Body Weight exercises are some of the most powerful and rewarding fitness moves on the planet and the best part is they are completely free of charge as you don’t need any equipment; you can do it in the comfort of your very own home. Here are the top 8 body weight exercises you will need for a full body toning regime.
1. Push Ups
These are great and within a few weeks you will begin to see a difference even if you have previous injuries. Men and women can benefit from push ups and even if you choose the beginner’s move, you will be working your shoulders, abs, triceps, back and entire core. Body weight exercises are all about the correct form, so it is important to have the correct positioning. It’s more beneficial to do 4 reps rather than do 20 in the wrong form. Start on your knees and do at least 3 to start off with – incorporate 3 sets into your workout.
Lunges are the Holy Grail of body weight exercises, working just about every single muscle in your body. It will strengthen your core which supports your entire body, and strengthen your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Your quadriceps muscles on the top of your thigh are actually responsible for most of the support your body needs to stand upright. Again, this move is all about form; make sure when you come down into your lunge that your knee does not move over your foot and your upper body remains straight. Hold onto something if you are having balance issues at first and do at least 5 per side per set.
3. The Squat
There are very few people who do not covet that bikini perfect derriere, and this is where you are going to get it. Reps when doing squats are very effective, but holding the squat as long as you can, until it burns like fire, is where change is going to happen. Slide down against a wall, using the wall as support for your back and make sure that your knees do not tip forward and peek over the feet – that is how you are going to injure yourself. For advanced fitness fundis – progress to the jump squat, doing at least 15 per set, with a minimum of 3 sets.
4. Shadow Boxing
This is a fantastic exercise that has a dual move for maximum calorie burn. With feet just further than hip width apart go down as far as you can into a squat. Make sure your form is right and you are not leaning forward. Pull your belly button into your spine – imagine someone has a string pulling your belly button through your back. Pull your core tight using your core, lift your arms to shoulder height box from left to right. Be careful not to bang your joints and to use your core as you rotate. When your legs start burning you are just starting to have fun.
5. Flying Plank
From a kneeling position, move forward onto all fours and stretch out into a plank position. You can make this as hard or as easy as you like, depending on your fitness level. Go as low as you can without tipping your core and keep your abs together – remember the string through your back. Hold your plank pose for 5 seconds, then extend an arm and opposite leg for 5 seconds and swop over. Keep your form and don’t let your core dip in the middle. Repeat at least 3 times and don’t forget to breathe.
6. Side Plank
This will work your core and your obliques, aka, those love handles that nobody really loves. Position yourself on your side, with your shoulder and your elbow directly in line with each other. Pull your shoulder right in, pulling your lat down so you don’t injure yourself. Stack your feet on top of each other and using your core lift yourself up right off the floor and lower yourself slowly – this is one rep. If you think you are going to die or fall over, bend your leg closest to the floor and leave it resting on the floor as you lift. Just do not let your leg do the work – you will feel the difference and you are only cheating yourself. Do 15 on each side – yes really.
7. Mountain Climbers
This part-cardio, part-body weight move will tone your arms and crunch those abs while burning off all your afternoon tea sins at the same time. Move into an elevated plank position and move slightly forward over your shoulders. You will look like you are just about to start a running race crouched on the floor. Now ‘’run’’ moving your knees into your chest one leg at a time and back again. Do these continuously for at least 30 seconds – up to 2 minutes for the super slick show-offs.
8. Single Leg Extensions
Lying on your back, pull your core tight and using your glutes, lift your body up leaving your shoulders on the floor. Relax your neck, and your form should have feet flat on the ground pelvis in the air, glutes as tight as possible supporting your form, not your lower back! Slowly extend one leg out at knee height. Be careful when lifting your leg that you don’t tip over – use your core and your glutes. Slowly curl the leg back and repeat with the other leg. That is one rep. Do at least 10 in your workout. This is a great core, butt and leg work out and a fab Pilate’s move.