When it comes to youth conditioning, most coaches would agree that young athletes should master bodyweight training before 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 so they are great for everyone.
With the huge success of bootcamps, athletic training facilities and clubs like Cross Fit 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! All of our Systems (classes) fall into one of three categories, Our HIT® system have been created to make you burn maximum calories, our Techniq® system boost your metabolism and show you how to properly perform exercises and our Recoup® system help you to recover and refresh.
An example of a HIT® system would be my EPIC boxing class where we do skipping, focus pad work, bodyweight exercises, running, heavy bag work and more. And it’s non-stop at a very frantic pace. Music blaring and tons of energy. A Techniq® system example would be Roger’s weight training class. Dumbbell work done right in a class format. Basic lifts, one arm rows, goblet squats, etc and we are not counting 10 reps and reading the latest magazine between sets! We show our members how to properly perform exercises, with intention, so they get the most out of every rep! Finally our Recoup® systems which include Yoga and Tai Chi and we encourage everyone to participate, to bracket the intense sessions with flexibility and recovery.
The neat thing about the different systems is that someone who joins for Yoga is encouraged as well to try a Bootcamp. They may have joined Yoga to lose weight but they were intimidated to try the other classes. Being a smaller club we can encourage participation and they feel comfortable knowing us and other members. It becomes a community and this keeps them long term.
When we have teams come in we take the time to explain he program to the parents and coaches. Even invite them in to take part so they know and can feel what the kids are doing. If there is enough interest we have the parents train at the same time with one of our trainers. We put on a System for them. The best thing about this is that 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 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 or even a club goal. And bodyweight training would be a big part of preparing for an event like this incorporating, climbing, jumping, balance, muscle endurance and more.
Finally I think you need to look at bodyweight training and back strength. So many of our athletes want to work the chest (for show!) and our corporate athletes have rounded shoulders from sitting and driving all day. I like to work my chest as much as the next guy but I incorporate back training at least 2x as much in my Systems with vertical rows, pull-ups, deadlifts, etc.
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 the 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. And there are many more Bodyweight exercises I love- from sprinting (the most primitive form of strength training- you have to be strong, flexible and work the muscles at speed which is most important to sport), jumps of all kinds, skipping, single-leg squats (pistols), hamstring drops, back extensions, lunges, planks of all kinds, burpees of all kinds and more!
Bodyweight training has many advantages and is a key starting point for our young athletes, members and is a trusted athletic conditioning tool for old ones like myself! It maintains strength (all over), functionality and sport specific movements, prevents injury, is fun and provides lots of variety.
Good luck moving your body!
Author: Marc Lebert
Marc Lebert is the owner of Lebert Fitness Inc. a world leader in developing innovative fitness training tools. He is a Club Owner, Black Belt competing at a National level, a Certified NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, International Presenter, Silver Lining Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 and named Top 100 Fitness Entrepreneurs in the Industry.
Marc developed the Lebert EQUALIZER™, BUDDY SYSTEM™ and STRETCH STRAP™. These portable and versatile tools are great for Bootcamps, PT’s, clubs, schools, military and are now in over 30 countries and growing! To see more please visit www.LebertFitness.com
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