YOGA - The original bodyweight training program

Bodyweight training programs have always occupied some space in the fitness industry, be it as part of group fitness classes or a personal trainer's program design.  You simply cannot argue with the fact that being able to control and master your bodyweight is critical to long-term fitness and independence.  When we become deconditioned and unable to control our bodyweight, we lose our ability to get up from a fall, stay balanced in slippery conditions, not to mention the effect  this loss of independence has on our mental health.  There are some critical elements necessary to bodyweight training which should be included in any program you might participate in; little or no equipment required.  While one might use something in the beginning to assist if they are very deconditioned, over time, we should move towards no external devices to truly be able to master our own bodyweight. 

The exercises you do should have degrees of challenge - progressions and modifications. Versions that anyone can do, to something only advanced athletes and fitness enthusiasts can accomplish. 


Our ability to balance on one foot, our hands, or a combination of our limbs is important to our ability to walk, crawl, climb and perform most other movements. 

To accomplish most complex movements in daily life, we need at least some foundational coordination in the form of lifting, leaning, flexing, extending, twisting and lunging. 

Bodyweight exercises should take you through your full, pain-free range of motion. The notion of being able to get better over time is specific to the individual. The principle of progression must be applied. 

Since you're not using external equipment, bodyweight exercises should be modifiable to fit and suit any body and fitness level.  

Since your body is your equipment, you can work out anywhere, anytime. 

While you might be paying for a membership or other fees, you theoretically could do bodyweight exercises at home, or anywhere, free of charge. 

While not typically a recognized component of bodyweight training, the ability to find stillness within your body and mind through exercise pays dividends into the rest of your life. 

Dating back as far as 5,000 years, yoga is the original bodyweight training system whose asanas (postures or movements) have inspired practically every bodyweight exercise we do today. With 8 foundational styles of yoga and countless schools representing iterations of these, there is a type of yoga for everyone.  Consider that push up exercises (chaturangadandasana), squats, and lunges (utkatasana), can all be found in yoga. You can definitely see its influence in other forms of exercise. Combining movement, ROM, cardiorespiratory challenge, and a mind-body integration that spills off the mat and into one's everyday life, there is a style and a studio that offers it. So get outside your comfort zone, try yoga and present your body with a change and a new challenge that you may decide to incorporate in your training for life! 

Susan Arruda