Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Bodyweight exercise is done without props or machines; instead you use the weight of your own body to build strength and resistance, providing a great total body workout. If you are interested in simplifying your routine bodyweight exercises are a good idea and here is why.
1.Itís a great way to improve motivation and challenge. One standard bodyweight exercise is push-ups. Maybe you can do 20 push-ups now. Set a goal that in 6 weeks, 3 months, or whatever suits you to increase the amount or modify the way you do them.
One way to do push-ups is with the 2 phone books. Place your books on the floor shoulder width apart. Lie face down on the floor with your hands in the center of the books. Push-up keeping your back and legs straight out behind you. This is your beginning position. Lower your upper body until your chest is level with the books and push yourself back up. Set a number for a goal or aim for the burnout and stop when you canít do any more.
2.Bodyweight exercises are usually easier on the joints. Consider replacing some exercises with your bodyweight; such as the popular squat.
Bend your knee and hold one leg off the ground, perform a regular squat with the other leg; lower easy, keep your back flat and press your tailbone out behind you. Itís okay if you have to hold onto something for balance. Go for burnout and then do the other leg.
3.You can always change the intensity of bodyweight exercises. Most of the exercises can be modified to add difficulty. You can increase your repetitions, or try doing them faster. Keep safe and donít go too fast.
4.Set a tempo and do High Intensity Intervals such as 10 of an exercise as fast as you can, pause for 30 seconds and repeat. Also, move quickly from one exercise to the next. Five solid exercises are all you need if you continue to go through the circuit 3 times with little rest in between. Always be cautious when performing HIIT; keep proper form and stay safe.
5.Bodyweight can give you a super fast workout and burn fat fast. Pick several exercises for your routine. You can change them up periodical so you donít get bored. There are many types of workouts you can do. Try the slow easy approach where you are deliberate with all your movements. You can perform a pre-determined number of sets and repetitions or you can do High Intensity Intervals. Be creative and come up with new combinations to keep you motivated.
6.If you move quickly enough through your exercises and add in a few exercises that keep you moving, you will also receive cardio benefits. Try adding the Burpee and do as many as you can, safely.
7.Did you know that there are 29 muscles that make up your core? It is almost impossible to do a bodyweight exercise without using some of those muscles. Building your core will allow you to move more gracefully and improve your posture, as well as many other benefits.
Add a core exercise as one of your standard set. Everyone knows how to do the standard or some variation of the crunch and that will work well. But for a challenge why not try the Side Bridge.
Begin on the floor on your right side. Your body is stretched out long. Place a large book on the ground and place your bent right arm on it. Your elbow should be placed directly below your shoulder. Engage the abdominals by drawing the navel toward the spine and lift the hips up off the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side. You might try doing 2 or 3 on each side.
8.Convenience is a great aspect of bodyweight exercise. You do not need any equipment and you can do these exercises at home or anywhere. You can go on vacation and without any extra trouble do your workout in your room. Not having enough time for exercise no longer holds up as an excuse. Even if all you do is a set of push-ups, some leg lifts, and a few crunches, you have worked out.
Bodyweight exercises are great for promoting balance. Many of these exercises are done on one side of the body and then the other. Also, remember by doing these exercises you are using your core as a source of balance stability.
9. Bodyweight exercising is cheap. You don't need any equipment to get a great workout. However if you choose to add equipment a stability ball will work as it provides a base for lots of exercises.
One exercise you could try on a stability ball is the back extension. Lay face down across the ball with your legs stetched straight out behind you, or on your knees, if that is too hard. The ball is located beneath your chest. Use your breath and lift your head and chest. You must lift up enough that you feel the stretch in your upper back without putting too much pressure on your lower back. Lift as high as you can. Reach back down your legs with your arms, reaching through your fingertips. Release and pause for a moment then repeat.
Doing bodyweight exercises does not mean you are safe from injury. While they may be safer than some gym equipment all risk is ultimately up to you. Donít push past the comfort zone; notice any sharp pain and stop immediately. Never sacrifice form for speed.
Here is a list of very common bodyweight exercises:
ē Abdominal curls or crunches
ē Triceps dips using kitchen chairs.
ē Step-ups, using steps, or a step bench
These exercises are combination movements, working many different muscles and joints at the same time. Research shows that combination exercises can provide significant strength gains throughout the body as well as toning and core strength.
Always check with a medical professional before beginning any exercise program. Be healthy, be happy!
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