Wanting to start a new fitness routine but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re just sick of the same old exercises and are ready for something new. A bodyweight fitness routine might just be the answer – and the best part is, you don’t need any equipment and there is definitely no joining fees or ongoing contracts.
Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, no matter what your fitness level. From the Zen of Yoga to gruelling Military style workouts, bodyweight training is efficient and provides the opportunity for you to vary your workout intensity. With repeat sets of just a few exercises you can incorporate both cardio and strength training for optimal fitness and an overall workout.
Bodyweight exercises are generally safe and present a low risk for injury, making them perfect for beginners, elderly and even children. Furthermore, bodyweight exercise engage core and stabilising muscles in natural ranges of movement and function which makes them ideal for improving muscle weaknesses and correcting imbalances, strengthening the lower back and improving posture.
More specifically for children, body weight exercises improve balance, co-ordination, fundamental movement skills and spatial awareness, which are important for development and provide a foundation for academic learning.
So why not, put away the weights and give a body weight workout a go.
Here is a simple bodyweight workout that anyone, including the kids, can do with progressions to increase the intensity as your fitness increases.
Continue each exercise for 1 minute and repeat 5 times for a quick 30min workout.
1. Jog on the spot
If you have difficulties jogging, start by marching in place – but don’t forget to use your arms!
Progression: High knee running
2. Push Ups
If you can’t do a traditional push up initially, don’t stress, start by placing you palms on the wall at shoulder height, bending from your elbows, keeping your back straight, lower your chest to the wall.
Progression: Move from using the wall to using the edge of a bench or table, gradually moving to lower levels such as the edge of a chair or bed, eventually completing a full push up from lying on the floor. From the floor push ups can be done balancing on your knees or on your toes.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your weight focused in your heels. Bend your knees and hips and lower your body, bringing your thighs parallel with the floor (or as low as you can), keeping your toes behind your knees at all times.
Progression: Widen your stance and squat down as far as you can. Add small pulses or pauses at the bottom of the squat
4. Mt Climbers
From a traditional push up position (hands on the floor, arms extended, back straight, balancing on your toes), hold your body weight over your shoulders and bring one leg at a time up under your chest, then return it to the floor to change legs (in a running fashion)
Progression: Run faster!
5. Lunge and Shoulder Raise
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, hands on your hips. Take a large step forward with one leg and slowly bend your other leg to lower your knee to the floor. Your front knee should be behind your toes, with your thigh parallel with the floor (or as far down as you can). As you slowly lower your body, gently raise one arm to the side until it is at shoulder level. As you lift your body up out of the lunge, lower your arm and alternate sides.
Progression: Rather than lifting out of the lung and alternating legs, push from both legs, jumping up and alternating legs before you land.
This one is all about using those core muscles. Start lying face down, with forearms on the floor, extent your legs out behind you, use your core muscles to lift your body up off the floor, balancing on either your toes or knees. Hold this position, keeping your core strong and body in a straight line (not with your butt poking up or stomach dipped in the middle). You may need to build to a minute – try for 30 seconds, rest and repeat
Progression: If you are managing a minute no worries, try rolling to the side and balancing on one elbow for a side plank. Remember to do both sides.