Bodyweight training emerges as top 2013 fitness trend


While presenting at a recent canfitpro conference, I mentioned in a workshop that bodyweight training has just been named a new top-10 fitness trend for 2013 by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The response: A few snickers from the crowd.


Why the snickers? Fitness pros have been advocating bodyweight training probably since the beginning of the fitness industry, before all the gadgets and gear came along. I guess some people find it amusing that bodyweight training is being talked about as anything new.


Bodyweight Training Defined

If you’ve been working out for even a few months, chances are you’ve done bodyweight training, meaning exercises that use your own body for resistance: planks, push-ups, squats, lunges and any other exercise that challenges your muscles with minimal or no equipment.


Everyone can agree that bodyweight training is not new. What’s newsworthy, though, is that this exercise mode has emerged for the first time as a top fitness trend to watch.


The ACSM, a leading authority in the fitness industry, has been running their highly anticipated annual trends report for seven years, surveying more than 3,000 health and fitness professionals worldwide.


But it’s just now that bodyweight training makes its debut as a top exercise trend. Why? ACSM calls it a push toward back to basics without a big financial investment. It looks like inexpensive fitness gets a thumbs-up for the new year.


Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2013

Here’s a run-down of the other fitness trends on ACSM’s top-10 list (and my take on each trend).

1) Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals

Of course. You can’t make headway using the other nine trends listed below without this one.


2) Strength Training

A winner. It benefits everyone.


3) Body Weight Training

There it is in the top three! Impressive placement for a first-time contender.


4) Children and Obesity

I’m glad to see this one receiving attention on the trends list. Getting and keeping kids active and eating healthy is an important issue.


5) Exercise and Weight Loss

No surprise there.


6) Fitness Programs for Older Adults

Yes, but this involves fitness programs of all types. Older adult fitness isn’t just about gentle “chair aerobics” (although that’s part of it). Lots of athletic older adults want and need to train to their own standards.


7) Personal Training

Personal training is the driving force of the fitness industry today. I wonder if this one will ever slip out of the top ten.


8) Functional Fitness

ACSM defines functional fitness as “using strength training to improve balance, coordination, force, power, and endurance to improve one’s ability to perform activities of daily living.” I think it’s an essential part of active living.


9) Core Training

I can’t think of a fitness trend that doesn’t claim to involve core training at some level … boot camps, yoga, pilates, balance training, etc. Seems as if, these days, core training is more of a basic exercise component than a stand-alone trend.


10) Group Personal Training

From my observations, I’d say good old-fashioned group exercise classes still trump this one in terms of popularity.


What got dumped from the ACSM fitness trends list for 2013? Formats include:

–       Spinning. (Ouch. I still love teaching and participating in indoor cycling.)

–       Sport-specific training. (Meh.)

Does this trends list persuade you to consider a new activity for 2013?

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