There’s Something about Gravity: Bodyweight Workouts
Bodybuilding is an ancient art. History suggests that bodybuilding has been around from the time humankind began its quest to adapt and survive. It was by no means a sophisticated beginning, but as time progressed, the methods did refine. The ancient civilization is replete with instances of big burly men with extraordinary strength and stamina that ruled the lands. The Greek mythology has Hercules as its epitome of fitness. With the advent of time, more and more ways of indulgence into the genre of extra-curricular were invented. With modernity came technology and with that arrived a more scientific use of gravity. Practitioners of bodybuilding have already found out how the body itself was a reservoir of opportunity.
- 1 Using Bodyweight as Resistance
- 2 The Whole Body Workout
- 3 Bodyweight Leg Exercises
- 4 Bodyweight Exercises: Chest and Back
- 5 Bodyweight Shoulder and Arm Exercises
- 6 Bodyweight Core Exercises
Using Bodyweight as Resistance
Bodyweight by itself is an incredible starting point. Out of this was born one of the rages of the current generation – resistance training. The ancient world too was quite adept at using their bodyweight, however, modern methodologies have simply enhanced the results as well increased the efficiency of the human body. In this article, we will focus on how resistance training actually helps the body and transforms it into a lean and a mean machine.
The Whole Body Workout
Stand tall and straight, bend from the waist downwards. The idea is to touch the floor with your fingers and walk your hands out as far as possible. Do this slowly. Pause in the extended plank position and then walk your hands back towards your feet. Do this a few times.
The starting position is standing with slightly bent knees. Now jump as high as you possibly can. While in the air, attempt to bring the knee upto your chest. Land on the ground with your knees still bent. Now, without a break jump again. The entire back, the calf, the legs get a rigorous workout whilst doing this regime.
The Mountain Climber
Be on your fours. Now start moving your leg one at a time, bringing them to your chest. Once the leg is back to its original position, bring the other one to your chest. This is a stretching exercise, which pulls and contracts the core and works up quite a sweat for the practitioner. With a tad more, finesse the Himalayas would not be a challenge for the mountain climber.
Plyometric Push up
Remember, the push-ups from your gym classes. This regime is of the same kind. Well, almost. Start with your traditional push-ups. Now, while moving up, using as much of mechanical energy, push your body up into the air until there is no connection between your hand and the floor. Keep your feet grounded. Once back to the floor, repeat the routine.
For those who are stuck in the past, the burpee is the new age testosterone inducing rage. You start with a push-up, then moving on to a squatting position you make a leap. Then once you are back on the ground, you are back to the squat position and then another push-up. This increases the flexibility of your body and there is a certain release of the explosive energy.
Bodyweight Leg Exercises
Find a wall and stick your back to it, the same way you would sit on a chair. Spine straight and legs bent from the knee. Imagine you are sitting in a comfortable chair; only thing is that it is the discomfort, which creates the pleasure here. Go on for 60 seconds. Take a breath. Repeat.
Stand with your legs apart, hands on hip. Now, slowly bend your right knee and move forward. Bend it to such an extent that your left knee touched the ground. Get back to the starting position. Now, repeat with your left leg.
Nothing can beat the good old-fashioned squat. It has been handed down from one bodybuilder to another, one fitness enthusiast to another down the ages. It is akin the family loom. Exchanges hands, legs in this case, but never goes out of fashion. Never ceases to exist. In addition, unlike some bodyweight exercises, is easy to render. However, the results are magnificent. Stand with feet apart, shoulder length. Now, place your hands on your chest, or behind the back of your head. Keeping the back straight, bend your knees and gently push down. Remember, to keep your feet firmly placed on the ground. Now, once you have fully bent your knees, get back to the original position. The squat is extremely beneficial to the body, helping it to improve both strength and posture.
Stand straight. Now from that position raise yourself on your toes. Remember to keep your knees straight. Hold and then slowly come back to the original position. Repeat. For greater effect, use an elevated surface.
Bodyweight Exercises: Chest and Back
Much like the squat, the push up too has a legacy to hold. It is an ancient technique and has been revered throughout the ages. Lie facing downwards on your fours. Keep your hands wide-shoulder length. Keep the legs taut and the core tight. Now, bend your elbows and touch the ground. Slowly push it back up. The push up helps strengthen the back, the chest as well as the core.
Alternative Limb Raises
Lie flat face downwards on the ground. Now raise your left hand and right leg up. Alternatively, raise your right hand and left leg up. Keep your head and torso still and do not rotate your shoulder.
Lie flat on the ground. Now, raise your extended hands up along with your legs, forming a curve. Remember, to keep the torso still.
Bodyweight Shoulder and Arm Exercises
This is really a good exercise to pump up your triceps. Get hold of a step or a bench. Sit down holding the step or the bench with both your palms on the edge. Put your feet out so that your butt goes away from the bench about six inches. Now, bending your elbows come down trying for about a 90 degree angle with your elbows and push straight up towards the initial position. Keep your core tight throughout and breathe out on the way up.
Diamond Shaped Pushup
Lie down in the traditional push-up position. Adjust your hands to a diamond shape. Now push yourself up. This puts enormous pressure on the triceps.
Stand straight with arms extended sideways. They need to be perpendicular to your torso. Now slowly start making clockwise movements, forming circles. Make a count. Now, stop and start making counterclockwise movements.
Bodyweight Core Exercises
This is a workout, which kicks the body in the ideal place, the core. Lie on the floor, facing downwards, on your forearms. Extend your legs as much as possible and rise up on your toes. While keeping the spine straight, hold this position for a minute. While doing this exercise tighten your core. This work out is meant to work all four sets of your abdominals – internal and external oblique’s, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis. In addition, it also works all the muscles down your spine gaining upper body strength in the process.
Like the traditional plank, this too is similar. However, this focuses on the sides. Roll on to the side. The balance will be one foot and elbow. Now lift your hips and stay there for about 60 seconds.
There are numerous other workouts, which engage the specific muscle groups of the body. The bodyweight methodology of workout is one of the most efficient ways to tone and transform the muscles. One should not expect to build out here, however, flexibility and the suppleness of the muscle does get its due.
Gravity is a great leveler and nowhere is it better illustrated than a range of exercise sans weight and only one’s body.