Want to train but are short of time or can’t get to the gym, you can do so easily and effectively by just doing some simple body weight exercises.
These types of exercises can be done anywhere as long as you have a little space to perform them and can even give you a great all over body workout in just 20 minutes. There is no need
for any expensive gym memberships or personal trainers to show you how to use the equipment and you can wear whatever clothes you feel comfy in!
Many people are under the misconception that you cannot create a beautifully toned body by just doing body weight exercises. Yet take a look at a gymnasts’ body, they normally have perfectly proportioned muscle development and symmetry from doing extensive body weight exercises.
If you perform body weight exercises on a regular basis you can tone up and improve both your strength and endurance, plus they are a great way to lose weight and burn fat. As these exercises are using your body’s natural range of movement there is also less risk of injury to your muscles and joints.
Before you start make sure you do a quick warm up to get the blood flowing through your body and warm up your muscles. You can do this by running up and down a flight of stairs or putting on some music and move about or dance energetically to your favourite song. I prefer the music option as the right choice of song really gets me motivated. Getting me into training mode and work my body harder.
I normally start with Squats as this is a great all over body exercise and one that uses a lot of energy and gets your heart rate up. For us females, Sumo squats are a great choice as they can really work the legs, butt and abs. For these just get into a Sumo wrestler position with a wider stance than normal squats, make sure you keep your back straight and abs contracted and get your butt as low as possible when you go down.
Full press-ups are the best option for building upper body strength, you can do half press-ups but as you use a slightly different body position for them they are not as effective and don’t really help you build up to full ones.
If you don’t have enough upper body strength yet to perform full press-ups properly, you can start by doing them on an incline.
The easiest way to start is to do them against the wall and then progress to doing them on an incline on a step, bench or chair. Once you can at least 20 on an incline try the normal ones on the floor again. Just make sure you keep your back straight, abs contracted and your hands in line with your shoulders.
This is one of my favourite leg exercises and is a great way to build up strength, increase muscle definition and improve your balance and co-ordination. They are often used as a drill for those who regularly practice martial arts or kick-boxing.
You can start doing these by standing next to a post or breakfast bar for support, then just bring one knee up to your chest and then kick out sideways with you foot horizontal as though you were actually performing a side kick. Then slowly reverse the movement and bring your foot down to the floor without touching it and then repeat the movement. Try to do 20 before switching to the other leg.
Planks are probably one of the best exercises to strengthen your core and improve your posture, which is really important if you spend all day sitting at a desk. There are many different variations of the plank, some being a lot harder than others. The side plank is a great exercise to help get rid of unsightly love handles, but is one you’ll need to work up to if you are new to exercise. If you haven’t performed planks before then start off with the basic forearm plank.
For a basic plank get in a position as though you were going to do a full press up, then bend your elbows and lower yourself onto your forearms. Contract your stomach muscles keeping your back straight and your butt down and head up, remembering to breath. Try to hold for at least 20 seconds and gradually progress to one or two minutes, or even longer if you can.
These are all compound exercises that work more than one muscle at the same time, have a read of my recent post on the benefits of compound exercises to see more great exercise options that you can adapt to do effectively at home as well as the gym.
Remember after you’ve had a great workout and built up a sweat to make sure you take 5-10 minutes to cool down and stretch all those muscles you’ve just used. This will help your muscles recover a lot quicker so you can train them again. I also find this is also a great way to relax and clear my mind ready to face the day ahead.
As you can see doing body weight exercises is a great way to work out anywhere. I hope you liked these quick workout tips and can manage to find the time to regularly fit them into your busy weekly routine.
If you have any other favourite exercises you’d like to share or any comments about those above then please leave them below…