Bodyweight exercises are some of the best types of exercises because you can do them virtually anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment. Another benefit is that they usually aren’t too difficult to master and are good for a variety of fitness levels. How’s that for no excuses?
Want to get lean? Try increasing the amount of repetitions to improve your endurance. Want to get stronger? Try increasing the intensity by decreasing the leverage and working at the end of your range of motion.
Want great thighs? Try doing some squats – sit your weight back into your heels (you might even try lifting your toes inside your shoes for a wiggle). Keep your abs engaged and imagine there’s a string tied to your head lifting and elongating it toward the ceiling. Chest up. Slowly lower yourself down as if you’re sitting on a chair. You may support the weight of your body with your hands on your thighs or progress to look no hands ma’. Beginners don’t need to sit back very far and more advanced can progress until their thighs make a ninety degree angle with the shins – or become parallel to the floor. You can do this while holding a toddler. You can hold it statically (without moving) at various degrees of your range of motion up or down. You can add gentle pulses. You can do it to music. You can turn your feet out to the sides to work the inner thighs. You can point the knees and toes to the front to work more of the top of the thigh and butt. You can do these while folding laundry, making phonecalls, picking up the junk your kids left all over the floor. You can even sit down with your back against a wall and lower yourself until your legs are in a 90 degree angle and just see how long you can hold that position – try for a longer and longer amount of time each day.
Want great biceps? My favorite is pushups. They can be done so many ways! How about plank your body at an angle while doing dishes and do a countertop push-up. The closer your feet are to the counter, the easier it should be. You can progress until your feet are on the floor, or raise your feet onto a step for even more intensity.
The back of your arms wiggle like chicken wings? Try tricep dips on the edge of your bathtub.
Do walking-lunges while vacuuming. You can step forward with one leg and lower your body straight down while bending the back leg until both front and back legs make 90 degree angles from thigh to shin.
Do karate-kid style wax-on, wax-off cleaning of your table top with a rag in each hand, or under each foot while cleaning the floor (best not to do hands and feet at the same time).
Cardio endurance your issue? Try running up and down your stairs or reach up high and pull your knee to your chest while lowering your hands to that knee and tightening your abs. It IS YOUR knee afterall and you should be able to lift it. Getting stronger? See how many times you can do it in a row before getting tired or set a timer and try to beat the clock.
Struggle with lower belly flab and jiggly thighs? Try raising your knee off the ground until your thigh is paralell to the floor (use a broom or chair if you need help with balance. Raise it slightly up and down…It works the bottom part of the abs and the top of the high- the psoas.
You can even clench your butt cheeks while on line at the grocery store!
If you need more ideas, or want to see this in color, check out Carolyn Barne’s DVD cLEANmomma. I’m also happy to show you a few more complicated ones in person.