Every activity we do, exercise related or not, centers around using and controlling our own bodyweight in order to perform specific tasks. This may or may not involve the use of an implement.
This is also true when it comes to strength and conditioning. I'm sure you've seen people training in different ways using weights, machines, stability balls, medicine balls, etc. But how often do you see someone training using only bodyweight resistance? With the exception of push ups, chin ups, maybe dips, and ab exercises, you don’t see it very often.
Many people have this idea that if they aren’t holding a weight, or using a stability ball when training then it isn't a productive workout. Ironically, some of the most productive strength training exercises are bodyweight movements but with some form of added external resistance.
However, "internal loading" (true bodyweight training) should actually precede external loading. In other words, we MUST be able to handle our own bodyweight before adding any outside resistance. This depends on the ability of the individual to control their own body during basic movements.
Bodyweight training will develop greater muscular stability, especially at the joints. Since bodyweight training involves major muscle groups in an integrated fashion it allows you to train multiple muscles in each exercise movement, which is how the body really operates in our environment. This makes it a truly functional method of training.
In a future issue I will be sending you some more bodyweight training info as well as a video of a full bodyweight workout that you can do at home!
But for now, check out this inspirational video of some incredible athletes performing some pretty amazing bodyweight exercises. These guys train mostly on overhead bars, and call themselves the "Bar-Barians"... Enjoy!