Bodyweight Exercises for a Complete Workout
When I travel, I tend to be more active than when I’m at home. But I don’t usually make it to a gym.
To compensate, I made a list of all the exercises I could do with my bodyweight. Then I focused on the ones that targeted my overall fitness most efficiently. The result is just three exercises. I can do them all in 30 minutes, and the equipment fits in the corner of my suitcase.
Here are those three bodyweight exercises.
Muscles worked include abdominals, calves, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. (Stomach, calves, butt and thighs.)
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out 20 to 30 degrees, keep your knees slightly bent, make sure your hips are flexed, and lean with your trunk slightly forward with your weight kept over the ankles. The scapula is retracted and depressed with a natural arch in the lower back. Your head should be looking straight with your eyes ahead.
Bend your knees slowly while inhaling. Drop your butt back as if sitting in a chair while maintaining spinal alignment. Keeping the weight over your ankles, continue to descend until your legs form a 90-degree angle, OR your thighs meet your hips.
Hold at the lowest position, keeping the tension in your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps while stabilizing your trunk.
Exhale as you extend your knees and hips and return to the starting position. Remember to keep your weight over your ankles. You’ve just completed one rep once you’re at the top position.
There are a few key points to remember. Make sure your knees align with your feet; your head and neck should align with your spine while keeping your weight over your ankles. You should evenly distribute your weight between the balls of your feet and your heels. Keep a natural arch in your lower back throughout the entire exercise. Avoid over-arching the back.
Muscles worked include the anterior deltoids, pectoralis and triceps. (Shoulders, chest and arms.)
Laying face down, toes flexed, place the palms on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with the heel of the hands in line with the lower chest. Retract and depress the scapula (shoulder blades) and contract your core. Exhale, pressing the body up until the arms are extended, stopping just short of locking the elbows.
Hold. Inhale. Lower the body until the elbow forms a 90-degree angle, and the upper arms are parallel to the ground. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine position throughout the exercise.
The most common way people cheat is by lifting the hips too high or letting them drop too low. Don’t roll or externally rotate the shoulders. Avoid locking the elbows. Choose a spot directly in front of your eyes on the ground and stare at it to avoid lifting your head.
ROW WITH SUSPENSION TRAINER:
Muscles worked include the biceps, triceps, rear delts, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius. (Arms, shoulders, middle and lower back.)
Stand at attention. The closer your feet are together, the more difficult the exercise. The wider they are, the easier it is.
Grab the handles of the straps with your arms at a 90-degree angle. Then walk back until there is tension on the cables. Pull your pelvic bone up and the ribcage down so you feel your abdominals and glutes tighten up (engage your core).
Slowly lean back, keeping your body rigid while exhaling. Straighten your arms as you lean back. When your arms are fully extended, stop. Inhale, then use both your arms and back to pull yourself up again.
Keep your head and shoulders locked in place. Don’t let your shoulders roll forward or collapse. When pulling the body up, try to pull the shoulder blades together. Your chest should stay out; think about being in a “proud chest” position.
You can increase the intensity by walking closer to the strap anchor and creating a steeper angle as you lower yourself back.
You should not shrug, roll your shoulders, flex the hips or allow the hips to sag. Never crane your neck or overarch your back.
For a full-body workout, do each exercise three to five times. You should be able to finish in 30 to 45 minutes. Then go on and enjoy the rest of your day.
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