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February 6, 2013

4 Reasons Why You Should Be Doing BODYWEIGHT Exercise (Yes, Bodyweight!)

Ok, I’ll admit it. I used to think bodyweight exercises were a cop-out. I mean … really?? Isn’t that for “beginners” and people who can’t handle “real” weight training? Well, that’s what I thought until my friend (and expert in female fitness) Nia Shanks showed me otherwise

Holy. Bodyweight training was a thousand times more intense than I thought it could be!

So, I asked Nia to get her ass back on the JillFit blog and school you guys on why bodyweight training is frigging awesome, and most certainly more hardcore than you think. SO. The following is a guest post from Nia, where she reveals her favorite reasons for “going B-dub” and why you should too. 

If you’re interested in trying bodyweight workouts, I highly recommend checking out Nia’s Bodyweight Guide :) Kiiiiiiilled me. Good luck!

Howdy, ladies. I’m baaaack!

*Cue the moonwalk entrance*

Let’s cut to the chase and discuss four reasons why bodyweight exercises are crazy awesome. We’ll begin with number four and go from there.

#4: New Challenges & Motivation

Do you ever get bored with your workouts? Tired of doing the same ole thing with barbells, dumbbells, and cable machines?

Want a new challenge to jump start your training motivation and perhaps improve your physique?

Make it a goal to progress towards more advanced bodyweight exercises. You’ll be faced with a new challenge that will keep you motivated.

For example, I did this exact thing last year and made it a training goal to perform handstand push-ups. Slowly but surely I used handstand push-up variations and worked my way to performing handstand push-ups.

The first time I attempted a true handstand push-up, I busted out three solid reps.

Accomplishing a new goal was exciting, fun, and left me wanting more.

“What else can I do?” I wondered.

Then I worked up to L sit chin-ups, 1.5 rep pistols, and other advanced bodyweight exercises.

The change of pace and new challenge got me excited about training again. And proper motivation is key if you want to improve (and maintain!) your physique.

#3: Give Your Joints a Break

I love pushing, pulling, and lifting heavy barbells.

But after a while, you can develop some nagging aches if you constantly have a loaded barbell on your back or in your hands.

This is where bodyweight workouts are super beneficial. They’re more joint-friendly* and don’t put as much strain on your central nervous system. You can train more often, recover quicker, and heal nagging injuries.

So if you want to give your back a break from pressing a heavy barbell overhead, start using handstand push-up variations. This way you can still train your shoulders directly while giving your back a rest from the heavy loading.

Want to take a break from heavy squatting? Use single leg squat variations for a new challenge and to sculpt some sexy muscle on your legs.

*Not every bodyweight exercise is joint friendly to every individual. For example, some peoples’ shoulders don’t tolerate dips and some peoples’ knees don’t agree with full range of motion pistols. I also recommend using a suspension trainer for exercises such as chin-ups and inverted rows to allow for natural movement.


“But, I can already bust out 20 push-ups and 10 chin-ups. I’ve outgrown bodyweight exercises.”

Assumption fail.

No matter how strong or experienced you are in the world of strength training, you’ll never outgrown bodyweight exercises.

Even if you can perform a dozen or more push-ups, you can still improve your performance (which we know is key to building a better body). All you’ve gotta do is:

  • Perform a more challenging variation (for example, elevating your feet and using a close grip)
  • Use an advanced training technique (such as 1.5 reps or rest/pause)

Those two simple tweaks will instantly add variety to good ole traditional push-ups and improve your performance. They’re also useful for busting through a strength and muscle sculpting plateau.

And just so you know what the 1.5 rep technique is, check out this video.

Use the 1.5 rep technique with any bodyweight exercise for a new challenge and to kick things up a notch.

Go ahead and give it a shot. I’ll wait.

Done? Great.

Let’s continue to the final reason why bodyweight exercises are crazy awesome.

#1: The Ultimate Excuse Demolisher

I intentionally saved the best for last. Yep. Bodyweight exercises are the ultimate excuse demolisher because there’s no reason not to get in a great workout to continue your quest to build a better body.

Because you can do bodyweight exercises anytime and anywhere, with zero to minimal equipment, you’ve got absolutely no excuses not to do them.




It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling, on vacation, or super short on time. You can still train hard and build a better body using nothing but your bodyweight.

Convinced yet to start incorporating bodyweight exercises into your routine? I sure hope so, and I know you’ll be pleased with the results.

BOOM! Now go. Have fun, and try something new!

Learn, Grow,
Teach, Practice

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Teach, Practice

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