You don’t need expensive equipment or hundreds of pounds of weights to get into great shape. Mix and match the body weight exercises listed here to get a well balanced workout for your upper body, lower body and cardiovascular system. These are 4 fantastic exercises you can do at your home, office –– anywhere –– on those days when you just can’t make it to the gym.
Is it possible to imagine a simpler exercise that is at the same time so hard? Burpees are a notoriously challenging exercise that have been dreaded by athletes for generations. But they’re also a great exercise you can do at home (unless you live in an apartment with neighbors beneath you). As with a lot of things in the world of fitness, the harder it is, the more it’s worth it.
Burpees start on the ground. You lift your body weight up off of the ground using a push-up and leap up to complete a jumping jack before diving back onto the ground to do it all again. It’s a great example of a body weight exercise that works your arms and legs, too.
Push-Ups & Planks
Push-ups are not glamorous, but when done correctly with good form, push-ups can help boost muscle mass quickly. These exercises are also convenient to do in an office or hotel room if you’re traveling for work or on vacation. Push-ups will exercise your pectoral muscles, shoulders, deltoids, triceps and deltoids. In addition to the upper body, push-ups will strengthen the core. Ten sets of ten push-ups are a good goal to shoot for at the beginning.
We’re adding planks to this list because they are basically a push-up without the “push.” Planks are great exercises you can do at home for your core, too. What’s more, they are a safe way to strengthen your core without having to worry about injury to the spine. You should be able to hold a plank for two minutes and can work up to it in 30 second blocks. The plank also trains the body to use the abdominals to stabilize itself. The more planks you do, the more your body’s muscles will work to do this.
When you’re doing a plank, your chest, abdominals and thighs should be activated and engaged, your elbows and toes should be touching the ground and you should be holding the rest of your body weight up.
There are many other types of plank exercises you can do at home. You can do side planks on either side to work in your obliques. Planking teaches your body an invaluable skill that can come in handy for all manner of physical activities.
Sit-ups & Crunches
Sit-ups strengthen your core, naturally. But a lot of people don’t realize that sit-ups also exercise the thighs, too. Specifically, the sit-ups work out the quadriceps, including the sartorius and rectus femoris.
The difference between a sit-up and a crunch is somewhat subtle. A sit-up begins with your back on the floor with hands behind your head. Raising your chest until it fully touches the tops of your thighs, and then extending back down until your back is once again on the floor completes the motion.
A crunch, on the other hand, focuses entirely on the abdominal muscles and is considered a half sit-up. Crunches start at halfway through the full motion of a sit-up, beyond the portion of the motion of a sit-up that exercises the hip flexors, the chest, neck, lower back and lower legs.
In addition, it should be noted that sit-ups don’t exercise the entire abdominal section. Muscles like the transverse abdominis aren’t worked out by sit-ups, though they are essential to good posture. Ten sets of ten sit-ups are a good goal to shoot for when first starting.
Like a lot of exercises you can do at home listed here, there are countless modifications you can do to lunges to change it up and make things more interesting. Forward lunges, side lunges, or even glute-activating lunges can all help isolate and exercise specific muscles that you want to target.
To do an effective forward lunge, you start standing with both feet shoulder width apart. Step forward as far as you comfortably can with one foot, and then bend your other knee down to touch the floor. One thing many beginners fail to do is to lunge deeply enough. If you do so repeatedly, you’ll definitely begin to feel the burn in your glutes.
Side lunges and glute-activation lunges can work out your hip flexors as well as your glutes and thighs. Forward lunges exercise your abs, hips, glutes and hamstrings. Whichever route you take for lunge exercises you can do at home, you’re making a good choice.
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