"Bodyweight exercises have been around forever for one main reason: they work" says exercise physiologist and Bowflex fitness adviser Tom Holland. And yes, in case you were wondering, that goes for weight loss, too.
Firstly, bodyweight exercises are extremely accessible: they're free, you can do them anywhere and anytime, and they can be modified if you're a beginner and made more challenging as you get stronger (we'll get into how to do that in just a bit). One of the key components of weight loss is consistency, Tom explained. Convenient, adaptable bodyweight exercises make it easy to fit in a workout anywhere, which helps you stick to your fitness goals.
Bodyweight exercises are also often incorporated into high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which Tom said "is an extremely efficient way to decrease body fat," and build strength. You can do HIIT with both cardio and strength training, and because HIIT workouts are typically pretty short (you can only maintain max-effort work for so long!), you can often be done in 30 minutes or less. That convenience and low time commitment makes bodyweight HIIT circuits easier to stick with than, say, weightlifting for most people.
Check out Matty Fox's explosive full body workout below!
As you build up your fitness and start to burn fat, though, you'll need to find ways to increase the difficulty of your moves. Progressive overload, a term usually used with weightlifting, applies to bodyweight workouts as well: you need to increase the weight you're lifting in order to keep challenging your muscles and body.
So how do you increase the intensity of a bodyweight workout without moving to weights? Tom recommended adding plyometric (jumping) moves as a "simple way to increase the intensity and up the calorie burn." This might mean you swap regular bodyweight squats with jump squats, regular lunges with jumping lunges, or even push-ups with plyometric push-ups (or using your Fitness Freedom push-up bars!). These moves are meant to be challenging, so it's fine to take your time building up to them.
Not that we're warning you off of weights. "Since both variation and progressive overload are important factors in a well-balanced workout program, combining bodyweight exercises with weights is an extremely effective strategy for success,". Lifting weights can boost your metabolism and increase your fat burn, so it might be worth throwing a day or two of weight workouts into the mix if you're trying to lose weight.
Of course, losing weight is also dependent on the food you eat. Sticking to a healthy diet will lead to better performance in your workouts and better weight-loss results overall. That, plus consistent workouts, of which bodyweight exercises definitely play a role, makes a combination that'll push you toward your weight-loss goals.
A great way to increase the intensity of your bodyweight workout is through the equipment in our fitness travel pack!
We have carefully selected each item to provide variety and increased intensity to your usual circuit. For example challenging your usual push up routine by incorporating the push-up bars! Using the suspension trainer to build strength and develop the muscle required to perform certain exercises, for example building the upper body strength required to perform push ups or even pull-ups if you are more advanced.
Using the resistance band is similar to adding weights to an exercise and works the muscles harder as they aren't ever giving your muscles a solid break, which will take your regular bodyweight squats to the next level! Finally, we have included a speed rope style jump rope as this is one of the most effective calorie burning cardio exercises, just 10 minutes of jumping rope can roughly be considered the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile! Get your pack here.