Body-Weight Exercises: Keeping Fit Wherever You Are

For every exercise performed in the gym with an equipment, there is an alternative that can be tried at home.

You might not be signed up to a gym and your work schedule might leave you with little time, but with just your body and some space you can have an effective workout routine. This is the essence of body weight exercises, workouts performed in your own space with your body as your only equipment.

For every exercise performed in the gym with an equipment, there is an alternative that can be tried at home. The good things about body weight exercises is that it can be done anywhere, it improves movement, it improves relative strength, it has lots of variations and it’s ultimately free.

Here are five body weight exercises you can build into a functional workout routine:

1. Push-ups: Push-ups help build the chest, shoulders and triceps and is a great stabilizer of the torso and lower back. While doing it, make sure your shoulders line up with your wrists and tuck your elbows in toward your side (avoid flaring your elbows out wide). Try to get your chest and hips as close to the floor as possible without touching it. There are lots of push up variations like one hand push-ups and decline push-ups that help make you even stronger.

2. Squats: Squats are an incredible conditioning tool. This movement engages all of the muscles in the lower body including the quads, glutes and hamstrings. It also tones your abs as you need your deep abdominal muscles and back to keep your torso upright and perform this exercise correctly.  You can perform them against the wall to drill proficiency and technique.

3. Planks: Planks are one of the best exercises if you are aiming to define your core. They strengthen your abs and tone your entire body. To do a plank you get into push-up position on the floor, bend your elbows at 90° and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your goal should be to hold it for two minutes and a repetition of not less than 5 times.

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4. Crab walk: This exercise targets your triceps, core and glutes, as well as challenges your coordination. To do a proper crab walk, Sit on the floor with your knees bent, your palms slightly behind your hips, and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your glutes a couple inches off the floor. This is the starting position. Simultaneously “walk” your right hand forward a few inches while straightening your left leg in front of you. Tap your heel to the floor. Pause, and then return to the starting position. Repeat, “walking” forward with your left hand and your right leg this time.

5. Burpees: Burpees have been called the most efficient exercise known to mankind. The great thing about burpees is that they combine cardio and strength into one exercise. A burpee is a complex, total-body exercise that will work your upper and lower body at the same time with a strong focus on the core. For an added cardio punch, add a tuck jump into the mix before the squat.