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No exercise equipment? No problem. Just use your body!

The world of fitness has so many training modalities that it can be hard to choose which ones to try. The truth is that even the simplest methods can work very well!

Body weight training is a prime example.  It does not involve cool looking weights, fancy bands, or other fitness gadgets, but it will absolutely help you get fit.  

A few key benefits of body weight training are:

  • Increased strength & muscular endurance
  • Improved mobility and flexibility
  • Low stress on the joints
  • Can be done anywhere
  • Does not require equipment
  • Offers variety in tension, reps, and control

Currently, we are in a time when going to a physical gym is not an option.  That leaves many of us trying to find ways to exercise at home and not everyone has access to fitness equipment.   If you haven’t incorporated body weight training into your workouts, now is the time to start.

Traditional body weight movements that implement all of the main movement patterns will result in a more optimal workout. These include the squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, and rotation. 

Here are just a few body weight exercises to do:

Squats: Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Slowly lower so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles (not beyond). Slowly rise and repeat.

Forward Lunges: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with right leg. Start to shift your weight forward so heel hits the floor first. Lower your body until right thigh is parallel to the floor and right shin is vertical. It’s OK if knee shifts forward a little as long as it doesn’t go past right toe. Press into right heel to drive back up to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Push Ups: Begin with your chest and stomach flat on the floor. Your legs should be straight out behind you and your palms should be at chest level with the arms bent out at a 45-degree angle. Exhale as you push from your hands and heels, bringing your torso, chest, and thighs off the ground. Pause for a second in the plank position — keep your core engaged. Inhale as you slowly lower back to your starting position.

Plank Walkouts: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend over and place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Shift weight onto your hands and begin to walk them forward. Using your core, walk out until you are in a plank position. Hold for a few seconds and then walk them back to the start position.

Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent.  Elongate and straighten your spine at a 45-degree angle from the floor, creating a V shape with your torso and thighs. Reach your arms straight out in front, interlacing your fingers or clasping your hands together. Use your abdominal muscles to twist to the right, then back to center, and then to the left.

by Alex Michaels, HealthEase Fitness Specialist