As people venture to create new and modern/exciting pieces of exercise kit we must not forget to keep in mind that one of the best methods of exercise and conditioning is to utilise your own body/body weight.

There are many exercises you can use to get yourself into great shape.  Some classic some modern.

The minute I mention working out what usually springs to mind?  We usually think of people in the modern day gym on some kind of machine or pressing weights.  Well in this article were going to talk about the weight free workouts and how they can be a great way of getting yourself into awesome shape.

More and more people are looking at workouts they can do quickly and in their own time/homes that will enable them to reach their health/fitness goals.  The popularity of bodyweight training is increasing by the day with more and more jumping on the band wagon.

So lets look at the benefits

  • Little to no equipment required
  • Can be done almost anywhere - home - garden - park - garage
  • Time effective
  • Can be low impact 
  • Increased stability
  • Increased fitness

These are but a few!!!

So lets get to it!!!

Here are bodyweight exercises you can use to build your fitness and help you climb towards your goals.

Try the moves that you can do and then you can build up a good level of flexibility and fitness allowing you to progress to more advanced moves.

Don't run before you can crawl/walk but always challenge yourself - make your body change!!!

Press Ups - as with most exercises the press up can be adapted to become either easier or more difficult dependant on your fitness level.

It is a classic bodyweight exercise - here are some variations.

Wide hand placement - simply place the hands slightly more than shoulder with apart and perform the movement.

Close hand placement - adjusting the hand positions allows you to create a different stimuli and focus on the working muscles - the closer the grip the more activation of the triceps (back of the upper arm)

Raise one leg - if you raise a leg off the ground this creates a unstable base which makes you work harder to stabilise yourself while performing the movement.

Raise the legs - changing the level of the press up shifts the emphasis of muscular activation so you can emphasise upper central or lower chest to a greater degree.

Shadow boxing - you may have seen many a boxer throwing punches into the air focusing on their technique and movement.  You need to get into a fighting stance and choose either:

  • Orthodox - this is where you place the left foot at the front and the right foot at the back so your less dominant side is further forward - used by right handed people
  • Southpaw - the opposite to Orthodox for those who are left side dominant.

How can shadow boxing be made challenging, try throwing the following.

Jab - to stick out the front arm

Right hand - use the right hand

1-2 changing between left and right

Uppercut - throwing a uppercut coming from low as if to hit under the chin

Slip - this is to evade a punch slipping the body to the side

Duck - to evade a punch by ducking out of its way

1-2 - hook -so now we can combine the 1-2 and add a hook from the side

The above are very basic but try combining the moves to make a great workout.

Plank - It is as it says???? well get into a press up position then lower yourself onto your elbows and flatten your hands on the floor.  Keep a good neutral position and draw the belly button in and up keep this position and feel the abs begin to work.  Again to regress go to the knees.  To progress try lifting a leg or using your sofa by either putting your feet on it or hands changing the level and angle.

Get Ups - No im not meaning get out of bed!!! The get up is a great move that includes the whole body.  its simple all you have to do is lay down on your front and shoot back up to a standing position.  As you build up your repetitions feel your heart rate shoot up!!!

So variations hmmmmmm

Get up jump - add a jump to the standing element of the movement and reach for the sky as high as you can!!!

Get up to squat - lay down stand and do a bodyweight squat

1 leg get up - this is a little more challenging - on your way down and up use one leg this will challenge your stability too

Ice Skaters - good if your training to be a hockey player or ice skater- this takes a little more co-ordination and stability but if you feel ready give it a whirl.  Jump side ways from one leg to another and touch your toe or the floor if you feel your stability is too compromised.

Spring up - like the get up but with a little more flexibility required.  You go into the plank position then in a yoga like pose you spring back up to standing look at the pic to check your form.

Squat - the squat is a fantastic move that should be performed by all.  So to perform a squat if you havent before it is like lowering yourself into a chair and before your backside touches you return to a standing position and repeat.

Jump squat - add a jump to the top of the movement launching yourself upwards.

Close feet squat - change the position of the feet - again changing the feet position allows stimulation of a different part of the muscle.

Sumo or wide feet squat - assume the stance of a sumo wrestler aka wide feet stance

Remember a small change can make a great difference to an exercise.

Running - great for the CV system running has been the key to the caveman hunting or running away it worked to keep them in top condition and it will for you!  I know many people find it boring so put in some skips side stepping and stairs if you can find some!!!

Jumps - can be performed in a multitude of ways

Side to side - this reminds me of a skier going down a slalom - place your feet together and imagine skiing down a mountain side jumping side to side - keeping your knees soft and off lock

Frog jumps - if your flexible enough get into a scrunched up position and jump forward - this can be difficult if you need to develop more flexibility use other exercises and when you reach a greater degree of flexibility give it a go.

High knees - simply bring your knees as high as comfortable and then work on raising them higher as you progress

Star jumps - a classic movement - stand with arms at the sides then jump into a star like formation then return to the start.

Hand Walk outs - from a standing position bend forward placing the hands on the floor and then walk them out until you reach a press up position then reverse the motion and repeat

Bear crawl - to crawl like a bear - a great way of coordinating the hands and feet whilst getting a kick-ass workout.  Whilst bearing your weight between hands and feet crawl across the room and feel yourself work!!!

Side floor touches - With the feet together do a mini squat and tough the floor at both sides of you.
Plank position 4 way jumps - In a plank/press up position hold good form whilst using your legs to jump forward back left and right.

Side leg raises - as you may have noticed different moves evoke a different response some may seem  more demanding on the muscle others more demanding on CV ability.  For the side leg raises stand and raise one leg to the side whilst keeping a good stable position.

Windmill toe touches - with legs in a wide stance touch your right foot/toe with your left hand then the opposite and keep the motion going.

The moves above are but a few but as I have shown you can modify or regress movements to suit you.  Don't be afraid to include a little creativity to keep your workout spiced up and stave away any boredom.

Create your own workout with the moves above but always remember to consult a doctor before you go ahead to be sure you are in good health and able to start an exercise programme.

Keep moving forward!!!!!!!

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