Have trouble getting to the gym? Memberships and equipment too expensive? Not to worry. Some of the best and most efficient exercises to stay strong and lean can be done with just the use of your own body. Body weight exercises can be just as efficient at burning fat and building muscles than their weighted or machine versions. Below are 10 of my favorite for a full body workout!
1. Squats: Squats target the entire lower body. The quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and peroneals are worked to stabilize and balance as the torso lowers. Begin with toes pointed forward, shoulder width apart. Sit back, like you are sitting on a chair, with full body weight on the heels. Make sure your core is tight and there is a slight arch in the lower spine. Don’t let your knees go forward past your ankles. Work up to 3 sets of 25.
2. Tuck Jump: Tuck jumps also target the lower body but give an extra kick to the abdominals and increase cardiovascular endurance. This exercise also trains the muscles for explosiveness, which is helpful when taking off at the wake. To do this exercise, jump as high as you can and lift your knees to your chest. Work up to 3 sets of 15.
3. Side Lunge: Side lunges work the medial and lateral muscles of the leg, called the adductors and abductors. Begin standing with legs together. Take a giant step to the right, bending the right leg and keeping the left extended. Return to beginning position. Repeat on other side. Work up to 3 sets of 10 per side.
4. Single Leg Deadlift: The single leg deadlift targets mainly hamstrings, but is useful in balance in coordination. Begin with feet together standing. Step forward with right leg and bend forward at the waist with all the weight on the right leg and the left leg coming up behind you. Return to standing by squeezing the glutes and hamstrings. Repeat on opposite leg. Work up to 3 sets of 15 per side.
5. Burpee: The burpee is an all purpose fat burner and muscle toner. Begin standing. Plant hands on the ground, jump back into a pushup position, and jump feet back between hands. Jump up and return to standing. Repeat. Work up to 3 sets of 10. For added difficulty, add a pushup while in pushup position.
6. Tricep Dip: This exercise targets the triceps, but also works the muscles of the shoulder and forearm. Begin sitting on a sturdy chair. place hands on edge of seat, begin buttocks. Lift up on hands and drop buttocks down in front of chair. Push up and lower back down. Repeat for 3 sets of 15. For more of a challenge, straighten legs in front of you.
7. Pullup: The classic pullup is beneficial for entire upper body strengthening. Changing the grip can alter which muscles are targeted the most. Change between under grip for more bicep work, over grip for posterior shoulder muscles, wide grip for lats, and holding to a towel draped over the bar for an added grip challenge. Work up to 3 sets of 10.
8. Pushup: The pushup strengthens shoulders, chest, glutes, and core. Vary the hand position, much like the pullup, for variation in target muscle. Wide hand placement will target lats, narrow hand placement will target triceps. Elbows in and back will target the anterior deltoid and pec minor. 3 sets of 15.
9. Bicycle: The bicycle strengthens the abdominals circumferentially, meaning all around. Lie on your back supporting the head and neck with your hands. Crunch up and bring left knee to right elbow while the other leg is extended. Switch. Alternate sides and build up to 3 sets of 10 per side using good form.
10. Plank: The plank builds core stabilization as well as glute and shoulder strength using isometric contraction, meaning holding with no movement. Begin in a pushup position with elbows on the floor. Maintain tight glutes, abdominals, and keep body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat for 3 sets.