Written by Barbara Whatley, Spa & Fitness Director.
No matter your age, gender or fitness level, bodyweight workouts can help you lean up and lose weight. These workouts use NO weights, NO dumbbells and NO machines! All you need is…YOU! Just like the name implies, you use your own body weight to exercise.
Benefits of Using Your Own Bodyweight
Bodyweight exercises build strength, boost cardiovascular health and burn fat. Machines at the gym usually target one specific muscle group—biceps, triceps, hamstrings, etc. However, bodyweight exercises involve compound movements that activate and sculpt multiple muscle groups. These workouts will help you achieve your goals using less weight and less time. Who knew less could get you more at the gym?
Haven’t Seen the Gym in a While? No Problem.
What if you haven’t hit the gym in a few months…or even the last decade? It doesn’t matter! Bodyweight exercises are great for beginners who want to go beyond the basics. Because you are using your own body for these exercises, you will be able to measure your success by how strong you feel.
Bodyweight exercises are a great alternative to your regular workout routine. You can add them in between workout sets or use them to replace specific exercises. ALWAYS remember before working out to warm up with a simple exercise such as jogging or jump rope. It’s important to get your muscles warmed up and stretched out before attempting more vigorous activity.
As your fitness level and strength increase, try intensifying your exercises by altering the duration, repetition, speed and/or movement. To earn a better understanding of how adjusting these factors can change the difficulty of an exercise, try this:
Part 1: Duration
- Pick one of these bodyweight exercises: pushups or body squats
- Set a timer for 60-90 seconds.
- Using proper technique, do as many as you can and DO NOT STOP until time is up!
- Rest for 30-45 seconds while you read Part 2.
Not bad, right? Exercises will feel harder when performed for longer durations than 30-45 seconds. This is because you are engaging the muscles while also activating your cardiovascular system. Time to keep going!
Part 2: Repetition
- Reduce your time by 15 seconds less than Part 1.
- Perform the same exercise, again. Just like before, do as many as you can!
- Rest for 30-45 seconds while you read Part 3.
Whoa, great job! Even though you reduced the duration of the exercise by 15 seconds, it was harder than Part 1 because your muscles were already engaged and your heart rate was already up. By repeating a workout, you begin to exhaust the muscles. You’re almost done, keep pushing!
Part 3: Speed
- Before you start, NOTE: Faster DOES NOT always mean more difficult, unless you’re doing a cardiovascular exercise.
- Reset your timer to the same time as in Part 2.
- Slow down the exercise. Count to 3 seconds as you go down and count again to 3 seconds as you come up.
You’re done! Feel the difference? When you slow an exercise down, you are working the muscle for longer, which is why it is so much harder!
As discussed in the previous fitness blog post, switching up your exercise routine every once in awhile is crucial to fitness growth. If you are performing the same workout every day using the same amount of weight (your body weight), eventually your body will plateau. This is when you should challenge yourself to perform a more difficult variation of the workout. For example, if you can perform a set of pushups easily, try widening your hands or even going all the way to the ground then back up. More advanced gym goers can add movements to increase the difficulty level, such as performing a push up with an arm reach.
Here are a few other bodyweight exercises to add to your workout:
- Plank variations
- Pushup variations
- Walking lunges
- Curtsy lunges
- Wall squats
- Bench dips
- Donkey kicks
Ask our Personal Trainers!
The most important factor in gaining results from these workouts is technique. If you are unsure if you are performing a workout correctly, members can ask a Golden Ocala personal trainer for assistance. We want to make sure you are succeeding in the gym and reaching your fitness goals. In addition, our fitness trainers can even give you ideas on some bodyweight exercises you can do at home!