Lifting your body weight is one of the most effective forms of exercise out there. You can do it anywhere at any time. But what to do? We asked three Gold’s Gym specialists—Jenn Mathis (regional fitness director for the Midwest region), Nick Vance (expert fitness manager), and Sam Johnson (physical therapist)—to put together two workouts.
Before we jump into the workouts, we wanted to answer the question: When should you use body-weight exercises? For answers, we had a chat with Mathis, Johnson and Vance.
Why should you use body-weight exercises?
Vance: Typically body-weight exercises are more functional. You’re operating in a three-dimensional environment, so you’re working a lot of stabilizer muscles. It can translate into real-life scenarios rather than just exercises that are only good for a gym scenario.
Mathis: Body-weight exercises are good for any level of fitness. If you’re just a beginner, it’s a great place to start because you have to move throughout your daily activities, and body-weight exercises make you stronger for those actions. If you’re more advanced, you can make them harder by doing them faster. You get a great workout no matter what activity level you are.
Johnson: If someone is new to the gym, rehabbing or looking to increase their endurance for another training program, body-weight exercises can be really beneficial.
You mentioned it’s possible to make the workout harder by speeding up. How do you know when to do that?
Johnson: I would say that the best way to gauge it is to base it on your recovery. If you’re not getting sore from the exercises, you should increase the amount of work or volume.
Vance: If you’re able to do 20-plus reps of something and not really feel challenged, it’s probably time to increase the intensity to that movement.
When is a good time to focus on body-weight exercises?
Mathis: We have a lot of clients who travel—business professionals or people who are traveling with their families during the summer. The good thing about body-weight movements is that there’s never an excuse to miss a workout. It’s all about keeping you focused on your goals.
Vance: If it’s busy in the gym, we might superset that with a body-weight movement so we’re not taking up two different machines. You can do the machine, a body-weight movement, and go back and forth to get the resistance going.