While being disciplined enough or simply having the luxury to get yourself to the gym every day would be ideal, the odds of not missing a single gym day is very low. Perhaps you’re juggling a busy work load, a full school schedule, trying to care for your family or you simply do not have the money, time or location close enough to get to a gym! Maybe it’s not a matter of not having access but rather that you prefer to work out alone or in the comfort of your own home. Suppose you specialize in a sport that is cardio based (i.e. running or swimming) and are looking to add a workout that will supplement your cardio training. Whatever your situation, think about how often you’ve heard people (or yourself) say that they can’t work out because they don’t have the time or money to take advantage of a gym or they don’t have the equipment or resources in their home? Guess what?! With bodyweight workouts, there’s no more room for excuses! We will show you the bodyweight workout benefits, best practices and how-tos!
What is a Bodyweight Workout?
You can get a full-body workout without the need for any equipment (aside from maybe a cardio mat) strictly by doing bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises use only your own body’s weight for resistance through a combination of squats, lunges, push-ups, and other moves, all of which provide a great workout in a small amount of space. Bodyweight exercises are a type of strength training that do not require any kind of free weights or machines because the individual’s own weight provides resistance against gravity.
According to wikipedia , this type of strength training has grown in popularity for both recreational and professional athletes, with a range of sports disciplines using bodyweight resistance training as part of their fitness programs. Bodyweight training utilizes simple movements such as pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, twisting and balancing. Drills such as the push-up, the pull-up, and the sit-up are some of the most common bodyweight exercises. One might consider trying bodyweight exercises for an accessible and effective workout. As an added bonus, you can use different bodyweight exercises to create a thorough circuit that can be done in as little as 20 minutes.
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Benefits of a Bodyweight Workout
Adding bodyweight exercises to your program is a great way to break from your normal weight training routine. It has proven to be an effective way to build muscle and lose fat. It’s no wonder why no-equipment, bodyweight workouts are so popular. There are a variety of benefits that bodyweight workouts have to offer. They are easy to learn, require no equipment (thus they can be done free of charge), can be done just about anywhere (even in small spaces), are efficient in what you can accomplish in a little amount of time, can be modified to suit any ability level and there are a vast variety of exercises to choose from!
Bodyweight exercises enhance a range of biomotor abilities including strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, coordination and balance. Bodyweight training is a great way to give your joints time to de-stress because it helps rebuild muscle wear and tear that develops as we age. Studies show that building lean muscle mass is also great for your heart, blood vessels, lungs, hormone production and even brain activity, proving to be a great way to give your mind a different focus.
Tips to Getting the Most out of a Bodyweight Workout
– Bodyweight exercises or strength training should be done at least two to three times per week.
– To get the most out of your workout, each session should ideally be a full-body workout that targets multiple big muscle groups such as back, legs, chest and core.
– If you truly want to see your bodyweight workout pay off, you need to make your workouts just as difficult as it would be with weights. That means only giving yourself a 30-45 second break between sets. Challenge yourself!
– For each session, aim to perform 10 different exercises varying the muscles that each one targets for one set each, and about 8- 12 reps within each set.
– After finishing your workout, make sure to stretch or do yoga at least two to three days a week to prevent injuries and increase range of motion, flexibility and recovery time.
Bodyweight Workout Exercises:
Pushups and pull-ups are classic bodyweight moves, but there are plenty more to choose from, like squats, lunges, and planks, just to name a few. The following are a few bodyweight exercises to get you started and require no set-up time or equipment. No matter if you are at home, traveling, at the office or in the gym, give these moves a try!
Push-ups: strengthening a wide-range of muscles including your pectorals, deltoids, triceps, and abdominals, pushups are one of the most well-known bodyweight exercises
How to: Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten your arms and legs out behind you, toes pointed toward the floor. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Intensify: – Close the stance of your hand placement slightly.
Bodyweight Squats: squats helps strengthen the large muscles of the lower body. They are a total staple when it comes to bodyweight exercises.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart with your feet turned out slightly to open the hip joint. Extend arms out straight in front of you (palms down). Slowly bend at the knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, then return to standing position. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Intensify: – From the squat position, jump up explosively from each squat. Allow your feet to lift off the floor or try single- leg squats by elevating one leg.
Planks: the plank is testament to how one of the simplest movements results in one of the greatest of fitness gains.
How to: Lie belly down with your forearms on the floor and elbows beneath shoulders. Feet should be flexed with toes on the floor. Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor. Your body should be a few inches off the floor in a straight line. Contract your abdominal muscles drawing your belly button to spine while tightening your buttocks and upper body. Breathe normally and hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat as needed.
Intensify: – Side plank: lie on one side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your right forearm so your body forms a diagonal line and hold here 30-60 seconds.
-One-legged side plank (by doing side plank and lifting the non-supporting top leg just higher than your top hip).
Lunges: a sure way to increase all areas of leg strength including inner thighs, hips, glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings!
How to: Stand with your hands on your hips and feet hip-width apart. Step your right leg forward and slowly lower body until left (back) knee is close to or touching the floor. Keep knee bent at least 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Repeat for 8-12 reps on each leg.
Intensify: -Reverse lunges
– Curtsy lunges: step your left leg behind you to the right so your thighs cross.
Bend both knees as if you were curtsying.
Superman: this exercise teaches your body to
stabilize by challenging the muscles of the lower back, glutes, and core.
How to: Lie on your stomach with your toenails pressing into the floor and chin resting on the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you as far as possible. Take a deep breath in and squeeze your abdominals, back muscles and glutes to lift your chest, arms, legs, and thighs off the floor. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. Hold here, then relax your body, returning to starting position. Repeat as needed.
This should give you a good start toward initiating a solid bodyweight workout. Good luck and have fun!