Hey there everyone! I’m back to show you a few of my favorite body weight exercises. The great thing about these exercises is that you need little to no equipment and can be done virtually anywhere. Now, this post isn’t meant to give you a workout but it is meant to give you some ideas of exercises that you could include into any exercise routine. Disclaimer: please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. And don’t forget, use this acronym, K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid, especially if you’re just starting out. Keeping your workouts simple at first will make it easier for you to stay consistent and follow through with your plan. GUYS. I just have to step in for a second. I told him not to use the word stupid. Because it’s a bad word. I guess it’s the elementary teacher in me! Just a disclaimer, I promise we don’t think you’re stupid. He’s just being stubborn and won’t change it to a different word. (Yup. I’m rolling my eyes. Big time.)
- The first and my personal favorite exercise is the squat. It is a fantastic lower body strengthening exercise that uses the large muscles of the hips and legs. Squatting is a very complex movement and proper form should always take precedence. First, you’ll start with your feet about hip or shoulder width. As you begin to squat down, make sure you “push” your hips back and try to put your hips between your heels. As you get to the bottom, maintain good back posture and stand back up. Important points to remember are to keep your heels down, turn your toes out slightly (think 11 & 1 on a clock), keep your knees “out” and let them track over your toes, and keep your chest up. The goal would be to get your hips below your knees so do your best to get a deep as you can while maintaining good posture and without going onto your toes.
- The next exercise is the push up. The push up is a great upper body exercise to display and improve upper body strength. One important and often overlooked aspect of the push up that people either forget about (or simply don’t know about) is keeping a solid core (abs and low back). Throughout the exercise, your low back should stay flat, and not be allowed to “sag”, by engaging your abs and butt muscles. To start, your hands should be aligned under your shoulders or slightly wider and there should be a straight line form your shoulders to your heels (or knees if you’re doing a modified version). From there, bend your elbows and control your chest as close to the ground as possible, then return to the top starting position. When you bend your arms, remember to try and keep about a 45 degree angle between your upper arm and your body. This should take some stress off of your shoulders and let you use as much muscle as possible.
- Now that we have done an upper body push, we need to have some balance, and perform an upper body pull. What better move than the pull up (or chin up if you prefer)? Pull ups can be a daunting exercise but with some dedicated practice, you’ll be able to knock out as many as you want! With the strict pull up, (as opposed to the kipping pull up you may see where you use your whole body to throw yourself up to the bar) simply start by hanging from a bar, or tree branch if you go outside, with your arms straight. From there, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, or branch. Seems simple right? There isn’t much to them other than they can be really tough for most people. A few things you could think about to make them a bit easier would be to keep your core tight (like the push up) and try to minimize swinging on the bar as much as possible. If you’re having troubles, you can use some assistance like tying a resistance band around the bar and your foot or having your workout buddy hold your feet to help you out.
- The next exercise is another lower body exercise called the lunge. There are many types of lunges you can perform; I happen to prefer the reverse lunge. Starting in a standing position, simply step backward with either foot and, under control, drop your knee down to the ground. Don’t rest that back knee on the ground, then simply stand back up by returning your foot back to the starting position. A few things to think about are to keep your shoulders over your hips and maintain good back posture, keep your knees in line with your toes (don’t let either of them shoot inwards) and make sure the heel of your front foot stays on the ground.
- The last and my least favorite exercise (to perform that is) is the burpee. There are few exercises that I don’t enjoy doing, but I do anyways because I know they work and are good for me! The dreaded burpee is one of them. To perform the burpee, start standing up and reach down to put your hands on the ground, just outside of your feet. “Jump” your feet back so that you look like you’re in a push up position. Now you can either perform a push up here or skip it, that’s up to you. To continue, “jump” your feet back up towards your hands, then stand up and jump at the top. Doing burpees will definitely get your heart pumping and questioning why you even started doing burpees in the first place.
Well there you have it, some of my favorite body weight exercises. Whether you’re just staring out or a seasoned workout vet, body weight exercises can be a great addition to any workout plan!
Trevor Klump, MS, CSCS, USAW1, Pn1
Hey Everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your Thursdays. I just wanted to take a minute to wish you a happy weekend full of fun fall activities! I’ll be back Sunday with a Weekend Roundup.