How To Setup A Beginner Body Weight Workout Routine
Sometimes you suddenly find yourself motivated to get in better shape, but you don’t feel that you have the money, time or equipment necessary to set up a good workout routine. What you may not realize is that to get a good body weight workout all you need is your body. You can get started any time and anywhere the urge strikes… even if that means just doing a home workout.
In this article, we will describe four simple exercises that you can do right now to get started on the path to optimum health and fitness. Read on to learn more.
The Plank & The Pushup
Two classic body weight exercises to build muscle and strength are the plank and the pushup. You may not be able to do push-ups immediately, but you can start doing the plank to build up strength in your arms, shoulders abdomen and back.
To perform the plank, simply lie face down on a firm surface (e.g. the floor or the ground) and prop yourself up on your forearms with your palms facing downward. Support your weight on your elbows and toes. Tuck in your pelvis and contract your abs to create a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. This is why this exercise is called the plank!
Breathe in and out deeply and slowly and count to 30. Release and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times. It may not sound like much of a challenge, but you will find yourself tired after several repetitions.
After you’ve built up your strength and endurance, extend the length of time that you hold the position. Gradually you will want to transition into push-ups.
To perform push-ups, you will position yourself much as you did to perform the plank. The difference is that you will want to have your hands placed comfortably at shoulder width palms down on the floor or the ground. Start with your chest against the ground and gradually raise yourself so that your arms are straight with elbows just slightly bent. Don’t straighten your elbows entirely because they may lock up.
Don’t rush to perform push-ups. Take your time and raise yourself slowly and smoothly. Control the rate at which you lower yourself as well. Form is everything. If you make jerky motions or simply allow yourself to fall, you will not gain much benefit from the exercise and you may injure yourself.
If you are only able to perform one or two push-ups to begin with, leave it at that. You may wish to take a break from push-ups, perform some other exercise and then come back to it perform a few more. Don’t overdo. Give your body a chance to build in strength and endurance.
Be sure to breathe steadily and deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth while performing the plank and the push-up.
Squats & Lunges
For lower body strength, squats and lunges are excellent. To perform squats, you may wish to position yourself behind a chair or beside a counter top or other surface that you can rest your hands upon to steady yourself.
Begin with your feet placed shoulder width apart and gradually lower yourself as if you were about to sit in a chair. You don’t have to lower your posterior all the way to the ground. Just go as far as is comfortable. Be sure you feel some resistance in your thighs as you lower. Gradually raise yourself back up to a standing position. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Lunges are essentially one legged squats. To perform a lunge, stand with one foot forward and one foot back. Lunge onto the forward leg bending your knee so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. You don’t want to create an angle of more than 90 degrees. Ideally, lunges provide weight-bearing exercise for the upper thigh of the forward leg and stretch the muscles of the leg extended back. You will want to perform 10 lunges on each leg.
Vary Your Reps To Suit Your Ability
When you are just starting out you may only be able to do one or two of each of these exercises. Don’t let this worry you and don’t beat yourself up over it. Do the number that you can and know that your ability will increase day by day.
Ideally, you will want to perform three sets of 10 each of all of these exercises. The best way to do this is to rotate them so that you would do three cycles each of:
- 10 squats
- 10 planks
- 10 lunges
- 10 push-ups
Pay close attention to your form and be sure to breathe correctly and deeply throughout all exercises.
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Challenge Yourself Appropriately
As you become stronger, you may wish to add some interval training to increase the effectiveness of your workout. For example you might want to skip rope or simply hop or run in place for a minute between planks and lunges for a quick, metabolism boosting aerobic workout.
It is equally important to keep in mind that a balanced, healthy, natural whole foods diet and plenty of pure filtered water will provide you the fuel and hydration you need for a successful exercise program.