Healthy Tahoe: The Many Benefits of Strength Training

Bodyweight training dates back thousands of years as the chosen training method for Greek, Roman and United States Navy, air and land teams. In addition to being used in the training of the world’s greatest warriors, bodyweight exercises are a key component of many of the best fat loss and muscle gain workouts available.

Kyler Crouse

Bodyweight training is any exercise that involves using the body to resist gravity. Common types of bodyweight training include calisthenics, such as sit-ups and push-ups; plyometrics to improve explosive power; and yoga emphasizing a mind-body connection.

While a variety of fitness equipment and methods have become available, bodyweight training holds many benefits. Bodyweight training has become popular due to its inexpensive nature, the convenience of not needing equipment, and the ability to perform the exercises anywhere. And while individual differences in size and strength make it difficult to build weight machines to suit everyone’s needs and shape, bodyweight training is unique to each individual.



Bodyweight training is often perceived as too easy for the experienced trainee and too difficult for the beginner. However, with proper exercise execution and knowledge, it is possible to develop a bodyweight training program uniquely to meet individual needs.

A perfect example is the plank exercise. The plank exercise is an isometric core-strengthening exercise that involves maintaining an upright position for long periods of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up position with the body weight on the forearms, elbows and toes without sagging or lifting at the hips. A person can increase the intensity of the exercise by increasing the duration: plank for 10 seconds, then 20 seconds, and so on.



Another way to increase the difficulty is to raise one arm or one leg and maintain the same position on three parts of the body. This reduces the base of support and works the core more, adding variety and excitement to an otherwise static exercise.

Bodyweight training is not only effective on its own, but when added to a program involving weights, it also increases effectiveness. External loads – like free weights – can also be added to exercises like planks, dips, push-ups and pull-ups to challenge the strongest athletes.

Many people find that they need specialized exercise equipment to achieve their goals, but the most effective and least used equipment is the one they already have access to: their bodies.

Kyler Crouse is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. He specializes in athletic performance training and provides personalized training and exercise programs to the Lake Tahoe community. To meet Kyler and start an exercise program tailored to your needs, visit BartonOrthopedicsandWellness.com or call 530-600-1976.

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