Body weight exercises are just as effective as free weight or machine workouts. Have you ever tried to lift your body? It’s tough! Even for a small person. So why not use it to your advantage? Body weight exercises are simple, affordable, and provide you with a stellar physique.
So let's begin with the basics. Some basic body weight exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. These are great to start with. Make up a circuit of these exercises after doing a proper warm-up (5-10 minutes at least). Start with 8-10 repetitions of each exercise and try to complete your circuit 3 times. As you get better, add more repetitions, then add more sets. So move up to 12-15 or even 20 reps for 3 circuits. Then try for 10-12 reps for 4 or even 5 circuits. When this gets too easy, add some diversity to your exercises. Try putting your legs up onto a bench or step while doing a push-up. Or put a foot up on a step while doing a lunge or squat. Instead of just doing your basic squat, try stepping to one side then the other to add some cardio in. You can do the same thing with lunges. Step forward, sink into your lunge, then step and bring your feet back together. To make this even harder, try jumping and switching your feet in your lunge.
A great way to use your body is plyometrics. This is cardio body weight exercising. Adding jumps to squats, lunges, and pushups is a wonderful way to get your heart pumping! Again, you want to make sure you have your technique perfect before adding jumps to any exercise. Be positive your knees DON’T come over your toes when doing a squat or lunge. Be sure you don’t come down too far when doing push-ups. When doing a plank, keep your butt down and back in a nice straight line. When technique is perfect, start adding little jumps to your moves. Aim for about 30 seconds worth of jumping with 30 seconds rest between. Work up to the 30 seconds if you need to. Begin with 5 seconds if you have to. From there, go for 10, then 15, 20, and finally you’ll find yourself jumping for 30 seconds no problem! After you pass that milestone, see if you can go for longer. Maybe 45 seconds. Maybe 1 minute. The possibilities are endless. When landing you want to make sure your knees are soft and bend a little. Don’t land on locked knees or legs or you can hurt yourself seriously! Push-off from the balls of your feet to initiate the jump, and use your legs to really jump high. Jumping in a plank involves you jumping your feet apart and together. For more information, call the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083 or visit us online at ymcawayne.com.