A lot of people are under the illusion that in order to build muscle or keep fit, they need to spend a fortune on equipment or gym fees. This isn't true at all, and we can all use something at our disposal to help us burn calories and build muscles. That is, our own bodies!
Bodyweight exercises can be added to a current program, or be used alone as a workout. It is a very effective way to build muscle and burn fat, and it makes for a good change in your routine. Put down the weights for a while and try some circuit training using your own body. Check out our quick circuits below and give them a go. Adapt your workout to your own training and needs.
Wall sit - 45 seconds - Stand with your back against a wall, place your feet out in front of you, hip distance apart. Bend your knees and slide down the wall until you hit a 90 degree angle. Stay there for the time and feel the burn.
Push ups - 30 reps - Get into a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Lower yourself down, keep your back flat, and just let your chest touch the floor and then push back up. Repeat.
Bench dips - 30 reps - Use a chair (or bench) and sit along the edge of it, with your legs out in front. With your hands either side of your hips, palms down, keep your grip of the chair and move your legs to bring your bottom off the chair and lower yourself to the floor. When your elbows hit 90 degrees, push yourself back up and repeat.
Sit ups - 30 reps - Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Place your fingertips behind your ears, and elbows out to the side. Raise yourself up towards your knees, keeping your feet still. Add a twist in if you like, and repeat.
Repeat the circuit 5 times.
Plank - 60 seconds - Like a press up, get into a similar position. Raise yourself up on your toes, back straight and rest your weight on your forearms, not your hands. Engage your core by sucking your belly towards your spine and hold for the time.
Full squat - 30 reps - Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Look ahead and point your toes slightly outwards. Squat down using your inner thighs. Don't let your knees extend beyond your toes. (There are many versions of squats, if you are unsure ask your trainer or look at online videos for guidance to avoid damage.)
Calf raise - 30 reps - Stand straight up. With both feet flat on the ground, pull in your abs. Raise one heal a few inches off of the ground onto your toes, hold it for a second, then change to the other heel. If you have a step, you can stand on the edge of that, and do both calves at the same time.
Leg lunges - 30 reps - Keeping your upper body straight, your shoulders should be relaxed and back. Pick a point to stare at to stop you from looking down. Engage your core and step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both of your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Raise yourself back up and swap legs.
Repeat the circuit 5 times
As with any, and all exercise, if you are in doubt about how to do any of these exercises, please consult your trainer or use an accredited online video source to avoid injury. These circuits are just a small insight into bodyweight training and offer a taster of what you can do. They are not exhaustive or exclusive. And the exercise descriptions may differ from the way you usually do them. Do whatever you are used to and avoid injury.