Did you know that you can use your own bodyweight for resistance training? Before dumbbells, barbells and exercise equipment were invented, people from the ancient times use their bodies to create resistance for strength training. The whole process is very simple to do. It is convenient and very effective too. You can exercise anytime and anywhere.
If you are interested, then, I’ll let you in on my core resistance body weight exercises. It is a combination of calisthenics, some plyometrics, a bit of stretching and yoga movements. It can’t be categorized as just one exercise and sometimes, it is to be expected that variety of movements may happen. Still, it’s a great way to do strength training exercise at home or at work.
You can modify these exercises if you want to adjust the difficulty level. Here are six exercises to build core strength just by using your body weight.
The Classic Push-Ups
There is nothing more original than push-ups when it comes to body weight resistance training. You will be engaging your core muscles by using your own body weight.
If you have an exercise mat, you can use that. Otherwise, you can put a towel on the floor or use the carpeted area in your office to perform the exercise.
1. Lie on your stomach.
2. Place your hands firmly on the floor by squeezing your elbows out.
3. Move your hands up to your shoulders with a bit of space inside. (Don’t flatten your palm on the floor.)
4. Tuck your tummy in as you push your body up.
5. Your arms must support your upper body while your abs pulls the strength to keep the body in position.
6. Your toes must be parallel to your palms.
7. Go up and down, as many as you can in 60 seconds. Rest and repeat.
8. It must be done at a regular pace – not too quick and not that slow.
9. The neck must not be strained all throughout the exercise.
What muscles are affected in doing the push-ups? Basically the midsection, the chest, shoulders, triceps and upper arms will benefit from this exercise.
Are there any modifications to make the exercise easier or harder? Well, to make it easy for a newbie to do, you can do the push-up with your knees rather than the toes. If you want to make it harder, try the one-arm push-up.
Bah! Leg squats, you say? That’ easy peasy! Or so you think. Count 1, 2, 3 and 4 is easy. But when you get to count 5, your legs will get weary band by then, the muscles on your legs will feel the body weight. Hit the 20-count mark and tell me if it’s still easy.
1. It would be best to wear gym shoes while doing this as it can add to your body balance and form.
2. Stand straight with your feet firm to the ground and parallel to your shoulders.
3. You can put your hands on your hips or cross it over your shoulders. You can also put it out straight up or simply hang it on your side.
4. Your spine must be straight while doing the squats.
5. Bend your knees as far as you can without compromising your form. Then, go back up. That’s one count.
What can squats do for my legs? Well, it’s not just the legs that the squats can improve over time. Your buttocks will also benefit from squatting and your knees as well.
Note: If you have a knee injury, don’t strain your knee joints. In the event that you feel even the slightest pain, stop your exercise immediately.
You can do 3 sets of squats at 12-15 counts.
What is the best bodyweight exercise? If you ask me, I will say, it’s the leg lunges. Why? Well, you need to master the art of body balance, body stability and body strength just to be able to perform this exercise well. I tell you, it will really sting. You can do 8 counts per leg (right and left) and that will be an achievement, especially for a beginner.
1. Place your left leg in front of your right leg.
2. The distance must be at least half a meter for right to left foot
3. While your left leg is straight, your right leg has to bend down but don’t touch the floor.
4. Go back up and that’s one count.
5. Repeat until you complete one set per leg.
Are there any variations? Well, you can always add to the weight by making your hands “do” something. Hands in front, hands up, hands on side, on hips and crossed on shoulders – you can try these with your leg lunges.
Crunches are a key exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Many different types of crunches are possible. Some of the best are:
When you say “crunches”, the answer is “abs exercise”. It will truly strengthen your midsection without much hassle. How to do your crunches? Try any one of these:
1. You can do the regular crunches. Lie on your back, arms behind your neck and squeeze your abs going up. Your shoulders must be elevated. No strain on the neck.
2. It is a must to try the reverse crunch. Instead of the shoulders going up, raise our knees and legs instead.
3. Double crunches are a challenge but it can be done. It is a combination of reverse and regular crunch.
4. Bicycle crunches are also good. Do you know how to ride a bike? Well, try to do that upward and
You can use a chair or a bench when performing this exercise.
1. You need to sit on the chair or bench before doing the dip.
2. It has to be secured so that you won’t fall.
3. With your arms supporting your body, hand your butt and try to go down on the floor without touching it.
4. Your legs must be bent the whole time.
5. One count is going down and back up.
Try to do 5 counts at first then, gradually increase as your triceps begin to increase in strength.
Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups
You need a bar to do this exercise.
1. Jump up and take a firm grip on the bar above you. Overhand grip is preferred.
2. Your feet must not touch the ground.
3. Try to pull your body up until your chin reaches the bar.
4. You can go higher than that if you can do it.
5. Go back slowly down and repeat the process.
Do the pull-ups as many as you can in 60 seconds. After that, take a brief pause, then, repeat.
Note: Not everyone can do the pull-ups at first. It is a very difficult exercise but, you just have to try. In time, you will succeed in doing the body weight exercise properly. You just have to be persistent.