Pull Your Own Weight

Bodyweight exercises make exercise affordable and easy

Pull Your Own Weight photo

Every day there's a new Shake Weight, stepper, total body trimmer or other fitness gadget for sale. The promise, which is usually packed with a 30-day money-back guarantee, is always the same: Cover model abs in only a month. With the New Year here, and gyms packed, there is another way to get in shape without spending a fortune.

Body weight exercises having been making a huge comeback. There are many benefits to training this way:

  • Train anywhere
  • Build strength
  • Improve hand-eye coordination and skill acquisition

The list goes on. From YouTube stars such as Al Kavadlo to books such as Convict Conditioning and Complete Calisthenics, resources for bodyweight exercise are everywhere.

My first recommendation is to start slow. Many of the "experts" are really just enthusiasts who don't have experience coaching others. As always, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Here are a few simple moves to get started:

Chair squats . Sit down, stand up. If there's any knee pain, cut out this exercise. Once it becomes easy to get to 20, try doing it with one leg.

Push up plank. Get on the floor in the push up position, hands under your shoulders, toes on the ground and just hold that position for 30-60 seconds. If it hurts your wrists, go down to your forearms.

Hip lifts . While lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground, lift your hips up. Once you can get 20 easily, try doing 5-10 on one leg.

Wall angels . Lean against a wall, hands at your side (palms out), bring your hands up like you are making a snow angel on the wall.

I recommend doing each exercise 20 times or for 30 seconds at first, then move on to the next exercise. You can do this routine 3-4 times through in about 10 minutes. For the more advanced exerciser (yes that's a real word), I would add in crawling variations, pull-ups, and jumps like burpees.

My favorite part of bodyweight exercises is you can do them anywhere, anytime. Since we are all short on time these days, insert some movement into your day. Run up the steps, drop into a plank, lean against a wall and hold a squat for 30 seconds, or just stand on one leg for 30 seconds (I like to do this in between a door way so I can hold one side to prevent falling).

I would love to hear your favorite bodyweight moves. Reply below with your favorite exercise.

Ron Krit photo 375
Ron Krit has been giving seminars, training clients, and writing about fitness for over 15 years! His philosophy centers on making fitness fun so that you look forward to working out and getting healthy. Ron has trained 4-year-olds up to 90-year-olds, of all a... Read More

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