There’s no doubt that gyms are fantastic places to go and get fit, but sometimes they can get a little too busy with people using the equipment you need, which can slow your progress. This is especially true in the weights area where things can get pretty hectic, but why should this affect your workout? Your whole body is a weight! There are a whole bunch of different exercises that you can do with just yourself and a mat that target different muscle groups and make for a great workout.
A few things to keep in mind
If you are keen to start working on your toning and muscles, the most important thing is to turn it into a habit rather than a chore. If it’s something you dread or resent, you’re not likely to keep things consistent, which won’t really get you the results you want.
Although bodyweight training is really basic in form, you will need some structure about your approach. You’ll need to:
- Establish your routine – will it be every morning, when you get back from work or in the evening? Make it fit your life and not the other way round.
- Tracking your progress – results are what we want, so keep an eye on how you’re doing. Are you able to do 5 more push ups then you could a couple of weeks ago? That’s progress, so keep it up! Have a set goal of reps to reach for and aim to reach it.
- Space and time – Make sure you leave time for your workout and you have a space (in your room, living room, wherever works!) so that you aren’t interrupted.
- Warm up – It’s important to get your heart pumping and muscles loosened so jog on the spot or do some light cardio before getting stuck in.
FOUR examples of bodyweight exercises
Push ups – A classic that just about any fitness junkie can swear by, push ups work your chest, shoulders, abs and triceps all at once, making it a great all-round bodyweight exercise. As well as engaging the core muscles (great for posture and balance) it also works the shoulders and chest at the same time for a great toning effect.
Bodyweight squats – Great for conditioning and increasing mobility of the ankles and hips, bodyweight squats can be performed by leaning up against a wall to keep your spine straight. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and place your hands behind your head. Flex your knees and hips, sitting back against the wall and lowering yourself down before returning to the original, standing position. Make sure you keep your head and chest up and your knees out.
Burpees – despite the odd name, burpees combine a good cardio workout with some weight resistance. Start off in a low squat position with your hands on the floor, palms down in front of you. Kick your feet back all the way to a push up position, do the push up and then bring your feet forward again into the squat position. For the final stage, jump up in a straight line as high as possible before landing, squatting and starting again.
Planks – A very popular exercise, planks target the abdominal and arm muscles and is really easy to do! Lie face down on a yoga mat with your legs extended and place your elbows underneath your shoulders, resting your forearms on the ground. Lift your body as if you were doing a push up, but keep your self-raised on your toes, using your core muscles to keep you upright and flat. Hold this position as long as you can and repeat after a short rest.
So there you have it - Bodyweight exercises you can do just about anywhere. Remember to take things at your own pace, so start off easy and build yourself up. Good luck!