Using Basic Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Athletic Performance

A common misconception in fitness training is that bodyweight exercises are only useful for building endurance or strength endurance. In reality, a bodyweight exercise program can harbor incredible static strength, dynamic strength, strength endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and even explosiveness. Understand how to manipulate the resistance provided by the human body and any aspect of fitness training becomes accessible. Many aspects of fitness are vital to improving sports performance, and bodyweight training can accommodate the vast majority of them.

Build Strength with Bodyweight Exercises

Paramount to athletic performance is the steady development of maximal strength. When it comes to bodyweight exercises, the keys to making steady strength gains are increasing sophistication of movements and lengthening of the levers that are moved. The classic pushup provides a perfect example. A pushup performed with the knees on the ground is substantially easier than a pushup performed with the legs extended. The longer lever drastically increases the amount of resistance provided by the exercise. Other pushup variations, like clapping or one-armed pushups, demonstrate the increasing difficulty that comes with adding complexity to a movement. Few trainers would argue against the radical strength these variations can build.

Bodyweight Exercises for Athletic Performance

Among the other benefits of bodyweight exercises are dramatic gains in core strength and mobility. Most bodyweight exercises are compound movements, involving multiple joints and an abundance of muscles. As with most compound movements, exercises like pushups, pull-ups, and lunges, as well as their many variations, challenge the core. In addition, because increasing the difficulty of bodyweight strength training involves increasing sophistication of movement, these exercises also improve all-around mobility. Most athletes stand to benefit a great deal from unloaded plyometric training, which also amplifies mobility a great deal. Plyometrics improve muscle and tendon elasticity, economy of movement, and efficiency of energy expenditure, aspects of mobility that other bodyweight exercises may not address as thoroughly.

A bodyweight exercise routine can train almost every facet of fitness needed to enhance sports performance. Making simple modifications to classic exercises can make them unbelievably challenging, increasing resistance and decreasing mechanical advantage. As a result, athletes can build immense full-body strength with these exercises alone. In addition, athletes can learn efficient movement patterns and drastically increase mobility through every significant joint. Best of all, bodyweight exercises do not require a trip to the gym and they need little to no equipment, meaning a serious athlete can get an intense, effective workout regardless of circumstances.

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