Don’t have weights or don’t have time to hit the gym? Consider a bodyweight workout.
Question: Which weighs more – a ton of gold or a ton of feathers?
Answer: They both weigh the same.
That’s right – a weight is a weight, and your muscles don’t care what you’re lifting. This is what a bodyweight strength-training workout is all about.
Instead of using weight machines or free weights, you use the resistance of your own bodyweight to build and strengthen muscle. You can perform these exercises anywhere – at home, on vacation, or on your lunch break at work. If you find yourself struggling to find time to drive to the gym, give bodyweight exercises a try.
Sound intriguing? Read on.
While it’s safe to do bodyweight exercises daily, work different muscles each day. Try working your core on Monday, upper body on Tuesday, and lower body on Wednesday. Then repeat. Just like with weights, your muscles need one to two days to recover from the damage and stress of strength training. Without rest between workouts, your muscles are prone to injury and won’t grow as quickly.
For an effective bodyweight workout, begin with a short warm-up. Then perform sets of the exercises below for 5 to 10 reps. Transition to another exercise without resting too long between sets. Continue exercising for 20–30 minutes, and then spend a few minutes stretching.
Sit-ups. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground. Lightly support your head with your fingers. Lift your shoulders a few inches from the ground, keeping your head up. Hold for two seconds, lower back down, and repeat.
Superman. Lie facedown and extend your arms and legs. Raise both your arms and legs a few inches off the floor, hold a couple seconds, and lower them back to the ground. You can also alternate lifting only your arms and only your legs.
Planks. Get on the floor in the push-up position, supporting your body with your hands and toes or elbows and toes. Keep your back straight and your abdominals tight. Stay in this position as long as you can.
Push-ups. With hands and toes on the floor, back straight, and abdominals tight, lower your body toward the floor. Rise back up. Vary the impact by placing your hands wider or closer together, higher or lower, or using only one arm. Or switch out lowering all the way to the floor with only lowering halfway.
An even more challenging pushup is a handstand pushup. Get in handstand position with your feet against a wall. Lower your body toward the floor until your head touches the ground, and then push yourself back up.
Pull-ups. Find a sturdy door (place a towel over the top), chin-up bar, or playground equipment. Hold the bar or door with your hands, palms facing away from you (toward you for chin-ups), and let your body hang down. Pull your body up until your chin is over the bar. Lower and repeat.
Squats. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs and lower your bottom as if you’re sitting in a chair. Use your thighs to push your body back up, keeping your back straight and perpendicular to the floor. Repeat.
Lunges. Take a long walking stride and bend your front knee at a 90-degree angle and your back knee almost to the floor. Raise your body back to the starting position and take another step.
A variation of the basic lunge is a jump lunge. Get in the lunge position with your legs bent. Then jump high and switch the position of your legs while in the air. When you land, lower your back knee to the ground and then spring back into the air, swapping the position of your feet.
With bodyweight exercises, you can get a full body workout no matter where you are and with little or no extra equipment. So whether your upper body, lower body, or core could use a little more workout, bodyweight exercises take away all your excuses!
Don’t Think Bodyweight Is Enough?
Consider this: Hershel Walker’s daily regimen of 3,500 sit-ups, 1,000 push-ups, and 8-mile runs each day was enough to propel him to being one of the NFL’s best all-time rushers and part of the 1992 American Olympic two-man bobsled team.
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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