Can’t get to the gym? Don’t use that as an excuse for falling behind with your strength training. This ultra-fast, super-effective strength and conditioning session can be conquered in your living room, backyard or local park – all you need is yourself.
Sometimes, life gets in the way of a good workout. And when it does, all the hard work you’ve been doing in the gym can quickly dissipate. That’s why you need alternatives. If you’re keen to maintain your core strength and fitness no matter how crazy your life is right now, you need a fast, effective, equipment-free training program. Something you can do anywhere, anytime, no gym gear required. Commit the below bodyweight training program to memory (or keep the video handy), punch it out when you’ve got an idle moment at home or in the park, and your body will thank you for it.
This high-intensity workout uses your own bodyweight for resistance. But forget boring push-ups and sit-ups – we’ve got great variations on classic bodyweight exercises to work more muscles and get your heart pumping that little bit harder. These are compound movements that pit you against gravity and get excellent results. Before you start this session, try to fit in a warm up – skipping, jogging or even just some dynamic leg swings and shoulder rotations to loosen things up. Then, it’s a matter of moving through the exercises below, shooting for 30 seconds of work for each exercise, 10 seconds of rest, and then onto the next one. Four sets of the complete program and you’re done.
This move builds your overall strength and improves balance and stability. Top tips: Keep your spine neutral (no banana backs!) by bracing your core; and keep your shoulders over your hands.
Aim for 15-25 reps
Build on your leg strength while boosting your mobility. Top tips: Keep your heels touching the ground at all times, and make sure your knees track over your toes. Draw your belly button to your spine to engage your core, too.
Aim for 8-15 reps
Work on your upper body strength with this twist on a push-up. It’s great for your core stability, too. Top tips: If your eyes follow your hands, you’ll find it easier to balance. And don’t forget to keep your shoulders over your hands.
Aim for 15-20 reps
This variation on the hollow log has you alternating knees to chest. It’s all about your abdominal strength, and also improves your thoracic mobility. Top tips: This time, keep your hands under your hips (this way, you make sure your lower back is flat to the ground), your shoulders off the ground and your eyes on your toes.
Aim for 8-15 reps
By slowing down this classic cardio move you’re working on your joint stability and strength.
Top tips: Engage your abdominals and get those hips right down onto the ground if you can. Keep your shoulders over your hands.
One of the best things about a bodyweight training program is that it can easily be modified to match your level of fitness. To get a good gauge of whether the program above is right for you, try measuring your heart rate at the end of each exercise. After 30 seconds of work, it should be sitting around 70 to 80% of your max heart rate. If the program’s proving too easy for you, then up the amount of time spent on each exercise. An extra 10 seconds per set can make a big difference to your overall effort. Or, if you can’t yet do a push-up, let alone 10, then you can make modifications to how you tackle the exercise. For example, push-ups can be done on your knees or against a wall. If you’re not sure of how to modify these bodyweight exercises to suit you, then pop in to your local Fitness First and ask an instructor.