Although a variety of fitness gadgets can certainly help you break into a sweat (see my related post “Do It Yourself Home Gym ”), don’t discount the workout potential of your own body. Body weight exercises use your own weight to increase strength and muscular endurance.
If you don’t belong to a gym or own fitness equipment, or if you’re just resting your body from the machines, try some of the 5 body weight exercises below to get in a simple and effective workout. Be your own judge of how many reps or seconds you think you can manage. Doing about 10-12 reps or until fatigue is a good rule of thumb, but start off easy if you don’t work out regularly.
Assume the push-up position and keep your abs in and your back straight as you perform each rep. If you need to take a break, rest in the extended position, not when your chin is touching the ground. Hold the position halfway to the ground for a few extra seconds if you can.
Muscles worked: triceps
2. Wall Sit
Stand so that your back is against a wall and slide your feet out in front of you so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back firm against the wall the entire time and hold your ribs and abs in. You can also place small weights on your thighs for an extra workout.
Muscles worked: quadriceps
3. Jumping Jacks
You probably remember doing about 50 of these at a time when warming up in gym class, and why not? They are simple to do and get your blood pumping.
Benefits: overall cardio workout
4. Tuck Jumps
Start with your legs shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend more deeply to propel your knees upward as you jump. Touch your knees to your torso and then release the tuck position to land. As you repeat the jump, remember to bend your knees every time you land—never land with straight legs. Keep your arms above your head during the jumps.
Benefits: improves power, quickness and speed
5. Calf Raises
Stand on a raised surface so that your heels do not touch the ground. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Lift your heels as high as you can and then slowly bring them down again. Repeat for about 15-20 reps.
Muscles worked: calves (also good for strengthening the ankle and foot when done barefoot)
What is your favorite body exercise?