If you consistently lift weights and are garnering the many benefits of keeping your muscles strong and conditioned, I think that is great. However, no matter how much weight you lift, I am convinced that you haven’t “arrived” until you consistently incorporate bodyweight exercises into your routines. Do you have to do these moves all the time? No but you can make sure that each week involves you pushing, pulling or propelling your own bodyweight.
Moves such as Push Ups, Pull-Ups, Squats, Jump Squats, Lunges and many more can be a great addition to any form of exercise or sport . Aside from the functional benefits, the maintenance and even improvement of neuromuscular control & coordination, balance, agility, body awareness and reaction time all take place with bodyweight movements. Consistency and practice are key because as we all know, it is all too easy to lose skill, balance, strength and endurance very easily if you don’t constantly stay active.
For example, I train a guy who is in his 50’s who easily completes marathons, triathlons and mountain biking events each year yet he still needs a lot of work with his body control, skill development and overall body awareness. He was noticing that with sports and activities outside of his normal routine, he was not as agile and “in control” as he once was. Again, he is in great shape but some of the everyday things started to become a tad more difficult. Like anything else, your body has a “use it or lose it” set up to where you have to keep it constantly engaged with not only activities that require endurance and strength but body control, awareness and coordination as well.
I started him on a program of dynamic stretching to really increase his level of flexibility paired with numerous routines of bodyweight, skill and balance exercises. After only 3 weeks, we noticed a considerable improvement in his body control and range of motion with all of the moves he performed. Even his muscular endurance on exercises he did with machines and with Dumbbells improved due to this infusion of variation. I also used bodyweight moves as “finisher” moves that he would perform right after a traditional exercise. For example, after set of Dumbbell Bench Presses, he performed 15 Push-ups, and after Dumbbell Rows, I would have him perform 15 Pull-ups. Other times, I would have him do a circuit of various bodyweight and traditional strength training exercises with little rest yet a high level of focus on technique. Technique must be at a very high level with every aspect of strength or bodyweight exercise because that is where the improvements in body control and coordination start! To top things off, we created an agility circuit that had him performing multi-directional movements to improve his agility, reaction time and body control. Not only was it beneficial to the many systems of his body but it was just flat-out fun for him. Having activities in place that are just simple fun really helps this process become a part of you and an active lifestyle rather than just “exercise.”
Try adding some bodyweight moves and agility drills to your current routine to add a little more intensity, focus and variation…you will be glad you did. Don’t be shy and ask a staff member at your local gym for help in choosing some moves that may be of benefit to you and your specific needs.