Many people online are Google searching for the terms “workout without weights“, or “exercises without weights” in hopes to find a simple exercise routine to do at home. There are infomercials and a lot of hype around fitness programs and equipment that can make it pretty confusing when you are looking for an easy home exercise program that doesn’t require a lot of time or a lot of equipment.
By learning and mastering a few basic movements most people can get into the shape of their lives. Performing these 6 movements you can work all the major muscle groups of your body. Because the majority of people are not competitive body builders, mastering these 6 movements will build and strengthen all the muscles that the majority of us need to look, feel and perform at our best. The best thing about these 6 movements is that they require no equipment, only you, your house, and a pair of athletic shoes.
When starting out, it’s important to understand that your main priority is to learn how to do the exercises. Once you are familiar with what they are, then you can work on increasing the intensity. Let’s look at these 6 exercises and see what they are and what they do:
Exercise Without Weights #1 The Pull Up
Primarily thought as as a mid and upper back exercise, the pull up also targets the arms and low back. But, the most essential function of this exercise is to help build the scapular stabilizers. This is important in any lifting or carrying that you do. It’s also important in throwing and reaching for objects in front or overhead.
To do a pull up you will need an overhead bar. The hands use an overhand grip and are slightly wider than shoulder width. To objective is to lift your bodyweight against gravity. This may not be possible for those just starting out and so to decrease the resistance, you just rest your feet or calves on a chair either in front, or behind you. When combined with #4, you get a complete back workout.
Exercise Without Weights #2 The Push Up
The push up is the opposite compliment to the pull up. While the pull up works the back of the body, the push up works the front. Most people think that they have an idea of how to do a push up. But, similar to Exercise #1, the push up is also works to stabilize the shoulder blade. When doing a push up the correct way, emphasis should be placed on fully protracting the scapula when the arms are fully extending and then fully retracted when the chest is close to the floor. Working in this way, the push up becomes more than just a chest exercise.
Another area to be aware of when working on your push up variations is your abdomen. The core abdominal workout that the push up gives is frequently over looked. You can work more of your abdominals by experimenting on hand and foot placement. Remember: Learn to do the exercise. Get curious.
Exercise Without Weights #3 The Overhead Push Up
This exercise will work primarily the back, shoulder, and arm muscles. It is essential for learning to stabilize and balance your body while your arms are overhead.
The overhead push up is what some in the gym would call the military press. However, if you don’t want to go to the gym, you can do a simple hand stand with feet supported on the wall. However, some can’t do this particular workout without weights because they would be supporting their total body weight on their arms.
A modification would be to do an isometric over head push up against the top of a door frame. Your height can be adjusted by a step stool or other support. Doing isometrics, you basically press into something that’s immovable and hold the press for a specified period of time and do several reps of this.
Exercise Without Weights #4 The Squat
What can be said about this fundamental human movement? This exercise is important on so many different levels. Primarily we look at it as a leg and hip strengthening exercise. However, it also strengthens the low back.
But, in addition to strengthening the lower body, done correctly it stretches all aspects of the lower body and keeps us limber. Starting at the bottom, the muscles of the sole of the foot, the ankle, the back of the calf, the quads, the glutes, and hip rotators, are all stretched by doing the squat. Not only are the muscles stretched, but the joints are lubricated with the extreme movements of the squat when performed correctly.
To learn the correct form of the squat, all you need to do is watch a 2 year old. They use correct form and shame most adults with their ability to drop straight to the floor. Do it like this without weights and get used to it. Done correctly and consistently, you won’t need to use a squat rack.
Exercise Without Weights #5 The Front/Side Plank
This is so superior to crunches when it comes to strengthening your ab muscles. The reason for this is that it strengthens the deeper obliques and transverse abdominus rather than the superficial rectus abdominus that crunches primarily target.
To do the plank, you simply suspend your body in the air as your hands/elbows, and feet/knees support your body. You can do it face down with both arms and feet suspending your body. Or, you can do it on either side with one arm/foot suspending the body. Again, hold for a specified length of time.
Another benefit of the plank is that it is “functional” holding the torso and abdomen stable in order for us to perform tasks such as reaching, carrying, lifting, and so forth. Crunches, on the other hand, teach the stomach muscles to contract in a totally non-functional pattern. Most people don’t realize that we hardly ever do “a crunch” motion in real life except when we are working under a car or something similar.
However, we are constantly doing something that requires us to stabilize our torso and activate our abdominals that way. Don’t believe me? What happens when…you open a door, push a shopping cart around the store, reach in the back seat of your car, reach up from bed turn off the light? You get the picture.
Exercise Without Weights #6 Running/Sprinting
I am not talking about “jogging” per se. I am talking about running fast. Yep, make sprinting a regular routine. Again, we’re talking about function. How many times do we actually have to jog compared to actually having to sprint?
Do you jog to the elevator when the door is closing? Do you jog across the street when a fast moving car is coming? Do you jog toward your baby if they are in harms way? While jogging is an excellent exercise in an of itself, it’s something that we rarely need to do. Sprinting on the other hand…
Sprinting is a good way to loosen up all your muscles after you have already done the above movements. It’s also important because it will work on your aerobic capacity and give you more energy when done as interval training. This is where you sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 1 minute. Complete this cycle as many times as you can.
These are the 6 essential movements that make up your workout without weights. If done consistently not only will you build muscle without weights, they will give you Total Body Fitness