Although I tell people all the time, bodyweight workouts can make you stronger – they definitely put limits on your body. Meaning, you aren’t going to get your strongest by never lifting a weight.
Take a push up for example.
Think of the first time you ever tried doing a push up. Was it easy?
What about now? After years, months or weeks of practicing…is it any easier?
I remember when I first started working out I could not do any more than 2 push ups. TWO! That literally made me want to cry, but I sucked it up and kept at it. I haven’t given up and now I can totally blow my old score of 2 push ups out of the water!
Once your body begins to develop more strength from bodyweight exercises, it may be time to move into some free weight work.
Again, take the push up for example.
After you’re able to perform 10 push ups then your body already thinks this exercise is too easy. You should begin adding more weight, or with the push up for example, change how you are performing the exercise in order to continue new development in your muscles and strength.
Begin using a bench to work with decline/incline push ups or using dumbbells/kettlebells to perform your push ups or you can add a weight plate on your back – carefully! (this is where a friend comes in handy) Although you are working the same area, adding weight or changing the performance of the exercise so it is no longer the exact same as you have been performing all along, is the way to increase strength and see new results.
Being stuck in a plateau SUCKS! I’ve had it happen before I ever picked up a weight and I swore to myself it will never happen again. Doing small things (like changing your grips) really helps kick up your results a notch, which ultimately creates better results.
Now that I’ve discussed bodyweight exercises – let’s talk about the gym. If you are one of those people who avoid the dumbbell area and stick to machines – you should think about changing your habit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the machines at the gym, but they aren’t going to get you the best results if you aren’t touching any free weights.
When I mean free weight – I mean dumbbells and barbells – but kettlebells, weight plates, medicine balls can fall into the category too! I use these all the time at home; they are my home free weight. 🙂
Think of sitting on a lat pull down machine.
Now, you’re there….sitting….on a machine, where your abdominals are not engaged, your legs are relaxed and you’re ready to work upper body. You lift your arms, grab the bar and start pulling to work your lats. Great.
Now, if you were standing in front of a cable machine and performing this exact same exercise using cables you are now not only working your lats, but you’re working your abdominals and your legs as they both help keep your body stable as you pull the weight.
If you want to get real fancy at the lat pull down you can kneel on the seat, lift a little lighter and perform the lat pull downs that way. I do this because it really gets your abs on fire. 🙂
The lat pull down may not be the best exercise to use as an example, but it does show my point.
You will obtain amazing benefits from exercise when you incorporate
free weight into your workouts!
Think of the extra calories you would burn just by using a barbell over the seated row.
Or the amount of work your abs can do if you’re using an olympic bar for your squats over the leg press.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for machines; to get big muscles! You can lift SO much heavier on a machine. My top for the leg press is 700lbs and there’s no way in hell I’ll do that with an olympic bar squat. HA!
With the amount of work that needs to be put into creating a better foundation for your body to build and repair muscle, you’re going to want the best results. Stick with me and I’ll help you obtain the best results you can get! Between eating right and exercising you’ll be living a life full of happiness, health and confidence. 🙂