How to Use Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Your Fitness

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I did a workout post, which is strange because those are my favorite posts to write.

As a wife, mom, and business owner, I have to have a quick workout routine that doesn’t involve a lot of expensive equipment that I can take anywhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m an advocate for body weight exercises. They’re easy to learn (most of the time), convenient, and can be modified for just about any fitness level!

I’ve also seen many, many clients through the years achieve phenomenal results with body weight exercises, not only maintaining their fitness levels but advancing their fitness levels by leaps and bounds.

I’ve also had many personal training clients and group fitness participants say to me, “Oh, I just didn’t work out this week because I was out of town and couldn’t get to my gym.” That’s just crazy. Doing something is better than nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love free weights, and resistance  bands and pretty much any kind of resistance you can think of, but at the end of the day, what matters is that you trained.

(Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products, the sales from a portion of which help support my blog, which I put a lot of effort into. The opinions of any products I review are my own, and I only recommend products which I believe are exceptional. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

Really, the only equipment you need is you, or a yoga mat or towel. I prefer a yoga towel because they’re sweat absorbent and can easily be folded and placed in a tote bag or suitcase.

So you see, you really can’t go wrong with this type of workout.

With body weight training, your body experiences these benefits:

  • Less chance of injury
  • Ability to focus on your form and technique, rather than the amount of weight you’re lifting
  • A convenient workout you can do just about anywhere
  • A multitude of exercises so you can add endless variety to your workouts

To give you a taste of body weight training, especially if you’re new to exercise, I’ve provided a sample workout for you. You can do this workout as many rounds as you like, but I recommend completing the series, one exercise after the other, with little to no rest in between, anywhere from two to five times. You can use any variations of these exercises that you like, so the possibilities are endless!

 

They are pretty basic exercises, but if you really do them correctly, you’ll definitely feel them working.

Squats: butt, legs

This classic exercise is one of the best at boosting your metabolism because it uses some of the largest muscle groups in your body. Try basic, plie, single-leg, and jump variations. Try holding still at the bottom of a squat for 30 extra seconds at the end of each set.

Side Planks: abs, obliques, lower back, shoulders    

Side planks can also be done on your elbows and also have lots of variations. The key is to make sure your head is in a straight line from your head to your heels.

Pushups: shoulders, triceps, chest

Another classic exercise, push-ups are a great way to get your heart pumping. They also have numerous modifications. And for those of you who need to build up your upper body strength, they can be done on your knees instead of your toes. Just don’t let your stomach hang to the floor and aim for a straight line from your head to your heels.

Lunges: butt, legs, core

Lunges are another exercise that can really rev up your metabolism. There are lots of ways to to do them too: static, front, rear, side. The options are almost endless. Just remember to put your weight into your front heel to stand. (If you’re a beginner, gradually make your lunges deeper and deeper as you get more fit.)

 

What’s your favorite body weight exercise?

Tell me in the comments below!

 

– Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quickie Cardio

Hi There! So it’s been a crazy week, with non-stop…well, everything! It’s my first week back at work since Christmas, and I’m having a rough time getting into the swing of things. Today’s workout is a way to break a sweat without leaving the house. I haven’t had much time to drive to the gym, so I need a way to stay warm…with the weather getting creepily close to 0 lately. I haven’t had time to take as many pics as I’ve needed to for this workout, so here goes. My philosophy is, being functionally fit and in shape should not take hours out of your day…who has time for that? I go to the gym to live, not live to go to the gym! This cardio workout uses just your body weight, but gets your heart rate going by using large muscle groups. 
Challenge: Each time you do the workout, add a round to each tabata set or 2 rounds for exercises that work one side at a time.. Example – 1st workout= 4x each set; 2nd workout = 6x total for rounds using one side at a time. Work up to 8x total. Enjoy this sweat fest!

Have fun with this. You’ll really push yourself but the effort is worth it! If you’ve been following my tabata workouts, this will be a great change of pace. In order to keep progressing, you must keep your body guessing!

Have fun! 


Julie A.

 

Workout Wednesday:Tempo Training and how it works.

There are times when we work for every rep in strength training, and then there are times, when we mindlessly go through the motions. It’s easy to do this with body weight, and resistance bands, and I’ll admit…sometimes, I need a little help being mindful of my muscles working. That’s were tempo training comes in. Tempo training forces you to use your muscles instead of momentum to do the work, so that you’re focusing on the work of your muscles to do the job. Here’s an example: Squat – instead of down, up, down, up think of this motion in phases and use a different amount of time for each segment. For example, 3 sec. to lower into parallel. 2 seconds to standing and 2 seconds at the top of the movement, contracting the glutes. Try it. You’ll definitely feel the muscles working. It usually only takes about 3 or for exercises for a muscle group to get completely burnt out when done this way, but sometimes, it’s good to shock your muscles, and this is one of the best ways to do it.Think quality over quantity.

Squats: keep knees and toes in the same directions, no pidgeon toes! Place hands in front of you  lower 3 seconds, stand 2 seconds, squeeze 2 seconds.

Push-ups: Even those of you who can do full push-ups may want to do the modified push-ups this time. Lower 2 seconds, push up 2 seconds, pause 3 seconds. This will help enable you to do more full push-ups, and get great abs.

Reverse Crunches: Zip up those abs and keep ’em zipped! Lower 3 seconds, Lift 2 seconds, Pause 3 seconds

Single-Leg Dead Lift: Find a focus point. This move was never meant to be rushed any way. If you’re unsure, add resistance and try a stiff-legged dead lift. But most importantly , your back must stay straight, abs in!
Throughout the movement. If your back rounds, you’ve lowered too far. Lower 3 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 2 seconds. (Add that squeeze.)

Bicep Curls: Use tubing or weights for this one. Lower 3 seconds, lift 2 seconds, pause at the top 3 seconds…this is a killer with resistance bands.

Side Plank with Hip Dip: Zip it up! Lower 2 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 3 seconds.

I would love your questions/comments on anything posted on this page! Thank you for reading! And if you like what you see, share the love!
Exercise tutorials are available on http://www.acefitness.org/