Do you have a hard time believing all of the benefits which bodyweight workouts can bring? Those who swear by other forms of training, those who have improperly attempted bodyweight training, and those who haven't tried bodyweight training often fabricate ideas in disbelief when reacting to the plethora of advantages to bodyweight training. Here we discuss and break down a few of the most common bodyweight myths.
Myth #1: Bodyweight exercises don't build muscle.
This is a flat out lie. Using your own body as resistance is an overloading stimulus for your muscle to not only gain strength, but also functional mass. Muscle is built through a combination of putting greater stress on the muscle than it is used to and resting the muscle so that it can adapt to the greater load. It doesn't matter how this resistance is achieved and actually, your shoulders won’t know the difference between weighted shoulder shrugs and pullups. So if someone tries to tell you this, don’t listen: with proper resistance, nutrition, and rest, you can gain muscle through bodyweight workouts.
Myth #2: You can't adjust your resistance.
Just because you can’t physically add or remove plates as you do with weight training, it doesn’t mean you can’t progress. Rather than adding weight, you adjust it. By changing the angle of your body or the momentum around a joint, you can create a different resistance for the muscles you want to train.
Intensity can also be increased by prolonging the time under tension during each repetition. For example: have you ever tried doing Pushups and holding your body just a few inches above the ground for five seconds? If so you will know have experienced first hand the effects of longer time under tension. Time under tension is the slowing down of certain movements so that the muscle is put under resistance for greater lengths of time. Increasing a muscles time under tension will lead to higher muscle protein synthesis (muscle gain) but with lower repetitions. Higher repetitions of workouts will lead to slightly less muscle gain but greater endurance and explosiveness. Finding a happy medium between high rep and high time under tension workouts will help you excel as an overall athlete.
Myth #3: Bodyweight training doesn't burn as many calories as cardio training.
Bodyweight exercises not only burn a similar amount of calories as long-distance and slow-paced running (or other endurance sports), but it also stimulates muscle growth. More muscle mass results in more calories being burned at rest (increasing your resting metabolic rate - RMR). If you train in the high intensity training zone you also get the benefits of the afterburn-effect (EPOC), where your body burns calories for a long time after you’ve finished your last set.
But training is not just about burning calories, it’s about improving performance and more importantly: staying healthy. Bodyweight exercises train your muscles and joints in full ranges of motion, increasing their stability, mobility and flexibility. So you not only get in shape burning calories and building muscle, but also increasing your longevity.
Throughout your bodyweight journey you will hear many people give their opinion on your training. Remember: what matters is not what others say, but rather the results that you reap. Keep your head up, time under tension high, nutrition on point and you’ll prove their ideas wrong within weeks.