Body Weight Training: Getting Started
There are plenty of barriers and obstacles we can encounter when trying to get fit, but a lack of equipment shouldn’t be one of them. All you really need to start working on improving your health and fitness, is your own body and a bit of imagination.*
Body weight training is perfect if you’re looking to exercise on a budget or maintain your strength and fitness when traveling. The basic principle of body weight training is that you put your muscles to work against gravity and your own body mass – think lifts, squats, push-ups, etc – for a quick, challenging workout you can do anywhere.
*Always consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program, particularly when you have a medical condition.
The following are a few moves to get you started with body weight training:
Let’s start with a power burpee – a great way to get your heart rate up, work your core, and activate those hamstrings.
Begin in a standing position, arms by your sides and feet shoulder width apart. As with a traditional burpee, you want to drop quickly into a push-up position, then jump into a squat position, and follow that with a vertical leap into the air before dropping back to a squat.
To make this a power burpee, after dropping back into a squat, go for an explosive tuck-jump, pulling in your knees and jumping as high as you can. Do two sets of five to start out.
Now that you’ve got your circulation moving a little faster, switch your focus to your upper body to give your legs a bit of a break.
Go for a simple push-up and do as many as you can without stopping. Take the number of push-ups you managed and cut that in half, then do three sets of that number next time. Push-ups work the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps and really help tone the chest and arms, but good form is essential.
For a proper push-up, lie face down with your shoulders bent and hands flat to the floor about shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, push against the floor with your hands to extend your arms and lift your body. Imagine a line running from the top of your head to your ankles and try to keep this line as straight as possible.
The next body weight training exercise works your arms, legs, and core. It’s also a great excuse to bust out your breakdancing moves! A break-out push-up stretches out your chest and activates your oblique muscles.
Begin in a traditional push-up position, raise your body as usual and then, when your arms are fully extended, rotate your body to look to your right while kicking out your left leg to the right underneath your body. Drop back into a push-up and on the next lift, kick out your right leg to the left underneath your body. Do two sets of five reps to start.
Caterpillar (Prone) Walkout
Now that your arms and legs are feeling the burn, take things down a notch by doing your best impression of a caterpillar. The prone walkout helps with pelvic stability, and total body dynamic flexibility, and it’s pretty fun to do.
Start by standing on your tip toes with your feet hip width apart, then bend at the waist to touch your hands to the floor directly in front of your feet. Keeping your core muscles engaged, walk your hands forward until you’re in a push-up position, then walk your feet in towards your hands (while still on tip toes). Repeat this until you bump into a wall, or for about five walkouts.
Next up, dips. You’ll need a chair for this, although you could also use a bench in the park or the edge of a bed, depending on its height. This exercise works some of the same muscles as a push-up, but also works the rhomboid muscles in the back.
To get into position, stand with your back to the chair, bend your legs as if you’re going to sit down, and place the palms of your hands on the front edge of the seat. Walk your feet slowly out in front of you so that your arms are supporting most of your body weight.
Now you’re in position, inhale and slowly bend your arms, keeping your elbows tucked in, and lower your body until your arms are parallel to the floor. Hold that position for a half second, exhale and push slowly back up into your starting position. Do two sets of five to begin and increase as you get stronger.
Benefits of Body Weight Training
These are just a few great resistance exercises you can do in a small amount of time, in a small amount of space, using (almost) nothing but your own body. Adding these into your exercise regimen, alongside regular cardio, is an excellent way to build strength gradually without needing to buy expensive equipment.
Try adding a PGX protein shake* and some of these body weight training exercise to your workout schedule and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals!
* Drink additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®. If you are taking medications, take one hour prior to or two hours after taking PG