You can build fitness and strength without the use of any equipment or a gym. This is something you can do in the comfort of your own home or when travelling. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say, “I am just too busy”, or the best one yet, “I am so unfit”!!! Well, it only takes 15 minutes of your time to fit in a few exercises a day. Be it morning, afternoon or evening, you can do it! Before you sit on the Sofa at the end of the day, set aside fifteen minutes, get on your knees and do your exercises.
When most people think about ‘bodyweight training’, they picture themselves doing endless reps of sit-ups and push-ups. But training like that won’t get you anywhere.
If you want to get stronger, you need to apply the principle of progressive overload (which is just like gradually increasing the weights you lift in the gym). When you apply progressive overload to bodyweight exercises, they are a fantastic way of building muscle. It could even be argued that bodyweight exercises are better than training with weights, because the movements are very natural and you’re much less likely to injure yourself.
Here are a few body weight exercises to get you on your way.
Jumping Squats – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
Lunges – Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart and flat on the ground. Take a big step forward with your right leg. Lower your body until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself upwards with your right foot. Repeat the forward lunge.
Step-Ups – To do a step-up, you’ll need a small step stool. Or you can stand in front of the stairs. Pushing primarily through your lead foot, lift your body up onto the step. Then step backward to the starting position.
Bridges – Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor under your knees. Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles. Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Squeeze your core and pull your belly button back toward your spine. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then return to your starting position. Complete at least 10 reps.
Superman – Lie facedown on the floor with your arms extended in front of you and your legs extended behind you. In one movement, engage your glutes and lower back to raise your arms, legs, and chest off the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and return to starting position.
Quadruped Limb Raises – While maintaining a neutral spine, kneel on the floor in a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Raise your opposite arm and leg straight out, keeping your abs braced, stomach in and your whole body in one straight line from head to foot.
Mountain Climbers – Put both hands and knees on the floor. Place your right foot near your right hand and extend your left leg behind you. In one smooth motion, switch your legs, keeping your arms in the same position. Switch your legs back and forth twice, such that your right leg is again close to your right hand.
Plank Toe Touches – Begin in a plank position. Engage core and hinge from the hip to bring your right hand towards your left foot and tap, keeping the spine elongated. Return to the plank and repeat, alternating sides.