Does your current workout routine have you breaking the bank instead of a sweat? Chuck Norris round houses you in the face with late night infomercials about his home gym, athletic clubs offer the bells and whistles of being fed Napa grapes while you become a California Raisin in their whirlpool, and don't even get me started on Tony Little and his goofy Gazelle machine. The fitness industry is a cash cow, but luckily the newest, hottest fitness trend for 2015 will keep your wallet heavy and your waist trim. Body weight resistance training requires one thing – you. The days of securing your weight machine by placing your towel, left shoe and birth certificate on the seat so good-time Tony and the boys don't swoop in and interrupt your sets are over. Body weight training is a great way for novice gym-goers to perfect their form, all while building strength and confidence. It's time to burn calories and former exercise bridges by ditching your old fitness routine and start body weight training instead.
Push Forward. Put away your disinfecting wipes and hazmat suits, as we won't be using the bench press bench today. Push-ups are as old school and all-star as Larry Bird in a Celtic's jersey. This exercise uses gravity in conjunction with your body weight to strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps. Most people do the worm dance when trying to perform a push-up. There is no shame in starting on your knees or only pumping out a few, in order to perfect your form. It is essential to remember that form comes before function. In order to properly execute the push-up follow this checklist:
1. Core is activated
2. Shoulders are aligned with the wrists
3. The body is in a straight line – no sagging backs
You can "push-up" the intensity by varying the position of your hands into the shape of a diamond (15 reps, 3 sets)
Pull Through. Bicep curls, meet your better looking half – the pull-up. This exercise evokes nightmarish memories of my high school gym teacher (who was also my field hockey coach), in which she would taunt me because I could not properly perform a pull-up, or lift my body weight more than an inch or so off the ground. To make matters worse, the cutest guy in school always managed to be in my fitness class. In my fourteen year old mind, there was nothing more horrifying than wearing your father's oversized Hanes' t-shirt, labeled with black Sharpie marker "Greenblatt," while your coach barked spirit shattering sentences like, "Greenblatt just hang there like a baboon for sixty seconds if your upper body isn't strong enough to complete one (emphasis on the number one) pull-up." My point being, pull-ups can be extremely challenging, yet are highly effective. Most gyms offer pull-up machines for novices who want to become acclimated with recruiting the proper muscles before advancing to the unassisted pull-up. This exercise rivals curls in developing bicep bulge. Further, it targets every muscle in the body, specifically the core, arms and Lats. (8-10 reps, 3 sets - or until fatigued)
Jump Around. The Burpee is my favorite body weight exercise. While the name is absolutely ridiculous, the cardio and strengthening effects on the body are not. The Burpee is a full-body explosive exercise that burns fat, while promoting coordination. This exercise is a chameleon in that you can change up the difficulty by adding variations and progressions to increase difficulty. Here is how it works:
1. Start in a standing position (shoulders back, core engaged)
2. Bring your palms down to the ground and jet your feet back into a push-up position
3. Jump feet forward into a frog position and explode upward into a jump (10-15 reps, 3 sets)
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