The Benefits of Bodyweight Training

January 13, 2015
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

3 Simple Exercises to Burn Fat, Sleep Better & Live Longer!

The research is in—Bodyweight training is hot, Zumba is not!

Exercise fads come and go.

This year, though, a research poll with the American College of Sports Medicine is telling us to get back to the basics.  

So, What Exactly is Bodyweight Training?

Bodyweight training is—just as it sounds, any exercise that uses nothing more than the weight of your body to create resistance for toning and strengthening your muscles.

Sit ups, push-ups and lunges are classic examples of these simple moves that only require a little floor space.


Since convenience nearly always dictates what exercise routine we do, consider these benefits of bodyweight training…

  • No equipment is necessary
  • Exercises can be modified to accommodate all levels of fitness and strength
  • Very little time is required to see results

The lifestyle benefits of these exercises certainly aren’t new news.  They have been an integral part of my Fat Flush Plan for years because of the simplicity and efficiency that bodyweight training offers.

There are, however, a slew of new health studies that verify the multitude of health benefits of bodyweight training for improved vitality and lower risk of disease.

For instance, UCLA research shows that increasing your muscle mass can significantly lower your risk of premature death.  Bodyweight training may also improve your sleep.

The CDC notes that strength training improves bone density, glucose metabolism and restores balance.  Anxiety and depression symptoms can be reduced by bodyweight training, which may even improve your self-esteem.

The following exercises will help you take full advantage of the benefits of bodyweight training—

You’ll stimulate the thyroid gland to improve metabolism, pump lymphatic fluid to promote detox, aid digestion, burn fat faster and transform your body composition!

To get you started, here’s the plan:

Side Lunges 3 reps of 3-minute sets

  1. Stand with your feet together. Keep your left leg straight (but don’t lock your knee), and take a wide step out to the side with your right leg.
  2. Lean slightly forward from the hips as you bend your right knee into a lunge position (keeping your right knee over your ankle and behind your toes). Push off the right leg to return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat on the opposite side. Increase the intensity by taking your arms out to the side or overhead.

EZ Everywhere Push-ups 3 reps of 1-minute sets

  1. Start by standing a few feet away from a wall, desk or chair. Lean forward at a diagonal, with your arms out straight, and place your hands shoulder-width apart against that solid surface.
  2. Lower your chest by bending your elbows, then press back to the starting position. Make sure to maintain a straight line with your body.
  3. Increase the intensity by stepping farther away from the surface you are leaning against, or take it all the way to the ground for a more traditional approach.

Triceps Dips 3 reps of 1-minute sets

  1. Start by sitting on the edge of your chair. Place your hands palm down and shoulder-width apart behind you on the edge of the chair.
  2. Walk your feet out to a bent knee position while keeping a straight back and shoulders in line with your hips. Scoot your sitz bones off of the seat and lower your body into a dip by bending your elbows.  Then press back up to the starting position.
  3. To prevent placing excessive stress on the shoulders, be sure not to let them dip down any lower than elbow height. To increase the intensity, you can increase the angle of your knees and take your feet farther in front of you.

High-Tech Fitness

If you’re not so much the “do-it-yourself” type, there are a couple of fitness options I love that have shown impressive results among my clients and have many of the same benefits of bodyweight training.

The Sun Anchon Chi Machine lets you recline and relax as gentle oscillations move your body.  This “swimming goldfish” motion moves lymph through your body, reducing tissue edema and encouraging detoxification.

Whole Body Vibration uses vibrational plates to target specific muscle groups, promoting anaerobic energy burning and lymphatic cleansing.  This technique is very important for bone-building and muscle restoration and provides maximum fat-burning benefits with minimal time and effort!

Fitness apps and devices like MyFitnessPal and FitBit are great resources for tracking your physical activity and monitoring your progress.

Weigh In…

What is your favorite bodyweight training exercise?  What benefits of bodyweight training have you experienced? Do you incorporate technology into your fitness routine?  I’d love for you to weigh in below with your comments!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Kimberle Ganzer-Wiley

    Hi, I would have to disagree with Zumba being a fitness fad! I have taken Zumba from a variety of insructors for six years and it is not just cardio! I also do P90X and have for three years. I really love the combination of the two!

  2. Ann Louise

    Hello Kimberle: I apologize for any misunderstanding. It was never my intention to insinuate that Zumba was a fitness “fad.” I looked at the research into the “hottest” new trends in fitness and found that Zumba had fallen from its top perch the year before. I think it is a marvelous form of exercise and am glad you are enjoying such healthful benefits. A better choice of words for “fitness fads” would be “fitness trends.”
    Thanks for your post!

  3. Deborah Berry

    I would agree with Kimberle. Body weight exercises are effective, but it seems to me that what matters most is finding something you enjoy and will actually DO on a regular basis. Nothing works if you don’t do it. Thankfully, there are a lot of effective options.

  4. Team ALG

    Hi ladies! It would be absolutely wonderful if you would like to join us in the “Work Out Room” forum of our online Fat Flush Community. Come and say hi! Thank you for your comments 🙂

  5. Kathleen

    I know for most people, choosing an exercise program is primarily based on what is fun to do, but what I find beneficial in a really good program is that the exercises have minimal stress on the joints. Weight bearing exercises have this benefit.

  6. Nancy Hamilton

    free hand exercises has always been so good for me.

  7. Liz

    Yoga is my favorite bodyweight exercise. I have strong arms, back and legs from postures that use body weight. I have found that with body weight excercise I don’t injure my muscles like I have with free weights or machines.

  8. Arlene

    Dear Ann Louise,
    Is it possible to get pictures of the exercises that you recommend in body weight training.

    I am a visual person and its hard to read instructions and make sure you are doing the right posture in the exercises. Thank You

    • Team ALG

      You will find similar exercises portrayed in photo in the Fat Flush For Life book, and also Fat Flush Fitness!

  9. Claudia Rowe

    We’ve been devotees of FFP for years and use all of Dr Gittleman’s work in our school. One adaption we’ve found beneficial is, as our ladies sit for much of the day in class, we have them rebound and do body weights on a vibration plate at the change of each class session. The results are remarkable.

    Our students lose, on average, 6kg (12 pounds) in a week and their muscle tone improves dramatically. They also start to look all, as my student co-ordinator calls it, all “glowy”.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This