You may not have thought about it, but it’s true. “How?” you say. With body weight workouts.
You can strengthen the muscles in your arms, legs and core with little or no equipment. Body weight workouts are exercises that use your body weight to provide the resistance needed to develop your muscles without the use of dumbbells, barbells, or weight machines. There are many exercises for maintaining strength and endurance using your body weight that can help you stay fit at home or while traveling.
However, be conscious of the fact that such exercises use your own weight to provide the resistance for the movement. This means that the weight you’re lifting is never greater than the weight of your own body. This can make it difficult to achieve a level of intensity that is desirable for maximum strength training.
Body weight can be increased in intensity by including additional weights (such as wearing a weighted vest or holding a barbell, kettlebell, sandbell or plate during a sit up) or by altering the exercise to put one’s self at a leverage disadvantage (such as elevating the feet, hanging from straps to change leverage, using one limb, and incorporating isometrics).
Workouts for the Upper Body
One of the best exercises for multiple muscle groups in the upper body is the push-up. Push-ups work the muscles in the chest, biceps, triceps, and back. Push-ups can be modified to suit your fitness level. If you are a beginner, you can use your arms and knees to help hold up your weight. As you gain strength, you can progress to full push-ups where your arms and toes support your body weight. You can also target specific muscles in the arms and chest by modifying your hand grips and positions.
Another simple but effective way to develop upper body strength is by doing pull-ups. This exercise requires a pull-up bar (but a low-hanging tree branch will also work.)
Workouts for the Core
There are many exercises that are very effective when it comes to developing the muscles in the abdomen, pelvis and back. Core exercises that use mainly your body weight include sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, bridge exercise, and bicycle maneuver. The Superman exercise, which is done by lifting the arms and legs at the same time off the floor while lying prone, is a great workout for the lower back.
Exercises for the Lower Body
To strengthen the muscles in your thighs, legs and glutes, you can do lunges, squats and calf raises. These exercises are great for developing lower body strength. Side leg raises develop the muscles in your hips and outer thighs. Jumping jacks strengthen leg muscles and also provide a good cardio workout.
Get Fit and Stay Fit
Body weight workouts can help you get in shape and develop strength and endurance and these exercises are not limited to push-ups and pull-ups. There are many types of exercises using your body weight that can provide a very challenging workout. Some exercises can be done slowly while others are done fast or explosively to build speed and strength. The right body weight workout will not only build muscle but can help you lose weight as well.