The best bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere
One of the great challenges of keeping fit is how do I manage to fit my gym time in with the rest of my life!
Sometimes we have to travel for work, look after our kids, maintain a social life and somehow get to the gym. Luckily, there are some great bodyweight exercises that you can do to stay fit without any equipment for those days when you don’t have your Personal Trainer to push you.
1. Mountain climbers
Mountain climbers are a great total body exercise. Because you start in plank position with both hands and knees on the ground you immediately engage your core. If done quickly mountain climbers can also help with cardio.
Start in a plank position with hands slightly wider than the shoulders.
Engage your core and bring your left knee up under your chest with your toe just off the ground. Return to plank and now do the same with your right knee.
Keep switching between bringing your left and right knees to under your chest returning to a plank in between.
For a great burn pick up the pace and time yourself for intervals.
Squats are a fundamental of all bodyweight exercises, they are also one of the most natural bodyweight moves. A squat movement activates all the muscles in the lower body engaging the quads, glutes and hamstrings.
To do this exercise correctly make sure you engage your core to tap into the abdominal muscles and back muscles. This will help keep your torso upright.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with toes slightly turned out.
Then inhale and hinge at the hips then bend your knees to lower towards the floor.
Make sure your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor and heels are on the ground.
Exhale and straighten legs to stand and return to the start of the movement.
It is critical that your hips push back and you do not allow your knees to push too far forward.
A good guide is to try and track your knees over your second toe. If you have trouble keeping your balance then put your arms out in front of you.
Planks seem like such a simple exercise but done correctly they are fantastic for strengthening all your core muscles including your lower back.
Begin with your knees and forearms on the ground with your elbows aligned under your shoulders. Engage your core and raise your body off the floor while keeping your forearms and elbows on the floor. Your body should be a straight line from the top of your head to your feet and you should be on your toes. Ensure you do not drop or raise your hips too high.
Burpees, we love them for their ability to be challenging and kick our butts. And that is why they are on our list! Done right you will be drenched in sweat and will have trained just about every muscle in your body including your core, chest and legs. The key to making them effective is to concentrate on form.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart and arms by your sides.
Push hips back, bend your knees and move into a squat.
Place your hands on the floor in front of you and shift your weight onto them.
Now jump your feet back to land on the balls of your feet in a plank position. Imagine a straight line from the top of your head all the way down to your feet.
Jump feet back in to beside the outside of your hands.
Reach your arms over your head and jump into the air.
Land and repeat all steps.
If you are still building your fitness start slow and ramp the speed and reps up if you are feeling confident.
5. Bicycle crunches
Bicycle crunches will set your core on fire! They provide great core stabilisation and activate more core muscles than standard crunches.
Start on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground.
Place your hands behind your head and bring your knee to your chest while lifting your opposite shoulder blade off the ground. Make sure you to keep your neck neutral.
Straighten your left leg out to a 45-degree angle to the ground and rotate your upper body to the left by bringing your right elbow towards the left knee. Ensure your whole torso is moving not just your elbow.
Switch legs and elbow and do the same action with your right knee and your left elbow.
You want to stay focused on your breathing and maintain form, speed is not the focus.
6. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a great full body plyometric exercise and have huge cardiovascular benefits. Jumping jacks work your lungs, hear and muscles all at once. As you become stronger you can test yourself through increasing the speed.
Start by standing straight with your hands at your sides.
Jump and place your feet hip-width apart. As you do this bring your arms above your head to nearly touch.
Jump back to starting position as you lower your arms to your sides.
Learn more about how you can use bodyweight exercises to complement your strength training.
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