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  • Writer's pictureElise Johnson

Exploring the Benefits of Body Weight Fitness

Updated: 3 days ago




Sound woman with one hair in a pony tail is doing body weight training on a walk bridge. Her left hand is behind her back while her right hand is holding her body up.
Body Weight Training

Weight training has historically been categorized as something just for men and bodybuilders. However, as we start to learn more about the science behind weight training, it’s becoming clear

that it’s something EVERYONE should practice.




You’ll Burn More Fat

First off, weight training (or strength training) is an excellent tool for losing fat and keeping your body strong and healthy. Taking time to train and strengthen your muscles helps keep people from gaining weight as they get older. This is because strength training enables you to build lean muscle mass, which serves as a calorie-burning system that your body adapts for the longterm.


You’ll Boost Your Metabolism

This has everything to do with something called your basal metabolic rate, which is how many calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day doing nothing but breathing. The more muscle mass you have on your body, the higher this rate will be (aka, the more calories you burn doing nothing). Males are genetically designed with more lean muscle mass on their bodies. That’s why they’re able to eat more calories without gaining weight—because they’re burning more calories around the clock.


You’ll Strengthen Your Bones

Strength training adds muscle, which in turn creates connective tissue that helps protect and strengthen bones. Since women are more prone to bone issues like osteoporosis, strength training is a great way to maintain bone health.


You’ll Change Your Body Composition

Cardio can help you melt pounds off, but strength training can allow you to ADD shape to your body. Want broader shoulders? Work on those bicep curls.


Train Your Arms

Ready to put your biceps, triceps, and shoulders to work? Give these simple and effective arm training bodyweight exercises a shot:


1. Tricep Dips: Start in a reverse tabletop position on the floor with your fingers pointing toward your feet. Bend and straighten your arms to complete a rep.


2. T Push-Ups: Start in a high plank with your feet hip-distance apart. Do one push-up. Then rotate your entire body to the right into a side plank, extending your left arm to the ceiling. Return to the center position, do another push-up and repeat on the left side.


3. Plank Ups: Start in a high plank. Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor. Lower the other arm so you are in a forearm plank. Push back up to the start position, placing each hand where your elbows were. Repeat this movement, alternating which side you lower first with each rep.


4. Inchworm With Shoulder Taps: Start standing then bend at the waist to place your hands on the floor in front of you. Walk your hands out until you're in a high plank. Then tap each hand to the opposite shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep your hips in place. Walk the hands back in and return to the standing position.


5. Superman Holds With Squeeze: Lie face down with your arms out to a T extending from your shoulders. Lift your chest and legs off the floor. Pause and then slowly lower everything back down. Aim for 8-12 reps per exercise and repeat 1-4 times. Remember to push through discomfort but stop for pain.


Training Your Legs

These moves will work your bum and help you form lean muscles in your legs so that you can kick butt physically and metaphorically!


1. Glute Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from your butt. Brace your core by pulling your belly button into your spine, then press into your heels as you squeeze your glutes to raise your hips off the floor. Hold the position for two seconds before lowering to complete one rep.


2. Jump Squat: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes forward, with your hands in front of your chest. Bend your knees to a squat position, then explosively jump as high as you can. Land softly on the balls of your feet and immediately lower into your next squat.


3. Lateral Lunge: Stand in a wide-legged position with your toes pointing forward. Lunge to the right by bending your right knee and pushing your hips back. Push back to start and repeat on the left. That's one rep.


4. Glute Bridge March: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor, palms up, at shoulder level. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Brace your abs and lift your right foot to extend away from your body, while staying in line with your thigh. Pause, then lower your right foot. Repeat with the other leg to complete one rep.


5. Single-Leg Glute Bridge: Lie on your back with your arms out to the side, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Bend your left knee, keep your leg at a 90-degree angle and bring it toward your chest. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips evenly off the floor, then lower. That’s one rep. These moves all require some core work too, so hold your belly in as you complete each rep. Also, if the lunges leave you feeling unsteady, hold on to the back of a sturdy chair or a wall.


If you would like additional suggestions for core and chest exercises, please feel free to email me. I would be happy to share additional exercises with you.


Remember that it is always best to begin and end any exercise routine with stretching!




Young woman is stretching her hands above her head. Her hands are clasped.
The Importance of Stretching

The Importance of Stretching

Now that you know the importance of building muscle, we should talk about how to keep those muscles protected!


Stretching keeps muscles strong, flexible, and healthy, which you’ll need to maintain a full range of motion in the joints. Without this full range of motion, your muscles shorten and become tight.


Tight muscles become weak and are unable to stretch all the way, which puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. In addition to reducing tightness, stretching helps you circulate blood and oxygen, helps you rebuild muscles after a challenging workout, and can help the body rid itself of lactic acid—a build-up that can lead to sore and painful muscles.


With a body full of muscles, stretching can seem overwhelming, but some baseline stretches can get you started and cover all your bases:


1. Deep Squat: Stand with your feet just outside of shoulder-width apart and squat low with your heels flat on the ground. Once your heels start to come up, stop. Throughout the movement, try to keep your chest up. Then use your elbows to gently push your knees apart to open the groin and hips. Yogis will know this pose as “malasana.”


2. Standing Hamstring Stretch: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head toward the floor while keeping your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. Wrap your arms around the backs of your legs and hold anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes. Bend your knees and roll up when you're done.


3. Seated Shoulder Squeeze: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your lower back. Straighten and extend your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do this for 3 seconds, and then release. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Aim to stretch at the very least three times a week, but every day would be ideal. If you’re keen on working out those tight muscles, consider trying a Yin yoga class. This type of yoga encourages DEEP stretching that can leave you feeling like you just had a massage.


Your Next Steps

I hope that this resource provided you with some new insight into the possibilities of at-home workouts without extra equipment. My goal is to help equip you with the confidence you need as you move forward in your fitness journey.


Until next time...


Be well,

Elise

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