In the same way, that Paleo is the natural way of eating, we could describe bodyweight training as the natural way to train. Just as it makes sense to eliminate all that processed, sugary rubbish in your diet, what about getting back to the basics to get into shape?
One drawback of the modern, internet age is that we have access to lots of information. Although someone smart once said that knowledge is power, I’m not convinced that this applies to most people, most of the time. If you have seen through this enough to try Paleo, well done! What about doing the same thing for your workouts?
You might have been convinced that the only way to get in shape is with the latest machines. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Men and women have been using their own body to strip off fat and build muscle mass for thousands of years. And despite what the manufacturers of exercise machines and gym owners might say, it works just as well today as it always has.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense, why should a bench press machine be better than doing a push-up? Actually, a push-up has many advantages that this shiny machine doesn’t. Moving your body through space burns more calories engages stabilising muscles and allows your body to move in the most natural way possible.
Still not convinced? What about looking at the cost and practicality of bodyweight training? Paying for a gym membership is great but it can be expensive. Gyms are eager to lock us into long term contracts that can cost a small fortune. Next, you need to find the time to get there. Maybe that means packing a bag, taking the car, finding a space, waiting in line for the machine of your choice, showering in the changing room, getting dressed again, driving back,…. when all is said and done, your 45-minute workout has taken over two hours!
Compare this to a bodyweight workout in your living room. You can do it any time, it costs nothing and no one will criticize your taste in music! If you are one of those people who always feel a little uncomfortable working out in front of others (and truth be told, aren’t we all?), bodyweight training at home is perfect.
There are countless options for exercises using just your bodyweight.
Doesn’t seem like enough? Well, let’s dig down a little further. Maybe you think the common push-up is a little boring. Perhaps it is too easy for a dedicated fitness enthusiast like you! Well, here are a few varieties from just this one exercise:
Regular Push Ups
Hand Stand Push Up
And there are plenty more where that came from! The same is also true for every other exercise on the list and plenty more besides. The point is, there is something for everyone from the beginner who might do a couple of reps of wall push-ups to the expert (with the body to prove it) who can crank out 10 reps or more with each hand.
You might be confused with how you should put all this together. Whilst we could list a few routines, my advice would be: have fun with it. Spend a few weeks or even months, trying out different body weight exercises. Set aside 30 minutes every day and do a few sets of different things. You find that there are exercises you love and others you hate (and maybe that is telling you something.)
The deeper I get into health and nutrition, the more I realise that simple and natural is best. This is why I love Paleo and really is why bodyweight training and exercises are just such a perfect complement.