Drop the weights and learn how to really move your body and gain strength
It’s time to simplify working out and get back to the basics. Bodyweight exercises can hit all the muscle groups and produce incredible results quickly when performed properly. Let’s drop the weights for awhile and learn how to move our bodies effectively while gaining functional strength that will make you feel and look great. Start incorporating these exercises in your routine and you’ll wonder why you ever thought you needed to touch a barbell.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet together, lifted a few inches off the floor. With your back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, move your arms from one side to another in a twisting motion.
Slow and steady wins the race with this one. The slower you go, the deeper the burn.
Much like the regular plank, the side plank is simple but effective. Targeting your abs, obliques, and balance, side planking is a challenging way to develop your core strength.
Lie on your right side, in a straight line from head to feet, resting on your forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. With your abs contracted, lift your hips off the floor, maintaining the line.
Keep your hips square and your neck in line with your spine. Hold 20 to 40 seconds and lower. Repeat two to three times, alternating sides. (If this is too challenging, start with bent knees.)
Start out in dolphin pose (just like downward dog, with your elbows on the ground). Lean forward and lower your shoulders until your head is over your hands. Pull up your arms and return to the starting position
Another simple, yet challenging and effective, exercise is the wall sit. The exercise targets your glutes, calves, and quads.
Lean against the wall with your feet planted firmly on the ground, shoulder width apart. Your feet should also be about two feet away from the wall. Now slowly slide down the wall with your back pressed against it until your legs are bent at a right angle. This angle is very crucial because if your thighs are not parallel to the ground, your muscles will not get a good workout.
Your knees should also be directly above your ankles and your back should be touching the wall at all times.
Depending on your strength, hold the position for 20 seconds to a minute. Rest for half a minute in between and do three sets of repetitions.
As you gain strength, increase your holding time by 10 seconds. While a burning feeling in the quadmuscles is normal, if you feel even a little pain in your knee or kneecap, immediately stop the activity.
A pull-up bar opens the door for some incredible workouts
The pull-up is one of the most effective upper body exercises you can include in your workouts. It’s a simple way, though not easy, to engage your upper back muscles, biceps, shoulders, and chest while improving your posture and overall strength. Here’s how to conquer the pull-up:
To start, stand underneath the bar and grip it with the palm of both hands facing away from you about shoulder distance apart. You’ll begin the pull-up from a dead hang with arms fully extended and legs hanging straight down.
To initiate the movement, you’ll want to engage your upper body muscles by pulling your elbows down toward your sides. Do not strain your neck trying to clear the bar with your chin, your head should remain level and looking straight ahead. You can squeeze your legs together to help stiffen your core, but do not flail your legs to try to gain momentum from your lower body.
3. Back Down
After you have cleared the bar with your chin, slowly lower yourself back down to a dead hang. Remember getting up is only half the exercise, the downward movement is just as important.
Squats are amazing thigh and glute builders, but only when used correctly
Bodyweight squats are simple and incredibly effective – but they suffer greatly from laziness.
For a proper squat, space your feet just wider than hip distance apart with your toes facing straight forward. Push your butt down and back while pushing your knees outward to squat down. Make sure to lower to at least a 90-degree angle at your knees. Push through your heels back up to the starting position.
Around 20 to 30 reps for 2-3 sets is a great workout, but don’t worry if you have to start lower to master the form and gain strength.
A good push up remains one of the best bodyweight exercises around
Sometimes the classics are still the most effective, and this is certainly true when it comes to the humble, ever-challenging pushup.
There are two things to keep in mind with pushups: Form and number. When it comes to form, you will need to execute ideal pushups that keep your back straight, your hands placed directly below your shoulders, and your feet squarely planted.
When it comes to the number of reps, it’s important to do enough pushups that you feel your muscles fatigue. If you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t see any gains.
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