Joe Liotine Lifetime - Top 10 body weight exercises
The push-up is a classic bodyweight exercise, and it demonstrates quite clearly the
principle of bodyweight resistance training. While facing the floor and propped up
on hands and toes, push the body to and from the floor.
One "up-and-down" is one push-up repetition. Don't go too fast or too slow. Keep the
head and neck steady. Do as many as you can in one minute; rest, then try again.
Rest your knees on the ground if you find the exercise difficult when you first start
The squat without weights may seem easy, but once you get up to around the 15-rep
mark it starts to take a toll on the knees, upper legs and butt until you build some
condition. The squat develops legs and butt muscles and, over time, may
strengthen knee joints. However, be cautious with this exercise if you have an
existing knee injury or feel knee pain at any stage in the workout.
The lunge is a fundamental bodyweight exercise. Done in sets of eight or more (each
leg), lunges provide strength, balance and flexibility training. You can see how to
perform the lunge in the example of a weighted lunge.
Options include a variety of arm positions - at the sides, straight out in front,
raised at each side, crossed at the chest or straight up overhead. For example,
the arms raised at the sides provides better balance and stability than arms
crossed at the chest.
Other more advanced options include the backward lunge and the 45-degree angle
Crunches are a popular exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Many
different types of crunches are possible.
Some of the best are:
Standard crunch, in which the shoulders are raised off the floor while you contract
Reverse crunch, in which the legs and knees are raised off the floor while you
contract the abs.
Combo crunch, which is a combination of both of the above.
Bicycle crunch, which includes all of the above and you peddle your legs in the air.
Dips are performed with a chair or bench. You push up from a chair with arms behind
and legs out front. You can also use a special machine at the gym that makes it
easier. These are called "assisted dips."
For bench dips, you can start out with the legs bent at about 90 degrees and your
feet more or less flat on the floor. Then, extend them out as you get stronger until
you're "dipping" on your heels with your feet stretched out in front.
PULL UP AND CHIN UP
These exercises are variations of the one movement in which you haul yourself up off
the ground so that your face is more or less level with a high bar.
Pull-ups and chin-ups are difficult exercises for many people, especially women.
Although pull-ups or chin-ups are good examples of bodyweight exercises, you
may not have access to a pull-up bar at home. Most gyms have a pull-up bar, and
you can improvise at home or away with a beam or bar meant for other things.
But make sure it's solid and secure.
THE WALL SQUAT
Stand against a wall and slowly bend the knees while supporting your back with the
wall. Hold the position with thighs parallel to the floor for 10 seconds, then return
to the standing position.
THE WALL PUSH
Stand facing a solid wall, raise the arms and push hard against the wall for 10
seconds. Relax and repeat three times. This is an "isometric" exercise.
The bridge exercise has you on your back and pushing up with the legs while
maintaining balance with arms flat on the floor.
THE CHAIR STAND
Sit on a chair that is braced against a wall. Sit and stand 10 times then rest. Do three
These 10 bodyweight exercises will build good strength in a fitness program. You can
use most of them at just about any time and any place. For complete fitness, add
some running or fast walking or even interval training as well.
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