Body Weight Training Series-Part 1

Jordan Koroll, Sport Manitoba’s Coach/Athlete Development Coordinator - East 

Body weight training is a fun, effective way to train – and the best part is that it can be done with very little equipment, at low cost, in small spaces, and for all levels of athletes. 

While body weight training is generally considered a safe training option, if done poorly it can have adverse effects. In fact, many ACL tears occur without any external load or impact. In a way, gymnastics is the sport version of body weight training. 

Did you know: some gymnasts’ exercises can involve the athlete having to absorb over 10-15x their body weight?

Key body weight training tips:

  • Just like any strength training, body weight training is a skill and takes years to reach your full potential. Try to be a lifelong learner as both a coach and athlete
  • Get creative and think of progressions and regressions and equipment you may need for your athletes to best suit their needs
  • Keep in mind the space available, team size, and ability of athletes
  • Coaches: practice what you preach by doing the workouts you do with your athletes ahead of time to help give them a better understanding of the movements
  • Journal and note what worked and what didn’t work for next session so your sessions can improve and run more smoothly down the road
  • Novices like variety. When working with young athletes try not to burn them out by doing the same thing over and over again. Variety exposes athletes to different stimulus, which can keep them engaged and motivated for future sessions

Pull up


    The ability to do a pull up/chin up is a strong indicator of an athlete’s relative strength and power. Pull ups are important because they work the grip. Working the grip is key in any strength program because it spreads tension to other areas of the body ( i.e. arms, chest, abdominals all get stronger). Pull-ups can progress/regress in a number of ways, including using bands, suspension trainers, gymnastics rings and more.

    Simple body weight training can be a very effective method to developing athletic abilities at all levels. Athletes and coaches often miss out on utilizing body training to its full potential. If you as a coach or your athletes are looking for body weight programming support, get in touch with Sport Manitoba’s strength and conditioning staff located both in Winnipeg and rural areas.



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