The World is Your Gym!

The benefits of including bodyweight exercises to your workout routine.

The world is your gym. This isn’t only a saying but a fact. As long as you have a healthy, functioning body, you can work out. You don’t need weights or equipment to move closer to your fitness goals. I personally believe that the key to getting your body at its optimal state aesthetically and functionally is to add bodyweight exercises to a solid weight training program.

Bodyweight training is essential. Not only is it great for muscle recovery but it also builds body awareness. Bodyweight training also prepares you for weight training. How can you squat with a a barbell on your back when you can’t even do it with your own body weight?

Top 5 Bodyweight Exercises

Push-ups: These are my favorite bodyweight exercises because they’re so convenient. You can do them anywhere at anytime of your choosing. You just have to drop down on the ground and get to work. I used to rely on push-ups before I ever stepped foot in a weight room. They set a good foundation for me to start with since they work a number of muscles like the chest, tricep, shoulder, and core.

Sprints: When people think of bodyweight exercises, sprints don’t often come to mind. It’s usually the traditional bodyweight exercises you can do at home. To do sprints all you need is your body and open space. Sprinting can help you with any fitness goal. Sprinting can help you build muscle, burn fat, and increase athleticism. It’s also a very underrated strength building tool. Anyone that’s looking to build their legs without using weights should incorporate sprints into their routine. There are many ways to do sprints.

Chin-ups: In a previous article I mentioned chin-ups as weighted exercise when you add weights to it. You can still get great benefits from chin- ups when using only your body weight. Chin-ups will build your lats, traps, abs, and upper back. It’s also good for grip strength since you have to hold onto the bar to pull yourself up.

The good thing about the chin-up is that you don’t need a chin-up bar to do the exercise. You can go to a playground and grab a monkey bar or something similar to pull yourself up. If you’re feeling brave you can even use a sturdy looking tree branch.

Leopard Crawl: In the last five years I’ve gotten familiar with the Leopard crawl exercise. It’s one of the most interesting exercises I’ve done. This is a great move to increase core strength and coordination . In addition to the core muscles, Leopard Crawls strengthens various muscles in your upper body. It’s also strengthens your nervous system due to the contra-lateral nature of the movement.

Jumps: As someone who grew up playing sports, I big fan of jumping exercises. Jumping exercises are a great way to build athleticism. They’re similar to sprints in that they can build some very powerful legs. Jumps can be used as a form of cardio too if you use them intelligently. I speak from personal experience when I say using too much volume in your jumping exercises can lead to joint pain. I currently use jumps before my heavy squat and deadlift days as a way to prime my nervous system.This is just one way I include bodyweight exercises in my workout routine.

How I incorporate bodyweight Movements To My Training

Morning Workout: One way I incorporate body weight exercises to my workout routine is by doing them in the morning. Twice a week, I do 5-10 minutes of Leopard Crawls before getting ready for work. Doing this is my substitution for coffee because it wakes me up. Also, challenging myself as a way to start my day helps me build my fitness mindset.

Workout recovery: I use bodyweight exercises for workout recovery, in the form of  yoga . I’ve mentioned this before but yoga has several benefits for lifters including stress relief, increased joint stability, and better flexibility. When I feel beat up from a previous day’s workout, yoga helps revitalize my body.

Workout Finisher: I sometimes use bodyweight exercises as a form of cardio. It’s called Density Training. The idea is to in as many reps as possible of a movement during a certain time period. I like to do a circuit involving bodyweight push-ups, body weight squats, and planks. Below is how it’s structured.

  • Push-ups: As many reps as possible in 45 seconds
  • Squats: As many reps as possible in 45 seconds
  • 45 second Plank
  • Repeat cycle
  • Rest for 1.5 minutes
  • Repeat cycle

The goal is to do at least three rounds of the circuit. The main benefits is increased muscle from the high volume and fat burn due to the increase in heart rate. 

I hope this post convinced you to add some bodyweight exercises to your routine. I still prioritize weight training but it’s good to have some variety in your fitness routine. To tap into your body’s full potential 

Photo by theformfitness from Pexels

 

Get Stronger and Better at Home

This article is about simple ways to get in better shape at home.

I’m a big believer in going to the gym, especially the right gym Why The Gym You Go To Matters. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the things you can do at home to get in better shape.The most obvious you can do is eat right and do home workouts. Rather than doing full workouts, I have habits that help me get better results in my fitness pursuits.

Pushup Routine: This routine is especially useful when watching tv. Every time there’s a commercial break, drop down and do 10 push-ups. Doing 10 pushups at a time isn’t hard. By using this approach, you’ll easily fit in more exercise to your schedule without straining yourself. The muscles worked in the pushups will help your performance in other exercises like the bench and shoulder press.

Squat in The Bathroom: Every time you go to the bathroom, do 10 body weight squats. This has the same level of simplicity as the pushup routine. Not only will you burn more calories by getting more exercise but this squat routine will help you improve your squat technique.

Walk Barefoot:

Walking barefoot is something simple you can do at home. The most obvious benefits of walking barefoot are strengthening your feet and ankles. This will help you perform better in any athletic activity. Walking barefoot has also been shown to improve spinal health.

Cardio: One of the simplest ways to get a cardio workout at home is treating a pillow like a punching bag. The idea is to get a pillow that you don’t really use and have someone hold it up in the air for you. Set a timer for one minute and do different punching combinations on the pillow. This is easier on your joints than a punching bag. Doing this with the right intensity will give you a killer cardio workout.

Simple 8 Minute Workout:

I had to sneak in a workout. I learned about this workout from an article written by fitness coach Max Shank. It only takes 8 minutes but it’s very challenging. Do this before you’re going to take a shower. There are many variations to this workout but the way I do it is listed below.

Do as many pushups as you can for 3 minutes.

Do as many squats as you can for 5 minutes.

The benefits of this 8 minute workout includes improved joint health, muscle endurance, and better conditioning.

Health and fitness are a lifestyle. You can get better no matter where you are. Once you make the decision to commit to fitness, you’ll always find ways to improve.

The Ultimate Upper Body Exercise

This article is about why you should add chin-ups to your workout routine.

If I had to choose one movement to build a great upper body, it would be the chin-up. The reason I like the chin-up is that it hits other muscle groups as well. The upper-back, lats, traps, and core are all engaged during the chin-up movement. The famous bicep curl only works one muscle group. This allows you to build a well-rounded upper-body. It’s also a good way to develop your relative strength. If you want to place a greater emphasis on the upper back muscle, you can do pull-ups instead. Pull-ups is when you have your palm facing away from you. Sometimes I like alternating between chin-ups and pull-ups so I can fully target the different muscle groups.

One version of the chin-up that has given me great results is the eccentric focused chin-ups with a four second pause at the bottom. The idea of this is to lower yourself down slowly when doing the chin-up. Once you’re at the bottom, pause for four seconds. The reason it’s good to lower yourself slowly is because the eccentric/lowering portion of a movement is where the most muscle tear happens. Muscle tear is the key to muscle growth. I like to add more resistance by adding a weight belt with a weight plate attached. You can also do weighted chin-ups without the eccentric focus but your muscle fibers won’t be stimulated as much.

Before using these advance methods of chin-ups, it’s important that you’re comfortable doing regular chin-ups. If you get good at the eccentric focused chin-ups with weights, your upper-body will thank you tremendously. I’ve experienced great results from this and I’m sure it’ll work for you too!

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