If you hate to go to the gym, you are not alone. The good news is – you can get results in the comfort of your own home with some simple home exercises.
Bodyweight training CAN be effective. It CAN be a substitute for weights, if necessary. Training using your own body weight as a source of resistance is a time-tested technique to get results fast.
Here are the ten best bodyweight training exercises that give you great workouts and great results – without the gym.
1. Supine Pull-Ups (works major muscles in back, shoulders, and biceps) Use two chairs and a pole – a heavy broom handle works well. WARNING: make sure the chairs are stable and that the broom handle is strong enough to take your weight. You could be SEVERELY injured if the pole were to break or the chairs to slip. Lie on your back underneath a low bar. Grab the bar with a wide overhand grip. Pull up. Lower and repeat for 6-8 reps.
2. Supine Biceps Pull-Ups (biceps, some back) Use the same chairs-and-pole arrangement from #1. Sit underneath a low bar. Grab the bar with a reverse grip (palms facing you), hands about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body upright, pull up until your chin just clears the bar. Focus on the tension in your biceps, trying to relax the rest of your body. 6-8 reps.
3. Push-Ups (chest, triceps, shoulders) The key when targeting the chest with Push-Ups is the direction in which your elbows travel. As with bench presses, the elbows must move AWAY FROM THE BODY to target your chest and be kept CLOSE TO THE BODY to target the triceps. Place each hand just outside your shoulders, slightly behind the line of your shoulders. Hands pointing straight ahead, upper body rigid as a board. 6-15 reps.
4. Tent Push-Ups (primarily upper chest) Assume the position in #3 but walk your feet forward so your body is bent at the waist, and your hips are up high in the air. Bending at the elbows, lower yourself until your nose touches the floor. Push up. Repeat. 6-8 reps.
5. Push-Ups, Triceps Position (you guessed it – triceps, and some chest) Begin with fingers facing forward in position from #3, hands slightly LESS than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body to the floor keeping arms in against your body. Push up. 6-8 reps.
6. Triceps Dips With Chairs With your hands behind your back, support yourself on your palms at the edge of a chair. Your hands should be touching; your elbows should angle outward. Dipping in this position relieves a lot of stress on the elbow and shoulder joints. Lower yourself, keeping your back close to the chair. Bend your elbows back and slightly to the sides. Keep your body angled slightly forward throughout the motion. Press yourself up until your arms are straight. 6-15 reps.
7. One-Legged Squats (front thighs, glutes, hamstrings) Stand perpendicular to a wall, about arm’s length away from it. Extend your arm out to the side and place your palm against the wall at just under shoulder-height. Angle the foot farthest from the wall at 45 degrees. Bend the other leg back. Keeping your body upright, lower yourself until the non-weight-bearing knee is close to (but not touching) the ground. Support yourself by leaning against the wall. Press yourself back up to starting position. Repeat 6-8 reps.
8. One-Legged Hamstring Bridges Lie on your back with one leg extended, heel on the ground. Hold the other leg up off the floor. Pushing through your heel, flex your hamstrings to lift your body. Lower and repeat for 8-10 reps. Repeat with another leg. You can control the resistance and the degree to which the glutes contribute by changing the distance you place your heel relative to your butt.
9. Lunges Begin the lunge by taking a large step forward, keeping your head up and torso erect. Lower your hips and allow your trailing knee to drop to a point just before it touches the floor – never let the knee touch the floor. To return to the start, push off with your forward leg and then step back when the knee is completely straight. Repeat with another leg, 10-15 reps each leg.
10. Stair Running Stair running isn’t usually considered a resistance exercise, and in fact, it makes hefty demands on your cardiovascular system. However, it also does an incredible job of conditioning the lower body. If your knees are in good shape, try doing 10-20 one-story sprints, preferably two stairs at a time. As you get stronger, work up the number slowly, keep one hand on the stair rail to catch yourself if you lose your balance. Give yourself a bigger challenge by wearing a backpack filled with nice and heavy books.