We all know that doing some kind of exercise is good for our health, but putting that thought into practice isn’t always easy. Gyms can be expensive or intimidating, especially when you out of shape. Even those dedicated to working out or playing a sport regularly can struggle when travelling or working away.

The fitness world was ready for something new, and it’s arrived – in the shape of a program known as bodyweight training.

What is Bodyweight Training?

Rather than using machines or free weights, your body provides the resistance needed to build strength or sculpt muscles. Other benefits of bodyweight training include improved flexibility, balance, speed, endurance, strength and coordination.

What Makes Bodyweight Training Different?

There are lots of positive features to this exercise regime which help explain why it’s really taken off. Here are a few of the major plus points.

There’s No Need for a Gym

Bodyweight training can take place pretty much anywhere, from your home or hotel room, to outside in a park or on the street.

No Equipment is Necessary

Forget the free weights and machines, all you need here is your effort and your body. Advanced bodyweight exercises sometimes make use of regular household items and objects, such as towels, balls and chairs, but they are not essential.

It’s Open to Everyone, Whatever Their Age or Fitness Level

Bodyweight programs can be extremely simple, perfect for the unfit or anyone new to training, but they can also be ramped up to meet the needs of more experienced exercise fans. Elderly people often find simple bodyweight exercises manageable as they can improve their muscle strength and bone density through low impact, everyday activities.

It’s Free!

And of course that is always a bonus. No fees to pay, no special equipment or clothes to buy – just exercise, plain and simple. Exercise ideas and circuit suggestions are widely available online, and from apps such as Virtual Trainer Bodyweight, from Google Play.

Injuries are Less Likely

It’s not unusual for people working out with weights and other exercise equipment to risk injury by misjudging, or being over-ambitious, about what they are capable of lifting. Bodyweight training vastly reduces this risk because you are only ever working with your own weight.

Examples of Bodyweight Exercises

Sit-ups, squats, push-ups, planking, lunges and pull-ups are popular exercises that feature in many bodyweight training programs. The exact exercise and the number of repetitions depend on the purpose of the training session. As you progress to a more advanced level tweaks, such as one-armed push-ups, can be introduced.

Bodyweight training may be the hot exercise program for 2017, but it’s straightforward and flexible nature and lasting popularity suggests it’s going to be around for the long haul.