Car buffs know that performing the required maintenance and taking proper care of a car can keep it running for many, many years. You don’t need to be a car nut to know what happens if you leave a car sitting for too long without running the engine or performing the necessary maintenance; it starts rusting and falls apart. The human body functions in much the same way: regular use can keep the body operating with minimal problems for decades, while avoiding physical activity or spending too much time in a sedentary, non-moving position can cause a number of negative health consequences, accelerating the normal biological aging process.
The human body was designed to move and is the best exercise machine ever created IF you know how to use it properly. Simply using your own body can be an effective and efficient strategy for helping you achieve the following benefits of exercise:
Muscles are designed to control physical forces in the human body. Muscles lengthen in response to an applied force and shorten to produce the force necessary for successful movement. Bodyweight exercises can help improve how muscles function to control the effects of gravity on the body. Gravity is constantly accelerating you into the ground; strength training with your own bodyweight improves muscle force production which can mitigate the effects of the ever-present downward pressure.
Improve Joint Range of Motion
Bodyweight movements help improve joint range of motion while lengthening the involved muscle tissue, both of which are necessary for increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of overuse injuries. Bodyweight exercises like squats for the legs, pulls for the back and pushes for the chest require a number of muscles to work together in order to control the entire range-of-motion of the involved joints which are essential for enhancing flexibility.
Help Joint Stability and Mobility
Joints in the body are designed to favor mobility or create stability; the ankles, hips and upper spine all allow significant motion while the knees, lumbar spine and shoulder blades are structurally designed to provide stability by allowing only limited movements. Bodyweight training can be effective for helping the stable joints to become more stable while simultaneously allowing the mobile joints to increase mobility.
Intermuscular coordination – all of the muscles and joints in your body are designed to work with one another and bodyweight training can help improve coordination between all of the different segments. Isolation training with weights can place too much force in one particular joint or muscle group which could be a possible cause of injury. However, bodyweight strength training allows many muscles to work together to produce and distribute muscle forces making intermuscular coordination a key component of improving overall coordination and movement skill.
Get a Cardio Workout
The more muscles involved in an exercise the greater the demand for oxygen; when more oxygen is required, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the working muscles. Bodyweight exercises that use a lot of muscles and are performed for a high number of repetitions can be considered a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise can help increase the size of the left ventricle, the structure of the heart responsible for moving oxygenated blood out to the body, while improving the efficiency of how many times the heart beats per minute. Both of these are components for improving cardiac efficiency, an important marker of overall fitness.
Bodyweight exercises that involve the knees, back or shoulders could cause pain if performed incorrectly. A cursory understanding of biomechanics is required in order to move with minimal risk of injury. Because of its design, which allows the body to move with minimal impact from gravity, a Total Gym can help you to experience the benefits of bodyweight exercises with a reduced risk of injury.
If you are looking for the best Total Gym exercises for your studio or gym needs, Total Gym videos are available to help you identify the most effective exercises and workout programs for your clients’ and members’ fitness goals.
Pete McCall is an educator, performance coach, personal trainer, author, consultant and host of the All About Fitness podcast. Based in San Diego, CA, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, completed a Fellowship in Applied Functional Science with the Gray Institute, is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Currently, Pete is an adjunct faculty in exercise science at Mesa College, a master trainer for Core Health and Fitness, a blogger and content contributor for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and online instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Consulting with organizations like the World Bank, Reebok, 24-Hour Fitness, Core Health & Fitness, the Institute of Motion and Fit Pro, Pete has experience identifying needs and delivering solutions. Frequently quoted as a fitness expert in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, U-T San Diego, SELF, Glamour, and Shape Magazine and featured as a fitness expert for TV news outlets including WRC-NBC (DC), Fox News, Fox 5 San Diego, and NBC7 San Diego, Pete is a sought-after media resource for accurate, in-depth insight on how to get results from exercise. www.petemccallfitness.com