difficult or cost more than you can budget. Or it may be that gyms are simply not your thing. If one of these is your dilemma, using your own bodyweight at home or outdoors at the local park can be a great option to be able to incorporate resistance training into your workouts.

Resistance training can help:
  • improve muscle strength,
  • control weight,
  • increase bone density and strength,
  • help prevent injury and
  • tone your body.
It can also be a factor in minimizing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity. Bodyweight exercises enable people to workout using natural body movements.

When done correctly and with proper technique, you will be employing functional muscle training that targets multiple muscles at once. Some exercises you might want to consider are:

Squats (single and double leg)
• Lunges
Planks 
• Pushups
• Sit-ups
Calf raises (single and double leg)
Lower back extension or superman

Each of these body weight exercises can be modified to fit your needs. For example there are multiple ways of doing the plank exercises. You can incorporate the 8 minutes abs routine or use a resistance band.

While an important advantage of bodyweight resistance training is in targeting multiple muscles, having the proper technique is crucial in order to gain the maximum benefit and to avoid injury. Body weight training can be done anywhere - whether at home, on vacation or even surrounded by nature. So next time you find yourself feeling anxious about the gym session you have missed or you simply want to incorporate resistance training into your exercise routine, consider bodyweight exercises.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Brubaker E. The Impact of a Six-Week Upper Body Resistance-Training Program Using Arm Bands Versus Body Weight on Upper Body Strength. Virginia Journal. Fall2009 2009;30(2):6-8.
2. Decker J. 6 WEEK SLIMDOWN. Men's Fitness. July 2013;29(7):126-134.
3. Harrison J. Bodyweight Training: A Return To Basics. Strength & Conditioning Journal (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins). April 2010;32(2):52-55.
4. Janiszewski P. The perfect pushup -- just another gimmick?. Active Living. January 2010;19(1):13-14.
5. Stoppani J, MERRIT G. NUMBER CRUNCHING. Flex. June 2011;29(6):96.
6. Yaprak Y. THE EFFECTS OF BACK EXTENSION TRAINING ON BACK MUSCLE STRENGTH AND SPINAL RANGE OF MOTION IN YOUNG FEMALES. Biology Of Sport. September 2013;30(3):201-206.

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