The Best of Bodyweight Training for Your Club
When it comes to youth conditioning, most coaches would agree that young athletes should master bodyweight training prior to external loading. Before we learn to lift a weight, we have to first be proficient at moving our bodies. It is important for our young athletes to have kinesthetic awareness of the basics like push, pull, squat, lunge, rotate, lift and carry. But this is also true for your members! Bodyweight exercises are functional and translate to better athletic performance, but also burn a lot of calories, engage the core, can be done anywhere and require minimal equipment — they are great for everyone.
With the huge success of boot camps, athletic training facilities and clubs like CrossFit, it is obvious that this type of training is not just great for the athlete (and corporate athletes as I like to call them), but great for the club’s bottom line. I am such a believer in bodyweight training that my club, Fitness NATION in Toronto, Canada is based on this concept. We have no cardio or weight machines and minimal equipment, but trust me when I say people get a great workout every time!
When we have teams come in we take the time to explain the program to the parents and coaches. We even invite them to take part so that they will know, and can feel what the kids are experiencing. If there is enough interest we have the parents train at the same time with one of our trainers. The best thing about this is that the kids learn by what we are doing. Sit and watch your kid train and they will learn to sit and watch others train. Get in there and sweat and your kid will learn to have goals for themselves, and that they have to train hard to reach them — just like their parents do.
Another reason to incorporate bodyweight training into your club’s programs or classes is the advent of extreme events like Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder. Developing a class around training for these events gives members a goal. Bodyweight training would be a big part of preparing for an event like this which incorporate climbing, jumping, balance, muscle endurance and more.
Many of the basic compound exercises like the pushup, pull-up, dip and squat provide a foundation of strength and neuromuscular control that will benefit both athlete and member for years to come. I think that these core competencies need to be well established before too many sport-specific movements are incorporated. There are many more bodyweight exercises I love, from sprinting, jumps of all kinds, skipping, single-leg squats (pistols) and hamstring drops, to back extensions, lunges, planks of all kinds, burpees of all varieties and more!
Bodyweight training has many advantages and is a key starting point for our young athletes and members, and is a trusted athletic conditioning tool for old ones like myself! It maintains strength (all over), functionality, prevents injury, is fun and provides lots of variety.
Good luck moving your body!
Marc Lebert is the owner of Lebert Fitness Inc., a world leader in developing innovative bodyweight training tools. He can be contacted at 905.785.0626 or by email at email@example.com.