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Bodyweight Strength Training: Recommended For All-Purpose Strength

Dec 4, 2007
Mention strength training, and weight lifting or using machines immediately comes to mind. But there are many types of strength, not just "maximum" strength. I want to show you how bodyweight strength training is excellent for increasing each type of strength and why you should use your own bodyweight first and as an ongoing part of your strength training.

So, what is strength?

Well, a simple definition of strength is the capacity your body has to exert muscular and skeletal force against a resistance. The resistance can be the weight of your own body, the weight of something else or both. So, the larger capacity you have to move your own body or a foreign object in your environment, the stronger you are.

And being stronger has its benefits:

- You can do more with your body and objects you find in your environment
- You reduce the risk of injury because of increased ability to control your body and other objects
- You gain confidence knowing there is strength behind your movements
- You can overcome the challenges of sport, work and life easier
- And you look better because your strength is visually apparent in strong muscles

But the truth is, there are many different kinds of strength. And I believe each one can be improved upon with bodyweight strength training. Here we are going to look at the three main types of strength: maximal strength, explosive strength and strength endurance.

Bodyweight Training For Maximal Strength

Maximal strength is the amount of force that can be generated from one, all out effort, regardless of time or bodyweight.

Some people say weight training is best for maximal strength training, and for some exercises they are right. However, many trainees are using weights to perform exercises because they can't handle the weight of their own body. For example, many men and women do Lat Pull Downs because they can't do pull ups or chin ups.

There are many other bodyweight exercises that can build maximal strength. How about one-arm pushups or one-leg squats as strength builders? Most weight lifters can't perform these exercises, regardless of the weights they use in their training.

Bodyweight Strength Training For Explosive Strength

Explosive strength is strength per unit of time, and is also known as speed strength. So, this is how much force you can generate in the shortest amount of time. In terms of bodyweight training, it means how fast you can move your body from one position to another.

Think of explosive movements like jumping squats or plyometric pushups where your body is propelled with such force it actually leaves the ground. Is this type of strength important? You bet it is!

Bodyweight Strength Training For Strength Endurance

Strength endurance is the amount of force you can generate for an extended period if time. It is the ability to be as strong as possible as long as possible. This type of strength is characterized by being able to perform a movement repeatedly without being overcome by fatigue or sacrificing form.

When you think of bodyweight strength training, this is normally the type of strength people think of. Rhythmic, repeated bodyweight calisthenics for example builds strength endurance.

As you can see, there are a lot of different types of strength. And you can train each one by using the weight of your own body. No outside resistance is necessary.

Think of it this way. The training you do is specific. If you do a certain type of exercise, you become better at that exercise. So, if you are training for all-purpose strength (which included maximal, explosive and endurance strength) where the object performing the movement is your own body, there is no better tool than bodyweight calisthenics.

Bodyweight strength training should be the starting point, and a continual part, of everyone's over-all workout program.
About the Author
Coach Eddie Lomax, author of Workout Without Weights has put together a bodyweight calisthenics progressive program together that takes bodyweight training for fitness to the next level!
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