An effective bodyweight training program can whip you into shape and even pack on muscle, but “effective” doesn’t look the same for everyone. Some people could do with 10 push-ups, others need 20, and some need to do more sets than others. Even how often you work out is a consideration. Let’s get you up to speed, and craft the perfect workout for you.
One very important note here (from a guy who switched to strictly bodyweight for over a year, after 15+ years of gym work) is to note your personal limitations.
Many people will never do a handstand pushup. And even if you do, working that into an “intense” workout can compromise form and lead to rotator cuff damage or worse. Another rough one is the pistol squat — if you’re tall, these become physically harder to do. Even if you can do them, they’re not always a good idea. Almost everything is a cost/benefit in terms of conditioning vs joint longevity. Many of the most effective movements are also harsh on the joints, so the best thing you can do is listen to your body and never do the harder (or more technical) movements as part of a fast circuit. Focus on that form.
It isn’t easy getting fit. There’s a lot to learn: Your workout itself, whether the number of reps you do matters, and then there’s all the gym and exercise lingo you’ve never heard before. Say no more. We understand, and we’ve put together this primer to help.
Keep in mind that fitness jargon is endless, so this list isn’t comprehensive. It is made up of many terms that you may have heard before but didn’t understand, or heard a trainer toss around.
In a 2012 interview for “Faces of MN,” I discussed my answer to the not-infrequent question about what I do for exercise. When I answer that I lift weights and leave it at that, I’m often met with a hesitant follow-up question: “So…what do you do for cardio?”
Interesting read. I was told by a swim coach that when runners were injured, they were told to increase swimming to maintain cardio. It makes sense that, given the right exercise you can get cardio benefits.