I want to introduce you to a way of keeping fit, strong, lean and healthy without having to spend a fortune on overpriced gym memberships and equipment.
That’s right, no more expensive standing orders for soulless, crowded fitness centres. Instead we are going to go back to nature and discover the finest home gym ever invented, your own body. Learn to train with No Equipment and No Excuses!
I’m talking about bodyweight training or calisthenics. And if you want superior results in strength, stamina, muscle endurance and a lean physique, you can’t go wrong with quitting the gym and throwing away all those fitness gimmicks you bought from late night infomercials. Lets get back to nature and employ the methods used by the Spartans of legend to create the kind of bodies that were immortalised in marble.
Just a few of the advantages you will get when you turn to bodyweight training:
-Lean, defined muscles without the bulk. Our bodies are built to run, walk, lift, throw, carry, climb, crawl and fight. All the things the caveman did daily to survive. Bodyweight training will strip away unwanted weight, while maintaining and building muscle, you’re body simply won’t want the extra weight.
-Mobile and efficient movements. In all bodyweight drills you have to stabilise and balance yourself. Not only will you involve more muscle groups by doing this but you will also train the body to move as a unit. Think of the grace of a dancer or the integrated power of a fighter and you’ll know what I mean. Being strapped into a machine with a seat to support you and a single, fixed movement pattern robs the body of the need to stabilise and move properly, calisthenics can and will re-educate you.
-Unbelievable endurance. Forget the step or spinning classes if you want stamina and staying power. Instead try knocking out timed sets and multiple drill circuits with bodyweight. An entry requirement to some of the worlds toughest combat sports requires entrants to perform 500 bodyweight squats to show their mental fortitude. Most people I know, including several huge muscular bodybuilders can’t even manage 50 with good form.
-Reduce pain and stiffness in the body. Russian academic, doctor and fitness guru Nikolay Amasov realised that taking a joint through it’s natural and compete range of movement it will smooth itself out, stimulate the release of nutrient rich lubricants and keep itself healthy well into old age. He developed Mobility programs based around callisthenic exercises that utilise high repetition, full range of movement drills practiced daily. As a testament to his research, the good doctor resembles an elderly, yet spritely Russian version of the legendary Bruce Lee, lean, wiry, strong and mobile.
If this doesn’t serve to convince you of the value of bodyweight training, flick the TV over to the Gymnastics or the UFC and you will see athletes whose training is largely made up of bodyweight drills, these athletes carry little fat and sport well proportioned, natural looking physiques. Plus when they move they resemble something more usually seen on the discovery channel, think of a big cat stalking it’s prey.
Of course the ultimate advantage of using our own body is the convenience. You can perform Pushups and Squats anywhere, pull ups only require something to hang from, be it a swing set, doorframe or tree branch. If you go onto explore the world of isometric training you will be able to build strength whilst sitting at your desk or on the train with nobody around you even realising.
Of course bodyweight has it’s limitations, but then we add in our imagination and our creativity and we can create external resistance to further skyrocket our progress. Homemade and improvised gym equipment can be made up of various items, most of which would end up in some rubbish dump if you weren’t breathing a lease of life into them.Take that old holdall you’re about to chuck out. Save it, fill it with sand or gravel (you may want to put a liner inside), you have just built a sandbag. Anything you can do with a barbell you can do with a sandbag with the addition of throwing and carrying. Check out my homemade sandbag post here
How about nipping down to the garage and picking up a large tyre, now you can flip it, drag it, push it and hit it with a sledgehammer, all these drills will take your conditioning to a new level, stripping away fat and building a rock solid core.
It doesn’t stop there, you can improvise equipment out of almost anything and in doing so will bring your strength, condition, mobility and physique to whole new level, and I dare say you’ll enjoy doing it a whole lot more than by going into some soul destroying, expensive commercial gym. Keep the sessions short (45 mins or less), vary them, eat well, get good sleep and become the envy of your friends.
Now get out there.
Personal Trainer, Fitness Coach, Self Defence & Martial Arts Instructor
Author of No Equipment, No Excuses – Bodyweight Training for the Home, Office or on the Road.
+353 87 672 6090
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