The Benefits of Body Weight Training

By Kimi Frazier

Body weight training has recently become a top trend that allows people to return to the basics of fitness. This type of workout is considered convenient, economical and efficient for everyone. It also incorporates new types of exercises and trends. All that is required for this type of workout is ones own body weight; no machines or gyms are necessary.

ATLANTA Various fitness trends known today, such as planking, thirty days’ challenges and high intensity interval training have become a sort of newfangled discovery in society. However, much of the exercises incorporated in these newfound trends have been traced back to a time where it was a way of life, not exercise.

Having not been offered that of machines, weights and gyms, such as today, people centuries ago were in better physical shape than many today. Their daily activities and manual labor, which included squatting, push ups, pull ups, and many other exercises, is now a part of a growing trend, known as body weight training.

Body Weight Training

Body weight training is when a person does not use any type of free weights, machines or equipment while working out. Instead they use his or hers own personal body weight as the only form of resistance. By using only body weight when performing exercises, it is allowing the muscles in ones body to strengthen and help perfect their form.

Although using body weight for resistance isn’t a new notion, it has been slowly back on the rise since the recession with the economy. In a recent study performed by the American College of Sports Medicine, body weight workouts were ranked as the number one top fitness trend of 2015.

“I feel stronger building physical strength with body weight, then with actual weights. With body weight you have more options, you have more of a variety of things to choose from and/or experiment with,” said 22-year-old Konnor Lobzun, a local boys gymnastics coach. “Body weight helps develop more functional muscle. You’re less prone to injuries, you’re stronger, and you have more mobility.”

Though Lobzun has just dipped into the world of coaching he is no stranger when it comes to physical fitness. Lobzun has been living an active and fit lifestyle for the past four years. While starting off exercising at the gym with machines and free weights, he then advanced to just body weight training, and has not gone back since.

It can be easy to fall into a workout rut of bench presses and Smith machines. This is why body weight training can be considered energizing because numerous variations can add motivation to any workout routine. Working with an array of exercises not only helps to reduce repetition, it can also help with plateaus, which is when ones body stalls on progress and their body becomes resistant to workouts.

Convenience

Society today is a society of convenience, with the most common reason for people skipping the gym being that there is not enough time. Many can feel overwhelmed by a frantic schedule or busy lifestyle, which can lead to him or her not being able to find time to go to the gym.

However, with body weight training one is able to incorporate a cardio and strength workout anytime of the day wherever they are. With this type of exercise it is easier for one to squeeze in a workout at home, work or simply walking to the mailbox.

“I don’t force my clients to go to the gym if they aren’t comfortable,” said Lee Williams, an Atlanta certified personal trainer. “With many of them, we meet at the park or at their place for a session.

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Lee Williams with client at Piedmont Park. Sunday, March 20, 2016. (JEM Capstone/Kimi Frazier)

Williams is a local personal trainer that offers at home services for the convenience of his clients. Although he has a gym membership, Williams acknowledges that not every person is able to financially commit to a gym, which is why he offers an affordable price to clients.

One of the main advantages of body weight workouts is the price. Experts state that the low cost of body weight training is a major factor toward its popularity. By not having to pay a gym membership or for equipment, one is saving hundreds of dollars a year. The average cost of a contract at the gym can range roughly between $40-$50 a month, totaling to almost 600 dollars a year, without the initiation fee.

Privacy is also a contributing factor when body weight training. The gym can be an uncomfortable place for some people. With the comfort of being able to workout at home or in a park, one is more likely to be motivated.

“I don’t like the gym, not only is it expensive it is also filled with people who are hogging the equipment and I just feel as though they are staring at me while I workout,” said Kennesaw State student, Marie Sacca.

Sacca, a junior at Kennesaw State, has never paid for a gym membership. While she has been to the school campus gym a few times, she has only been for the free group workout classes they offer.

Trends

Group workout classes also incorporate body weight training into workouts. Yoga and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) are two of the leading trends that have body weight training involved in its routine. These workouts involve not only upper body strength, but also build core strength needed.

“I absolutely love HIIT workouts,” said fitness guru, Shadia Jaraysi. “I workout in the gym during the winter but when spring hits, Piedmont Park is my HIIT playground.”

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Shadia Jaraysi performing HIIT exercise at Piedmont Park. Sunday March 20, 2016. (JEM Capstone/Kimi Frazier)

Jaraysi is studying Psychology at Kennesaw State while working toward a certificate in personal training. She participates in both gym and non-gym workouts depending on the season.

HIIT is a training technique in which a person gives one hundred percent effort with quick and powerful bursts of exercise, followed by short resting periods. This allows one to get their heart rate up and allows fat to burn more in less time.

TV shows workout games have also become a popular trend with social media sites. These workouts include watching ones favorite show and with each recurrent subject throughout the show, a body weight exercise is performed.

“I love my Grey’s Anatomy workout ” said Sacca. “It makes binge watching on Netflix feel more productive than it actually is.”

Sacca found her TV show workout game while scrolling through her Instagram feed. Having only recently discovered this game, Sacca plans to use her guide everyday until finishing the series.

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Marie Sacca in a wall sit while doing her TV show workout. (JEM Capstone/Kimi Frazier)

While many aren’t familiar with TV show workout games, these exercises are often used as HIIT workouts when done correctly.

No Excuses

Despite limited finances, a hectic schedule or simply a personal choice, working out is fundamental to one’s life. Regardless of age, gender, economic status or lifestyle, health is for everyone.

Although there is no worldwide exercise designed perfectly for everyone, body weight training can offer a multitude of benefits. They can be easily modified as well, between a more challenging workout or a lighter approach.

Whether at home, at work or even at the park, body weight training is one skill that can be used in every situation.

 

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