Most, if not all trainees and athletes have at some point had that ‘lazy’ feeling of not being in the mood to trek to the gym. The demands of our busy work schedules or simply being trapped for cash for a gym membership also adversely affects the frequency of our visits to the commercial gyms. If you happen to find yourself in any of these scenarios, stress no further, you can undertake full body bodyweight workouts right in the comfort of your home!
Let’s be honest, we are not always going to have access to all the modern workout equipments in our commercial gyms…… Does this then mean we can’t ‘think outside the box’ and come up with effective ways of breaking some sweat without actually stepping foot in the gym? We surely can!
Many of us strongly underestimate a full body bodyweight workout as an effective way of building our overall strength and conditioning. We very often overlook the amazing changes our bodies could go through by simply adding basic bodyweight training as part of our workout routines. The body has the potential to get even stronger with just body resistance training.
The secret to having an effective and efficient workout routine is about getting the basics right. Bodyweight training is all about the basics. It serves as an effective foundation to all your strength training and workouts.
Bodyweight training gives you the proper conditioning and strength needed to effectively use the ‘shiny’ gym equipments we all crave for.
We First Need A Routine
Yes, effective bodyweight workouts can be demanding on the body, but that shouldn’t stop us from giving it a go. Intensity of the workout plays a very vital role in determining how many calories we burn.
That being said, we need to modify our routines to our individual abilities and levels of fitness, and then increase the intensity as the fitness level improves. You can decide to undertake each exercise for 30 sec followed by a 30 sec rest and then repeat for two more sets. The duration can then later be increased to a minute, a minute and a half, two minutes or more, as your fitness level improves.
The aim is to carry out your routine for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, a few times a week. There is absolutely no need to ‘beast’ your body doing these exercise routines every single day of the week, the rest and recovery time the body needs is equally important.
Enough talking……. it’s time to look at what these full body bodyweight workouts are.
Works out your upper-body, lower-back and abdominals.
- Whiles lying flat on your tummy, place your hands under your shoulders and ensure your body is in a straight line.
- Raise your body off the floor with your arms. Your body’s weight should only be supported by your arms and the balls of your feet. Gently lower your body back down without touching the floor. Repeat sequence.
- Whiles carrying out this exercise, please ensure your elbows are tucked in as close to your sides as possible and keep your body as straight as possible.
For beginners, you can perform this exercise with your knees rested on the floor. In this case, only your upper-body will be lowered and raised.
Works out your abdominals.
- Get on all fours and extend your legs straight backwards so your legs are supported by the balls of your feet. Your upper-body should be supported by your lower arm (lower arm should be flat on the floor).
- Keep your head, shoulders and hip in a straight line and look down toward the floor. Looking up could put a strain on your neck muscles.
- Fully engage your muscles, tighten your core, focus on your abdominals and ensure your hips do not dip or raise. Hold the position for 30 – 60 seconds or for as long as you can.
- Lie down on your side, keeps legs straight and arms directly beneath your shoulders.
- Keep your core muscles engaged and lift your hips off the floor.
- hold the position for 10 – 30 seconds (or more) and switch sides.
- From a standard plank position, straighten one arm at a time until you lift yourself up into a pushup position.
- Whiles keeping the core engaged, move one arm at a time back to the plank position.
- Repeat sequence with alternating hands.
Works out the legs.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your feet can be parallel or slightly turned out (whichever you find comfortable)
- Bend your knees and hips, stick out your buttocks and start crouching as though you are about to sit down on an imaginary chair.
- Crouch until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Whiles carrying out the crouching motion, ensure you stick out your chest, stick out your buttocks and keep the soles of your feet completely flat on the floor.
- Once your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, push through your heels to return to the standing position.
- Repeat sequence. For a beginner, try 10 – 20 squats. Increase number of repetitions once you get comfortable.
This is one of the most effective full body workouts.
- Squat all the way down with your hands on the floor.
- Extend your legs back into a plank position, quickly bring your knees in towards your elbows and spring up as high as possible.
- Squat, move back to the pushup position and repeat sequence.
Squat Thrust (Also Known As Mountain Climber)
Works out your chest, arms, abdominals, back, hips and legs…….lets just say your entire body! It is a great way to get your heart rate going. This exercise should be done with a lot of control and focus. Technique is the key!
- From the plank position, bring one of your knees in towards your chest. Keep the other leg straight out behind you.
- Return your bent knee back out straight and switch legs.
- Keep alternating between both legs. Ensure your core is engaged whiles carrying out this exercise.
Works out the legs.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place your right leg forward and slowly lower your body until your left knee is almost touching the floor and bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Return to the starting position, switch position and repeat sequence.
Star Jumps (Also Known As Jumping Jacks)
Works out the full body.
- Stand up straight with your arms by your sides.
- Jump up straight whiles kicking your arms and legs out wide to the side, as though you are forming a ‘star’ shape.
- Drop back to the starting position and repeat sequence.
Knees-To-Chest (Also Known As Tuck Jump)
Great full body workout.
- Stand with your knees shoulder-width apart and slightly bent.
- Whiles extending your arms straight out, jump as high as possible and bring your knees up and in towards your chest.
- Land with your knees slightly bent and quickly jump back up again.
Works out the legs.
- Stand in front of a box or a bench.
- Place one foot on top of the box or bench and push up to stand on it.
- Drop back down, switch legs and repeat the exercise.
Works out the abdominals and legs.
- Lie on your back, extend both legs out and raise them towards the ceiling. Your arms should be rested beside you with your palms facing downwards.
- Engage your core and lower your legs ensuring they do not touch the floor. Your back should be kept flat on the floor during this motion.
- Ensure you exhale whiles lowering your legs and inhale whiles lifting up your legs.
Beginners can perform this exercise with one leg and alternate between legs. You then move up to perform the exercise with both legs once you’ve conditioned your body to effectively perform the exercise.
Works out the legs.
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, raise your heels off the floor. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet.
- Briefly hold your heels in the raised position and lower them back down.
- Repeat sequence.
In order to achieve a wide range of motion, try standing on something elevated.
Works out the shoulder and arms.
- Sit on the floor near a step or bench with your knees slightly bent.
- Grab the edge of the raised surface and lift your body with your arms. Ensure your arms are straight when the body is raised.
- Lower your body till your arms are at a 90-degree angle and raise again.
Works out your core.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet together.
- Raise your back to a 45-degree angle off the floor.
- Move your arms from one side to another in a twisting motion.
This exercise should be performed with no rush. Control and focus is essential as the slower and more focused the twist, the deeper the burn.
Works out your core.
- Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet together.
- Place your hands behind your head, engage your core and lift your upper back off the floor.
- With your upper back off the floor, raise your legs off the floor whiles maintaining bent knees.
- Briefly hold the position, straighten your legs out and lower them back towards the floor without touching the floor.
- Your upper body should concurrently be lowered back down as your legs gets back down towards the floor.
- Raise upper back and legs back up and the repeat sequence.
Works out your core.
- Lie on your back and ensure your knees are bent and your heels are pulled in towards your hips.
- With palms facing down, place your arms down to your sides.
- Lift your hips up towards the ceiling and briefly hold the position for some few seconds.
- Gently lower your hips back to the floor and repeat the sequence.
Another great full body workout.
- Perform and perfect a basic jump rope technique by swinging the rope forward and jumping when the rope gets to your toes. You can perform single jumps to start with and then later move on to multiple jumps once you know what you are doing.
- Once you get comfortable with this exercise, you can mix it up by performing other variations such as one footed jumps.
Don’t Forget To Stretch…..
As your muscles build, there is the need to maintain flexibility by regularly stretching. This helps to prevent muscle tightness which can easily lead to injuries. After performing these full body bodyweight workouts, you need to treat yourself to some good stretching.
Don’t Forget To Wear The Right Gear….
Exercising in the wrong gear could result in injuries. This is often overlooked. Wearing and using the right gear or kit is essential for any form of exercise. Some decent workout gears can be found HERE.
Don’t Forget To Hydrate….
Staying hydrated during any form of exercise is as important as carrying out the exercise itself. Your muscles work efficiently when your body is well hydrated.
Proper hydration allows you to effectively undertake these full body bodyweight workouts with little to no ‘dramas’!!