Women and Bodyweight Strength Training

Aug 25, 2016

Like many girls, I grew up doing handstands, swinging on monkey bars and climbing everything that I could get my hands on. I never thought that I had to get in shape or lift weights to get strong before I was allowed to do that. Yet, one of the most common things I hear from women is I will do bodyweight training when I get strong enough.

At what point over the course of the 20-50 years since we were kids did we lose the confidence to move our own bodies. So long as you have a body you are already doing some form of bodyweight exercise. Why not learn to do it better?

Part of the issue is that bodyweight training makes us think of Olympic level gymnasts. Trying to compare yourself to these individuals is futile. It's like refusing to play a game of tennis after watching Serena Williams.

BodyWeightVsCompetative2

BodyWeightVsCompetative1

I am partially to blame. My Instagram posts are the sexy tricks I have learned. But the reality is that I spend the majority of my time training basic bodyweight strength moves. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and handstands are foundation skills that I work on every day. The beauty of these skills is that there are variations that everyone can do to get stronger, whether you are advanced or an absolute beginner.

Bodyweight training is not simply a display of strength, it is a fantastic process to get stronger. If you want to get a pull-up, you need to train something that will give you all the attributes for that skill. The feeling of hanging on a bar, the grip strength, the control to maintain body tension AND the pulling strength. THIS is what bodyweight strength training is about. Getting stronger and gaining the attributes necessary to achieve the more advanced tricks.

The other common thing that I hear is I will do bodyweight training when I lose weight. I am not going to lie, the leaner you are the easier many bodyweight skills are. But what does that matter? Does it make a difference to your life if you can do 10 pull-ups? What is important is the ability and the strength to move your own body, no matter what size it is. You spend 24 hours a day in your body so it helps if you have the strength to move it safely. You don't have to do muscle-ups or handstands, but let's build the strength to hang on a bar or to get up off the floor. Let's build the confidence so that you can move your own body without fear.

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pull ups

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The proudest moment I have as a coach is not teaching someone a back flip or a trick on the rings. It is when people tell me that they are no longer scared to move their own bodies. They have the confidence to try rolling on the floor, putting weight on their hands or playing on the monkey bars at the park. These are the things that matter.