You can do a lot with just your bodyweight. There are many benefits to bodyweight training. However, there are good reasons to branch out and expand beyond just bodyweight. In today’s post, I’ll discuss why you should expand your training protocol!
The Benefits Of Bodyweight Training Exercises
The benefits of bodyweight training exercises are many. For starters, they’re accessible to anyone. Even if you have physical issues, there’s almost always some form of the movement you can execute and build upon. Movements regressed or progressed to find an appropriate level of complexity.
A huge hinderence to many people’s fitness habit is a lack of gym equipment. Because these movements only rely on your bodyweight, most of them require little to no equipment. In addition to being accessible and equipment independent, most of them can be performed pretty much anywhere.
Let’s not forget, that working with just your own bodyweight you can develop a substantial level of strength and coordination!
Why Aren’t Bodyweight Training Exercises Enough
With all those benefits, why aren’t bodyweight training exercises enough? Let’s look at the obvious answer first. When you add external weight, you add resistance to the movement. This is the classic reason for weight training. Extra resistence makes the movement more challenging and stimulates more adaptation. However, the reasons go far deeper than just this.
When you add an external weight to your frame, you change your center of gravity. You now have a combined center of gravity, or CCOG. As you move, your center of gravity will change differently than with just your bodyweight. In the case of a dynamic movement like a kettlebell swing, that change happens quickly and requires constant body position adjustment to maintain balance. Controlling this changed CCOG requires practice and neurological conditioning.
As the environment becomes more complex or the load becomes greater, controlling this CCOG becomes much more demanding. While you may be able to comfortably carry 200 lbs in the gym, carrying 50 lbs over narrow, uneven footing may become extremely challenging if you’re not practiced.
Manipulative movements can be extremely complex and require significant skill to perform efficiently. This is even more true as the complexity goes up. Cleaning an object to your shoulders is a highly technical movement. There’s no way to practice with just bodyweight.
By all means, continue to work your bodyweight movements. They’re great! But don’t forget to branch out into the movements that allow us to manipulate objects. Our hands are a big part of what makes us human, and manipulating objects is what our hands are for!