There are many reasons why a person may not have access to lots of workout equipment: no gym membership, lots of traveling, lack of gym near home/work, etc. No matter the reason, lack of workout equipment does not have to be a reason to miss a workout.
Most people resort to cardiovascular training if they can’t get their hands on a dumbbell, Kettlebell, medicine ball, etc. However, very effective strength training can be done using a weight that you walk around with every day: your body!!
Here are 5 effective body-weight exercises that can be done anywhere, with just YOU!
1. SQUAT: This age-old exercise has stuck around because it works. Done properly, it builds lean muscle in the legs, glutes and helps work the core, too. Stand with your feet hip-shoulder width apart. Keeping your core braced tight, sit back as if you are sitting in a chair. Keep the weight through your heels. Once you have reached your max depth, drive your body up using your heels. Finish with a good squeeze of the glutes at the top. Remember to keep your chest up and open, and your eyes facing straight ahead through the entire movement.
2. PUSH-UP: This move will tone the triceps, shoulders, and build appropriate strength in the chest. It also uses MAX core involvement. Position yourself in a tall plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Squeeze the glutes, brace your core and steadily lower your body down toward the ground. Once you have reached your max depth, push your body back up to the start position. Be sure to keep your glutes and core rock solid through the whole movement.
3. PLANK: Forget the crunches and sit-ups. If you want a strong core, stick with the plank. It works ALL of your core musculature (not just one abdominal muscle, like the crunch) and helps shape your shoulders, too. Remember- a strong core = strong legs and arms! Position yourself flat on the ground while resting on your elbows, toes tucked under, and eyes looking straight down between your forearms. Squeeze your glutes and drive your body off the ground with your elbows. Remain in this position for as long as possible, building up to 1 minute. Remember to keep ALL the muscles of your body engaged and your head looking straight down!
4. LUNGE: A great move to improve balance, core control, and build lean muscle in the lower body. Stand with feet together and hands on hips. Take a step forward and bring your front knee down to a 90 degree angle with the floor. This will bring your back knee down close to the floor. Drive your body back up using the front foot. Alternate legs. Remember to keep the shoulders back, chest up and core engaged through the entire movement.
5. ROW: The pulling motion of a row helps sculpt a sexy back, defined shoulders, and toned biceps. You can do a body-weight row by grabbing onto part of a jungle gym at the park, a secure railing, or other stable surface. Using an underhand grip, hold on to the bar and let your body hang back/down. Pull your shoulder blades back and together, and use your arms to pull yourself up toward the bar, ending with the bar at the top of your abdominals. Your body should remain as stiff and straight as a board throughout the whole move. The more vertical you stand, the easier the move. The more horizontal you are, the harder the move.
Don’t let a lack of equipment prevent you from doing the strength training you need to stay fit and healthy. Add these 5 body-weight moves into your fitness routine 2 to 3 times per week for best results!
Michelle Densmore, CPT, LCSW is the founder and co-owner of Lucky13Fitness, a personal training and fitness coaching company located in Burlington, on the north shore of Boston, Massachusetts. Michelle uses her education and expertise in both the physical and mental health fields to help her clients reach their goals through behavior change. Michelle believes that "Training the Brain" is the key to change in any aspect of life, especially in the gym. Michelle trains and supports her clients’ brains as well as their bodies via (en)Vision coaching, personal training, and virtual coaching.