Sometimes you don’t have the convenience of weights to get your workout in for the day, and sometimes you may just want to change things up. Whatever the case may be, exercises that utilize your own body weight are a great way to challenge your muscles, and many weight-free body exercises also mimic movements that you do every day, so they are a great way to improve your fitness level in a functional way! Try this workout that will tighten, tone and challenge your body without even touching a weight or dumbbell.
Pull-ups / Chin-ups
Muscles worked: Back and Biceps
To do a pull-up or chin-up you will have to utilize a bar that is designed to hold your bodyweight and is high enough above the ground so that your feet won’t hit the ground as you extend your arms. The monkey bars (as seen in the photo above) at a park are a great example, and of course there are pull-up stations at your LA Fitness as well.
Lateral Arm Raises and Rotations
Muscles worked: Shoulders
To complete a lateral arm raise, extend your arms straight out from your sides (as seen in the photo) to shoulder height or slightly higher. With your arms straight, repeat the motion of bringing your hands down to your hips and back up again to shoulder height. Do 15 to 20 reps. You can also do shoulder rotations by holding your arms straight out at your sides extended to shoulder height make small forward or backward circles until your shoulders are fatigued. This is also a great way to warm-up your shoulders for more intense exercises.
Muscles worked: Chest, shoulders, abs and triceps
When doing a pushup, your body should be like a plank which means that you have to tighten your leg and core muscles; this provides a good secondary workout for your core. The primary muscle group worked that you use during the movement of a pushup is your chest, but your shoulders and triceps play a role as well. Pushups are a tried and true exercise that offers a great way to challenge your body, while using your body weight and gravity to create resistance. If a traditional pushup is too challenging for you to properly perform, then try elevating your upper body by stabilizing your hands on a flat bench. This will reduce the amount gravity, or resistance, allowing you to adjust the difficulty without changing your body positioning like a regression from your feet to knees does. Of course, if a pushup from your knees is what works for you there is nothing wrong with that either! Keep doing your pushups, and as you get better at doing them, find ways to challenge yourself with slower reps or explosive reps with hand claps.
Walking Lunges or Stationary Lunges
Muscles worked: Legs and butt
During stationary lunges you step forward and then step back to your original position before stepping into your next lunge. With a stationary lunge you can either alternate legs or do repetitive reps with the same leg before alternating or switching. During a walking lunge you will continually move forward as you step into the lunge, one foot after the other, without returning your original position.
Triceps Bench Dips
Muscle worked: Triceps
Triceps bench dips are all about making sure that you only move through your elbows during the exercise. Position your body with your heels on the ground—your heels are your pivot point—and your hands on the edge of the bench. Reference the photos, this one can be a bit tricky and the pictures really help. A couple of key points to remember: Keep your shoulders down and don’t let them scrunch-up toward your ears, let your arms do the work and don’t let your elbows bend past a 90 degree angle, start with a short-range of motion and increase a little each rep until you find a comfortable range for your fitness level, and finally, make sure you extend all the way on the upward movement to get a full contraction of your triceps.
Weights and machines are great, but sometimes you need options. When this is the case don’t forget that your body combined with gravity can provide you a fun and challenging workout.
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