Is Training with Bodyweight Exercises Effective?

This post includes my thoughts and findings from researching whether training with bodyweight exercises is effective. I am not a qualified professional. You can find more information on this disclosure here.

If you’ve read any of my fitness-related posts before then you would know that I prefer working out in a gym. But, just in case you have been under a rock, (or maybe reading this outside of Spring 2020) the gyms are currently all closed. So, the big muscly men, the 5am-ers and everyone in-between asks – what do I do now?

Well, some may have their own exercise equipment. Some may even have their own at-home gym. (If you do, I’m jealous) But, for most, we’ve got a kitchen stocked with tins, the floor and – our body.

I have chosen to start Sarah’s Day’s ‘Sweat it to Shred it‘ fitness guide. This guide concentrates on training with bodyweight exercises to get results. (I’ll write a review in the future but for now just know that it is definitely challenging!)

With all this going on, it has me wondering – is training with bodyweight exercises effective? So, I’ve done a little research to see exactly what the story is in ‘bodyweight balamory‘.

Is Training with Bodyweight Exercises Effective?

What does training with bodyweight exercises mean?

Training with bodyweight exercises means the movement uses your body’s weight as the resistance. Basically, you are doing exercises without any equipment. (Although, some like to increase the movement resistance with a resistance band.) Examples include exercises like the squat and push-up.

Therefore, because of this lack of needing equipment, the popularity has surged over the past month. YouTube is full of home workout videos and brands are promoting their at-home workout wear. But, as we have seen in the past, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it works. Which, leads us back to the main question – is training with bodyweight exercises effective?

Can bodyweight exercises improve physical fitness?

Lipecki and Rutowicz, in 2015, published research on the ‘impact of ten weeks of bodyweight training on the level of phyiscal fitness…in women aged 21-23 years.’ [1] I find this particularly interesting. It looks at whether training with bodyweight exercises is effective within the similar time span to ‘Sweat it to Shred it’ and also in a similar age group to me.

Their study showed that training with bodyweight exercises was effective in improving all elements of their physical fitness. This was particularly seen in aerobic capacity and the strength endurance of the trunk.

Whilst this is just one piece of research, it does seem to support what I am experiencing myself. Aerobic capacity is the measure of the ability or the heart and lungs to get oxygen to the muscles. [2] I’ve developed my aerobic capacity to suit marathon training, of which doesn’t seemed to have come in handy doing explosive jump squats. It is here that training with bodyweight exercise is proven effective.

Does bodyweight exercises improve anything else?

A study published by Krause and Vito, in 2019, looked at the effects of bodyweight exercises (using resistance bands), with or without protein supplementation on older people. [3] It found that training with bodyweight exercises is effective in improving body composition and muscle function. The study also found that those with protein supplementation also reduced their body fat. Although, even those without it increased their lean body mass.

So, training with bodyweight exercises is effective?

Through the two studies, and various others, it can be seen that training with bodyweight exercises can be effective. This is particularly the case with improving body composition and various aspects of bio-motor skills. (Strength, endurance, speed, flexibility and coordination.)

However, it must be taken into account that this is not a comparison between bodyweight exercises and weight-lifting. There is also many approaches one can take to training with bodyweight exercises. But, what can be concluded is that undertaking bodyweight exercises IS effective and is definitely much better than doing nothing at all.

You may be asking, ‘how is this relevant to me?’ With the gyms all closed and our time outside restricted, training with bodyweight exercises may be the best option we all have to either improving or maintaining various aspects of our fitness.

Therefore, I recommend going and spending time researching and finding what works and motivates you. If you’re stuck for resources then leave a comment below as I will be more than happy to share my growing number of resources with you! Please also let me know your thoughts on training with bodyweight exercises.

Until next time my friends!