You Can't Beat the Basics

MHLbannersmallThere's always a place for low-tech,
low-concept exercise

Over the past decades there have been a wide range of fitness regimens, high-tech equipment and innovative approaches and programs that have filtered into the mainstream. And that's a good thing because in virtually every case, they've helped people accomplish their goals for health, wellness, weight management and overall fitness. Many of these approaches continue in the present and some have established themselves as fitness classics. At the same time, others have lost adherents who, in many cases, have moved on the next big trend.

While technology-driven, program-dependent fitness has its many champions and followers, there remains, however, a considerable group of people who stay with what we can comparatively call "basic" exercise.

Back to basicsWhile definitions and ideas differ on what the "basics" entail, a good example is what experts call body-only or body-weight exercises. As the names infer, this area of exercise relies on the body and not much else to get and stay in shape. When carefully and regularly followed, body-weight exercises incorporate multiple muscle groups as well as balance between the lower and upper body.

The big three of body-weight exercise
The foundation of virtually any body-weight program will include the push-up, the pull-up and the jump squat. These exercisepush-up-arm-stregthen-workouts effectively train your upper and lower body, respectively.

Push-ups target your chest, triceps and abdominals. Pull-ups (which require a pull-up bar of some sort) target your biceps, back and forearms. The jump squat targets your glutes, hamstrings, calves and core. If this approach to exercise seems a little retro, there's a good reason; add in some sprints and maybe a few jumping jacks and you essentially have your fifth grade calisthenics program. But as a low-cost/no-cost, time-saving, do anywhere and equipment-free regimen, you can't beat the basics.

One of the other advantages of these body-weight exercises is that they have some functional benefit related to what we do in our daily lives. Most of us aren't training to be pro athletes but all of us care about picking up a child without hurting our back or doing things around the house without getting injured or sore. We also want to feel stronger, more fit and be able to improve our abilities at recreational activities. In this area also, the body-only approach works to increase flexibility and core strength while helping us live a healthier life overall.

And nobody can argue with that. So maybe it's better to think about these basic exercises in a "back to the future" rather than an old-fashioned way. However you think about them, it doesn't hurt to do them exclusively or incorporate them at times into your regular exercise program.


 

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