When it comes to exercise, not all are equal and sometimes we need to pick favorites. Some people think you need every piece of equipment possible in order to get the body you want and that my friends is simply not true. You possess the most effective piece of equipment there is: your own body.
Bodyweight exercises are the holy grail of strength training. They are basically like having your own traveling gym with you everywhere you go. Let me tell you about the only exercises you need to get healthy and fit!
The good ol’ push up. They have been forced upon us since 6th grade phys-ed. The push up is more of a full body exercise than you may have thought. Push-ups strengthen your forearms, chest and shoulders while increasing stability in your core and lower back. For a standard push up, your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders and your hands angled whichever way is most comfortable. Your feet should be shoulder-width or closer together, whatever is most comfortable for you. Try and keep your body in one straight line as you lower. Do as many as you can without dropping to your knees.
Stay in your push-up position and show your core some love with this exercise. Whether you do it on your hands or elbows the benefits are substantial. Your hands or elbows should be directly below your shoulders. You want to make sure your body is in a straight line for this exercise and don’t let your back arch! Plank works your core, shoulders, and glutes!
If a toned backside and legs is your goal, lunges are your new bff. When it comes to the lunge, form is very important in order to protect your joints. Keep your upper body straight, chin up and head forward. Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are at a 90 degree angle. Make sure your knee is directly about your ankle and not pushed too far forward, alternate legs and repeat. Want to get a little crazy? Make these jumping lunges. Your butt will thank you.
Dreaded but effective, the squat is amazing. The squat works the biggest muscles in our bodies, our legs, which in turn helps us burn fat all over our bodies! Have your feet shoulder width apart, with your feet turned slightly out. Bend your knees and lower yourself as though you are sitting down in a chair. Keep your knees above your toes, you can put your arms out in front of you to help you stay balanced. Make this a cardiovascular exercise by adding a jump between squats!
The burpee is the MVP of body weight exercises, it incorporates all of the muscle groups while doubling as cardio. Start with a push up, hop your legs forward towards your hands and jump into the air like you just don’t care, and then repeat! The burpee feels like cruel and unusual punishment but it’s really just a reward in disguise.
These five exercises can be done anywhere at anytime without equipment. Can’t fit in a fitness class? Do 20 reps of each exercise in the stairwell at work and the results will have you preaching burpees and squats to everyone you know!