Are Only Body Weight Exercises Optimum For Muscle Growth?
Bodyweight training, if done with the correct intensity, can help beginners build decent amount of muscle at home.
Different people view fitness in different ways. For some its about building muscles and looking jacked whereas for others its about maintaining a healthy constitution. Bodyweight exercises help people at different levels of fitness achieve different goals. Bodyweight training is incredibly effective as it increases our sense of balance and reduces the possibility of injury through over-lifting. They also provide a graceful range of motion and spatial coordination.
Bodyweight training, if done with the correct intensity and made more and more challenging over time, can help beginners build decent amount of muscle at home. It also helps improve agility, functionality, resilience and tenacity.
If your goal is to get ridiculously swole then be rest assured that bodyweight exercises will not be enough to achieve the same. It is important to realise that in working out without any additional weight training you would have to increase the resistance provided to the body through some form of additional stimuli. One thing is for sure, it is impossible for one to become a body builder with only bodyweight exercises.
Bodyweight exercises are often associated with functional training and endurance building exercises, but those same exercises when done with the application of full body tension and bodyweight progressions can be exceedingly effective in building strength and muscle.
Bodyweight exercises through compound body movements improve cognitive strength and psycho-neural functioning as well as neural-muscular coordination. It also assists in de-carbonating the blood and recharging it with oxygen. Most important is the recreational value of bodyweight workouts as they are more fun, creative and engaging.
Progressing to different difficult variations of exercises will help build muscle more rapidly as opposed to doing multiple reps of the same exercise. For someone who is new to exercising, it would be a lot easier to build muscle with bodyweight exercises as opposed to someone who has been exercising for a while unless they progressively overload in the intensity of the exercises over time.
There are certain conditions which have to be met for muscle growth. They are as follows:
a) Mechanical tension: Only by lifting heavy weights do muscles respond and grow as they undergo mechanical tension. It is now scientifically proven that lifting up to 90 percent of one's maximum weight allows one to perform more reps with the same tension and increasing the amount of time under tension.
b) Metabolic stress: Metabolic stress is maintaining constant tension while lifting weights by reversing the direction just before ending the range of motion. Due to this, the blood gets pumped into the muscles resulting in cellular swelling. This is the pump that is experienced immediately post working out.
c) Muscle damage: It is necessary to incur muscle damage in order to rebuild muscle, but too much damage can be counterproductive as it leaves the body unable to recover for the next workout. It is necessary to pay attention and slow down the eccentric part of the exercise, which is when you lower yourself down into a squat or a push up as it increases the muscle damage.
So the bottom line is gyms cater to clients who look at building muscles and this goal cannot be achieved through functional training alone. In today’s market where there are a plethora of options available, it totally depends on what an individual’s fitness goals are.
May your willpower be supersized, strength maxized, get Mickeymized!!!
(The author is a holistic health guru and corporate life coach.)
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