Sometimes we fall into the pattern of thinking weights training is for people who have weights, be they dumb bells, kettle bells, weights bars or a complete weights machine. While this equipment is good to have, you do not have to be deprived of the benefits of such training because you have no equipment.
Using your own body weight to provide adequate resistance for training is an effective way of increasing both your muscle mass and torching surplus calories.
The following are four exercises which when done together work all the major muscle groups. Each exercise has many variations. For example, the plank can done as side planks and one-armed planks. Lunges and squats can be made more difficult by holding weights. Here, the exercises presented are for beginners, so correct technique can be mastered and body-weight used correctly. Aim to complete three sets of ten repetitions for each exercise. The slower they are done, the better the results. Plan to have three sessions of lifting weights every week.
Squats are great for activating the quadriceps (thigh muscles), the gluteals (buttocks), lower back and the abdominals.
Note: Look ahead to a point in front of you so you keep your neck aligned. The knees should not track over the toes in this movement.
- Stick out your chest by taking a deep breath and filling your lungs with air. This stiffens the rib cage and prevents the upper body from bending forward
- Contract all the abdominal muscles
- Contract the lower back
Lunges work all four quadriceps (thigh muscles), gastrocnemius (calf muscle) and the gluteals (buttocks). It is also a good for improving balance and mobility if done with a step-forward movement across the length of a room.
- Inhale and take a step forward (not too wide or too narrow)
- Lower your bottom half. In this position the top of the forward thigh is slightly below parallel
- Return to starting position. Repeat.
Push-ups develop the pectoral (chest) muscles and the triceps (back of the arms). In this exercise, make sure you keep the body in a straight line, do not let your hips dip down or you will hurt your back. Look straight ahead and do not “lock” the elbows as you come up.
- Lie down with palms on the floor and hands shoulder-width apart
- Inhale and bring your body close to the ground without touching the ground
- Feet should touch each other or be a little apart
- Push yourself back to the starting position exhaling on the way up
Planks are excellent for developing your core strength by working the abdominal muscles. Having a strong core provides support for your back, preventing back injuries and lower back pain.
- Start with the push-up position (described above)
- Rest your elbows rather than palms on the ground
- Balance your body on the toes (keeping feet a few inches apart) and elbows
- Keep the body as straight as possible (as a “plank”) supporting the body weight through the abdominals sucking in the belly button
- Body should be in a straight line from ankles to neck
- Hold position for 30 seconds or longer
- ü Rest 10 seconds and repeat