I am a huge proponent of body weight exercises. There is a time and place for lifting weights, but body weight exercises mimic everyday movements and allow you to get a full range of motion. Body weight exercises also create tone and definition similar to weight lifting, if done correctly and consistently. If you have tried to do a pull-up, you know how hard they are and how they make your muscles burn (But ladies, you can do them, despite society’s attempt to tell you otherwise, read this to find out how). There are so many body weight exercises out there, you don’t need a gym to reap the benefits of weight training. All you need is a space to workout and your own body. Here are some of the tried and true moves that I put my clients through on a daily basis.
This tried-and-true move works the whole core and body for that matter. From a face down position on the floor, come up onto your forearms and toes, making your body straight, like a plank of wood (thus the name!). Hold this position for 20 seconds to begin with and gradually work your way up to 30 seconds, one minute, etc.
This full body exercise works all your main muscle groups, your back, core, biceps, legs and gives you a cardio push. Start standing straight and facing forward. Crouch down to the ground, place your hands on the floor and jump your feet back into plank position, do a push-up, jump your feet forward to your hands and then spring up and jump straight into the air. That’s one rep. Try to work up to three rounds of ten reps.
Aptly named because of the way your body looks when you perform this drill. Start in a push-up position with your arms fully extended. Jump your feet forward and to the outside of your hands. Your body should look as if you are a frogger sitting by a pond. Jump your feet back and repeat for 30 seconds as quickly as you can.
This variation of a crunch will work your whole body. Start with your back lying on the floor and your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Bring your back off the floor, keeping your spine neutral and look forward, simultaneously bring your feet off the floor. Your body should be creating a v-shape from from back to your thighs. Hold this v-shaped position while you rotate your torso side-to-side, contracting your core. Don’t forget to breathe! Do this drill for 30 seconds and work your way up to one minute.
Squats give us strong legs, no question about it. Add plyo work (jumping), and you take them to a whole new level. Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, knees slightly bent, sit down into a full squat (try for at least 90 degrees, deeper if you can) and jump upward as you spring out of the squat. Land softly on your heels and repeat for 30 seconds.
Start by mastering the push-up. Once you have mastered this move, you will perform one push-up then pick up your right and left foot while still in push-up position and “step” to the right, perform another push-up and step again. Try to do ten traveling push-ups and work your way up. I like to use an agility ladder. Start with doing a push-up in the first square and work your way all the way down the ladder.
Boxers have used jump roping for years as cardio training. It works the whole body, your arms while you turn the jump rope, legs as you jump and core as you must keep your body in alignment during each rotation. Work your way up to two minutes straight of jump roping and then try for 3-4 minutes. Trust me, it is a lot harder than it sounds!
These are just a few of the body weight exercises I do and there are numerous variations of each one. Start with these moves and stay tuned for more workouts and body weight exercises. Have questions? Give me a shout-out in the comments!