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All you need is YOU: Bodyweight Training

Posted by [email protected] on February 12, 2015 at 4:05 PM

Fitness exercises can come in several different forms - some exercises use weights, and others don't.  Many believe that, in order to get a good workout, you need to be using some piece of fitness equipment.  Whether it be a cardio machine (elliptical, treadmill), weight machine, or hand weights, if you're not using one, you're not working out.  Others will use their belief of a workout requiring equipment as an excuse not to work out. 

"I don't have enough time to go to the gym",  I don't have any equipment", "I can't afford the gym" or my personal favorite:  "I won't do strength training because I don't want big muscles" -- I'm sure a handful of you have heard others, or possibly yourselves, use excuses like these to shy away from a workout.


Well, I'm here to tell you that you can throw those excuses in the garbage!!!  For this week's blog, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite exercises to get a great, well-rounded workout -- two total body exercises, one lower body exercise, one upper body exercise, and one core exercise.  And get this -- there's only one piece of equipment you need:  YOU!


This is a great total body exercise which really focuses on your shoulders and core, along with your legs! Here's how it works: 

  1. Stand tall with your legs straight and your hands straight above you
  2. Bring your hands to touch the floor below you
  3. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lower your torso to the floor, and walk your hands out to be directly in front of you.
  4. Once you are in a push-up position (wrists directly beneath the elbows and shoulders), slowly walk your hands back to meet your feet, and then return to a standing position.  


If you are a personal training client of mine, you know this is probably my favorite total body exercise!  Usually when I inform my clients burpees are on the agenda for the workout, I hear a loud groan.  Here's the thing though:  burpees are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises you can do!  You may hate me, but your body certainly won't:  

  1. Start in a squatting position with your hands directly on the floor below you.
  2. Next, jump your feet back so your body is in a push-up position (modification:  If you can't jump, walk your feet out one at a time behind you)
  3. Immediately return your feet into a squat position
  4. Lastly, leap up as high as possible before repeating the sequence (modification:  Reach up onto your toes if you don't want to jump)
  5. One last modification:  If you are unable to put your hands on the floor, you can also do this exercise using a bench instead of the floor).


Ready to engage your quadriceps (aka:  thighs)??  This exercise will certainly do the trick.  Oh, and you will need a wall to complete this exercise:

  1. Stand upright against the wall.  Slowly slide your back down the wall so your thighs are parallel to the ground (NOTE:  Make sure your knees are directly over the ankles, and that your back is straight against the wall.
  2. Hold this position for 30 seconds to start.  As you get more comfortable with this exercise, you can increase the time you hold the wall-sit, or you can intensify the exercise by placing a weight on your lap or lifting one leg in the air at a time.

Arm Circles

This arm exercises targets your shoulders.  I'll note here that if you would like to increase the intensity on this workout, you can hold a soup can or a weight in each hand.

  1. Stand with your arms extended to the side (arms in a "T" position)
  2. Slowly make small arm circles clockwise (towards the front) for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Next, switch the direction of your arm circles to you are circling your arms towards the back for approximately 30 seconds.


Planks are a great exercise because they focus on stabilization of the core.  The core essentially is a term used to describe the muscles that control your spine, waist, and lower back. There is a misunderstanding that the "core" muscles consist of only your abdominal muscles.  That is not true.  While abdominal muscles are a key component of the core muscles, your back (especially the lower back) and hips are also at work.  Planks target all of those essential core muscles.

  1. Start by laying face down on the floor or on an exercise mat (stomach on the floor).
  2. Next, press yourself up into a push-up position.
  3. Then, place your elbows on the floor so that your forearms are resting directly underneath your shoulders (you want your elbows and wrists to be in line with your shoulders).  Make sure your feet are still in a push-up position.
  4. Hold the plank for as long as you can, making sure your but doesn't float up in the air and your back doesn't arch up or droop down. 

That's all for this week!  If you have any questions about the workouts I have provided, please don't hesitate to ask!.

Until next time...

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