Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bodyweighted Exercises for Improved Fitness and Performance

What is the best way to get in shape? Are there better exercises to incorporate into a structured workout program? What exercises deliver really good bank for your buck?

In this blog post we will explore types of exercises that will really help in assisting you to achieve your fitness goals in 2011.

Body weighted Exercises 101

The fitness industry has exploded with all kinds of fitness machines that it can make going to the gym a frustrating experience. All of these shiny, neat looking machines are really nice to look at, and they do serve a purpose however, one of the best ways to train is still the use of your own body weight, a few dumbbells and a bench.

The K.I.S.S Principal

Keep it simple Simon! This principal is best applied to training. If you are a beginner the best thing to do when training is to make sure you hit all the major muscles groups in the body.

The most efficient way to do this is through compound movements, meaning a movement that involves two or more joints. For example a squat is a compound movement because the hips, and knees are involved. This makes the squat the king of all body weighted exercises, due to the high amount of muscle mass it recruits in the legs and core.

Pull ups or Chin ups are also a great exercise which involve the shoulder joint and elbow joint. This is a great exercise to develop a nice back and arms. If you cannot do a full chin-up, use an assisted chin up machine, that will basically reduce the amount of body weight lifted.

Next is the push-up. This exercise is one of the most underutilized exercises. A push-up can have amazing effect on the strength of the upper body, yet many individuals do not do push-ups correctly or do not do them at all because they think that the push-up is less effective then a bench press. If done correctly the push-up can really build the strength in your core, chest, shoulders and triceps. In addition once you get good at doing push-ups correctly, then there are many, many variations that can add a great deal of intensity to this exercise.

The next king of the body weighted exercise is the deadlift. There are two versions of the deadlift, one being with the knees locked and the other being a squatting type of motion. Both are effective, but the stiff-legged deadlift works more on the hamstrings, core, lower back and some upper body, whereas the regular deadlift focuses on the quads, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, core and some upper body stabilizing muscles.

These four basic exercises should be the focus of anyone who is beginning an exercise program. These four exercises serve as the foundation of a training program. Once you have set a good foundation with these exercises then you can always incorporate some machines into your workout.

As always, If you have any questions regarding training, stairclimbing or getting into great shape you can contact our athlete support rep Richard Burgunder, and he will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Step Strong!

Trevor Folgering
The Canada StairClimbing Association

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