Two common barriers for people who want to exercise and get in shape are a lack of time and money needed for fitness. Who has the time to go to the gym, or buy expensive equipment, or take long bike rides? Well, if those are the only things stopping you, you’re in luck. You carry round a fantastic fitness resource everyday of your life, YOUR BODY!! This article is going to get you in shape just by using your own bodyweight and some simple pieces of equipment.
The Pros and Cons of Bodyweight Exercises
Using just your bodyweight, you can do a large number of challenging exercises.
If you add just one or two pieces of equipment: a dumbbell, a kettlebell, a jump rope, a medicine ball, or a chinup bar, for example, you can increase the challenge even more.
Now, I’m not putting down lifting weights — I truly believe in lifting heavy weights when you can, but there are tremendous benefits from bodyweight exercises as well:
1. You can do the workout anywhere, anytime.
2. Most exercises involve many muscles working in coordination, resulting in great overall fitness and strength.
3. For people who are just starting with strength training, bodyweight is often more than enough to begin with. And it gives you a good foundation of strength you can build on later.
I suggest starting with bodyweight exercises, and then slowly transitioning to a combination of bodyweight and weight training to get a good balance. And even if you’re doing a complete weight training program, you can always use bodyweight exercises anytime you can’t make it to the gym or as an active rest on your days off.
Just a Sample...
What follows is a sample workout in case you can’t or don’t want to go to the gym. It’s just a collection of exercises that use compound muscles and joints to give a total-body workout using nothing but bodyweight and a chinup bar.
However, this is not the only workout you can do — not by a long shot. Vary the exercises by doing a quick internet search for more bodyweight exercises.
How to do this workout:
Do a bit of a warmup — jumping jacks, skipping, or just jogging on the spot for a few minutes will get your heart rate going.
Then do the exercises in order, for a period of 30 seconds to two minutes (depending on what kind of shape you’re in), with as little rest in between as possible. If you’re new to exercise, feel free to rest fully between exercises, but if you’re in decent shape, doing them one after another is a great workout.
If you’re pushing hard you’ll probably have to stop to catch your breath a few times — it’s a tough workout!
1. Pullups (palms facing away from you). Chinup bar required.
2. Pushups. As many as you can. Do modified pushups if you can’t do full pushups, with your knees on the floor. If those are still too hard, do wall pushups, leaning against the wall or a chair.
3. Jump squats. Basically you squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump up as high as you can, and repeat.
4. Bicycle crunches. I don’t normally recommend crunches, but these use a good combination of core muscles.
5. Jumping lunges.
7. Russian twists.
8. Diamond pushups.
Try and complete this 2-3 times per week and tied in with a healthy diet you’re almost guaranteed to get stronger, fitter and healthier.
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