Starting a new exercise routine can be very challenging. Of course, you have to summon up enough motivation and drive to actually start working out, but there are also many stumbling blocks that can hinder you from working out. Some common excuses include time and money. Most people find it difficult to squeeze in a workout session in their busy schedules, while there are also those who cannot afford to pay for costly gym memberships.
If these situations are familiar, then the good news is, you don’t actually have to use gym equipment or follow a set schedule if you want to start your fitness journey. What you can do is practice bodyweight strength training also known as calisthenics. As the name implies, bodyweight strength training only utilizes your bodyweight as a form of resistance while doing the exercises and nothing else. This means you can do these exercises wherever you are and whenever you are free, whether you’re at home, outdoors, or even if you’re travelling.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, these 5 exercises are a great starter kit to your bodyweight strength training plan.
The plank is a stationary exercise that may seem so simple to do but it can actually be challenging. This great workout tones your abdominal muscles because they develop your isometric strength. This could result to better posture, stronger muscles on your back, and of course, tighter abs. Here is a guide on how to do a plank:
- You should be on all fours, with your shoulders over your wrists as your starting position
- Keep your legs straight by stepping your feet back until your entire body is parallel to the floor forming a straight line from your shoulders to your hips , up to your heels
- Keep your back flat as if you are pulling your belly button towards your spine and your abs, glutes, and thighs engaged
- Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
Push-ups are classic exercises that target the shoulders, arms and chest. It powers up your upper body while building your stamina and stability. To do a proper push-up, follow these guidelines:
- Start with your body in a high plank position, parallel to the floor
- Your shoulders must be directly over your wrists and your feet a little wider than your shoulders
- Engage your core, glutes, and legs
- Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor. When bending your elbows, make sure they are at a 45-degree angle.
- Push yourself back up to your starting position while making sure that you keep your hips in line with your body.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 times
The lunge is another reliable exercise that is great for your core and your lower body strength. Practicing this exercise also develops your endurance, balance, and flexibility. What’s amazing with this variation of the lunge is that adding a walking element can ensure that you are exercising both legs equally while adding a cardio element in the exercise. Here’s how to do the walking lunge:
- As your starting position, place your feet hip-width apart.
- Step forward with your right foot as you bend both your knees to 90 degrees
- Next, lift yourself up as you simultaneously step your left foot forward, dropping into another lunge.
- Continue walking forward, making sure your back is straight, core muscles engaged, and your back knee hovers just off the floor with each lunge step.
If you are pressed for time then consider doing burpees as a whole body exercise that will wear you down but will give you remarkable results! It will literally make you catch your breath but promise, it’s worth it! The burpee works out the arms, chest, quads, and glutes while at the same time, it gives you a cardio benefit, too. Strength and cardio at the same time? Amazing! Here’s how to do a burpee:
- Your starting position should be on a high plank – shoulders directly over your wrists and your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart
- Next, lower your body to the floor while keeping a straight line from shoulders to your toes
- Jump your feet outside of your hands with your glutes lower than your knees assuming a deep squat position.
- Using your heels as support, explosively jump off the floor as you reach your hands towards the ceiling
The mountain climber exercise is another workout considered as a compound exercise because of its multi-tasking benefit in strengthening the muscles. It targets multiple muscle groups such as your shoulders, chest, arms, legs, hips and abdominals. It is called the mountain climber because with your body on an incline and your legs doing the work, it simulates a climbing move. Other benefits of the exercise includes the improvement of endurance, coordination, and agility. To do this exercise, follow the tips below:
- Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists
- Your body must form a straight line from your shoulders to your hips and your heels
- Engage your abdominal muscles, glutes and thighs
- Next, alternate driving one knee towards your chest with the other knee. It should look like you are running or climbing in place
- Continue alternating your knees as you complete your desired reps.
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a full-time calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition.