Bodyweight Exercises: No Weights? No Problem!

No Weights, No Problem!

Can’t get to the gym? Find yourself in a hotel room without workout equipment? Don’t want to invest in fitness equipment for home? No problem! You’re actually a walking gym so….use your body!

Doing bodyweight movements, like squats and push-ups, during high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is a super-effective workout—and one that’s nearly equipment-free.  

Bodyweight exercises are a simple and effective way of improving strength, muscular definition and flexibility without the need for any equipment. Let’s look at a few body moves that target each body part.

Pre-Exercise

Before you start, don’t forget to WARM UP! The objective is to get your heart rate pumping and get your muscles warm. Otherwise, you’re just asking for injury.

1Some example warm-ups, do these for approximately 5 minutes:

  • jump rope
  • run in place
  • do a few push-ups
  • pedal on a stationary bike
  • do some punches and kicks
  • jog up and down your stairs
  • twist and swing your arms and legs to get them moving

Exercising

Combining body-weight moves with HIIT will hit your trouble spots and will give you a total, maximized body work-out. 2With HIIT you perform an exercise at your all-out, maximum effort for a short period of time, followed by a brief rest period. This creates intervals of raising your heart rate up balanced with recovery. Even difficult exercises are doable for 30 seconds.

To get the most out of your bodyweight workout, focus on exercises that use multiple muscle groups at once. This helps achieve benefits by raising your heart rate. 

3Specific Moves for Specific Target Areas:

  • Calves
    • Calf-Raise – From a standing position, slowly rise up on to the toes, keeping the knees straight and heels off the floor. Hold briefly, then come back down. You can also try standing on a step for a greater range of motion, or quickly bouncing up and down for more reps.
    • Squat Calf-Raise – Hang on to the back of a chair for stability and sink down to a squat position. Shift your weight on to your toes and steadily push-up and down. Maintain your hip and knee angles to prevent it from turning in to a squat.
  • Thighs
    • Wall Sit – Slide your back down a wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight up against the wall.
    • Sumo Squat – Take a very wide stance and cross your arms in front of you. Began the squat by sitting back, and focussing on keeping your chest up and knees pushed out. The sumo squat places more emphasis on the hip adductors and abductors than an air squat.
  • Glutes & Hamstrings
    • Glute Bridge – Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands at your sides. Push through your heels and use your glutes to lift your hips as high as possible. Pause at the top and slowly return to the starting position.
    • Donkey Kick – Get down on all fours with your back flat. Kick one leg to the rear and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Core
    • Sit-Up – Lying on the ground with your knees bent, contract your abs to lift your body off the ground.Try to limit movement in the lower back.
    • Crunch – Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your hands behind the head, contract your core and curl your upper back up from the floor. Hold briefly, and then lower yourself back down.
  • Back & Biceps
    • Doorway Row – Stand near a doorway or vertical pole. Get into a half squat position and hang on to the doorway with one arm. Pull yourself towards the doorway, and slowly return to the starting position.
    • Inverted Curl – Lie under the table and grab the edge with your palms facing you. Bend your knees 90 degrees and keep your body in a straight line by bracing your glutes and abs. Raise your body to the underside of the table by bending your elbows.
  • Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
    • YTWL – From a standing position, bend at the hips and keep your back straight. From there, make 10 Y, T, W, L motions with the arms
    • Wall Push-Up – Rather than doing ‘girl’ push-ups, start against a wall instead. Place your hands just beyond shoulder width, and feet away from the wall. Lower your body towards the wall while keeping your core and glutes tight to keep your body in a straight line.
  • Plyometrics
    • Jumping Jacks – The jumping jack is a classic exercise the world over, and is great for warming up.   Jump and spread your legs to your side while simultaneously lifting the arms. As soon as you land spring back into the starting position.
    • Jump Squat – Start by doing a regular squat, but jump up explosively from the bottom position. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Don’t forget to switch legs.
  • Full-Body
    • Crab Walk – Facing up, use your hands and feet to lift your buttocks off the ground. Keeping your hips high, walk yourself backward using same-side patterns of leg and arm movement. After going backward, reverse the movement to go forwards and return to the start.
    • Inchworm – Stand up tall with the legs straight, and drop your hands to the floor. Keeping your legs straight (but not locked), slowly lower your body towards the floor, and then walk the hands forward.   Once in a push-up position, start taking tiny steps until the feet meet the hands. 

Putting It All Together

So what now? You can incorporate these bodyweight exercises into a pre-existing routine, or create a completely new workout made up of exercises that you haven’t tried before.

Remember: Do these workouts every other day, not every day. It’s crucial that you give your muscles a rest.

Category                                 Reps/Time
Plyometric                                     15
Full-Body                               10/30 seconds
Thighs                                           10
Back & Biceps                               10
Glutes & Hamstrings                     10
Chest, Shoulders & Triceps          10
Calves                                           30
Core                                      20/30 seconds

 

 

Sources

1”Beginner Body Weight Workout & Exercises: Lose Weight, Build Muscle ANYWHERE!” Steve Kamb, https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/beginner-body-weight-workout-burn-fat-build-muscle/

2”The 7 Most Effective Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do,”  Lindsay Tigar,
https://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/most-effective-bodyweight-exercises

3“101 Bodyweight Exercises That You Can Do Anywhere,” http://travelstrong.net/bodyweight-exercises/

 

 

Image Credit: www.nerdfitness.com

Post by Andrea Rogers