The Zero-Gizmo Workout: The Benefits Of Body-Weight Exercises

The Benefits Of Body-Weight Exercises

In the realm of physical culture, there are practitioners who prefer the exclusive use of body-weight exercises to condition their bodies and to gain strength. By definition, body-weight exercises are physical workouts that use the weight of the practitioner’s body as resistance in training the muscles.

The greatest advantage of body-weight exercises over other fitness programs like weight lifting is that it requires zero equipment and it can be done almost anytime and anywhere. There are certain things that body-weight exercises can and can’t do. While it is capable of building and increasing muscle mass, body-weight exercises can only do such task on a limited basis.

Since the body weights of full-grown adults are more or less fixed, the intensity of the resistance cannot be increased. So if the goal is continuous build up of muscle mass, a person is better off using weights training where the intensity of the resistance could be adjusted as desired.

Body-weight exercises have a long and honorable history. Warriors and combat athletes have used it through the ages because of two reasons: potency and practicality. A good example is the training regimen of wrestlers of old India. Physical culture is part and parcel of Indian tradition for thousands of years. India was known for traditional physical training implements such as heavy Indian clubs, gadas (maces) and nals (stone weights). But a staple in a traditional Indian wrestlers training program were two body-weight exercises: the Hindu pushup or dand and the Hindu squat or baithak.

The execution of the dand is different from the simple upward and downward movement of a regular pushup. The Hindu pushup is done with a downward scooping motion that ends with a backward arcing of the spine. Its purpose is to build upper body strength and endurance. On the other hand, the baithak is meant to develop leg power and cardiovascular stamina.

The Hindu squat is characterized by an upward and downward squatting motion coordinated with the raising of the heels and circular swinging of the arms. Both the dand and the baithak were part of the training regimen of the legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.

The Great Gama (Ghulam Muhammad), known as the greatest of the Indian wrestlers, was said to crank thousands of repetitions of dands and baithaks on a daily basis. If his professional record would be the sole basis, then it looks like body-weight exercises worked pretty well with Gama. With a career spanning 50 years, he is the only wrestler in history to have died undefeated. People whose dwellings have limited space for exercise equipments and professionals who travel frequently can benefit a lot from body-weight exercise.

Demanding only a few square-feet of space to practice, one can achieve muscular and cardiovascular conditioning with body-weight exercises. As in any other fitness program, a doctor’s evaluation and prudence are essential for safety in practicing these exercise routines.

Step Into The Comfort Zone With 5 Best Shoes For Gym

After a long run or hard workout, give your feet something to feel good about.

Let’s face it, running is hard on your feet. On average, your foot hits the ground 160 times a minute. For a 1:45 half-marathon, say, that’s 16,800 footfalls. And we wonder why our feet hurt? So give them a break post-workout with a pair of these easy-to-slip-on, comfortable shoes.

1. Columbia Jet Setter

Columbia’s new spring shoe is the beefiest we tried. It received high marks from our wear-tester, who liked its athletic fit, comparing it to a cross-trainer. It has plenty of room in the toe-box, and is just dressy enough for casual Fridays.

2. Nike Air Rift

Nike’s “split-toe performance running sandal” (whew) takes some getting used to, as the big toe is separated from its brethren. It has serious ventilation with a mesh and open top, and velcro straps over the arch and behind the heel to customize fit. Nike sells a split-toe sock to go with the shoe.

3. Merrell Jungle Vent Moc II

The little brother of the Jungle Moc, which some would say launched the after-sport shoe trend in 1998, has the original Moc comfort but a breathable mesh upper that provides extra ventilation. The arch and forefoot are supportive and comfortable right out of the box.

4. Keen Seattle

From a new company called Keen, this Mary Jane-style after-sport shoe has a comfortable arch support that didn’t aggravate our wear-tester’s sore heel. The roomy toe-box is reinforced to prevent stubbed toes. Keen also makes men’s models.

5. Hi-Tec Marina

The shock-cord lacing system and a small lip at the heel helps to keep this stylish women-only after-sport slide on your foot. The insole is removable so it’s easy to clean, and the tough carbon-rubber sole gives the Marina added stability. It’s also available in eye-catching neon green.

After 27 years, this is still Birkenstock’s best-selling clog. Its cork/latex foot bed takes some breaking in, but once it molds to your foot, it’s exceptionally comfortable. You can have the clog resoled and relined, so it’ll last a long time.

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