workouts

5 Body Weight Exercises To Kick Start Your Workout

One of the best ways to start your fitness journey is to start by conditioning your body with the basics of working out and exercises. You need to condition your muscles to be able to bear the stress of exercising. That’s what most of your initial days of joining a class or programme are spent in. There is a way to get a jump start that process by incorporating basic body weight exercises.

Body weight exercises are strength training and conditioning exercises which utilize your own weight and provides resistance for the movements. Exercises like the push-up, squats, planks, crunches and pull-ups are all examples of body weight exercises.

Below are some of my favorite body weight exercises which can be used in various variations to kick start your workouts.

planks

1) Planks

Lie face down with your forearms extended and palms on the floor. Extend the legs behind the body and rise up on the toes. Keeping the back straight and hips in one line tighten the core and hold the position for 30-60 seconds minimum. For those who can, hold this position for as long as you can. Do a minimum of 3-4 repetitions of this posture with about 10-15 seconds break in between. With progress, aim at reducing your break time and increasing your time holding the position. Also increase your repetitions with practice.

Planks help with improving the flexibility of your posterior muscles, balance, posture, tones your stomach, strengthens your core and reduces back pain to a certain degree.

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squats

2) Squats

Stand with your feet parallel or turned out 20 degrees, whatever is more comfortable. Slowly start bending the hips and knees until the thighs are at least parallel to the floor like sitting on a chair. Make sure your heels do not rise off the floor while bending your knees and ensure your knees don’t go beyond your toes. To make sure you are doing this right, push your hips back while going down. Once you reach your maximum stretch, count to ten and start coming up slowly. Press the floor through your heels to return to a standing position. Do 8-10 repetitions each turn and start by doing 3-4 turns with 10-15 second breaks in between. With progress, aim at reducing your break time and increasing your time holding the position. Also increase your repetitions with practice.

Squats are a great way to train and strengthen your lower body muscles. It tones your muscles and burns fat and cellulite effectively. Increases flexibility of your joints making them supple and preventing injury. It’s is a non impact exercise which makes it great for those with back problems. Squats are also a sure way to tone and have a nice round butt. However Squats done in the wrong posture can hurt your knees so do ensure you have supervision while doing squats if you have a knee problem to ensure your technique is right?

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push ups3) Push Up

Start in a plank position, slowly start lowering your body toward the floor by bending your arms from the elbow. Ensure your elbows soft keeping the back straight and body parallel to the ground. Once you reach your maximum level, hold for 2 counts and then start coming back up slowly by pushing the floor with your palms. Do 8-10 repetitions each turn and start by doing 3-4 turns with 10-15 second breaks in between. With progress, aim at reducing your break time and increasing your time holding the position. Also increase your repetitions with practice.

Doing pushups on a regular basis will strengthen, tone and build your arm and upper body major muscles, which can make daily activities easier and improve performance. It strengthens your core and increases bone mass. Regular pushups boosts metabolism and aids weight loss.

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shoulder bridge

4) Shoulder Bridge

Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and start lifting your body from the hips moving to the spine toward the ceiling keeping the core tight. Only the head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the ground. Hold this posture for 30-60 seconds minimum. For those who can, hold this position for as long as you can. Do a minimum of 3-4 repetitions of this posture with about 10-15 seconds break in between. With progress, aim at reducing your break time and increasing your time holding the position. Also increase your repetitions with practice. This works well to strengthen your core, back muscles and is also a great stretch for the lower back and abdomen. It also leaves you feeling good after.

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inchworm

5) Inchworm

Stand up tall with your legs straight and hip distance apart. Start by rolling your upper body down toward the floor. Lead with your chin tucked in, neck, shoulders, back and lower back following. Try to keep the torso closest to your knees and touch the floor with your palms. Hold for 10 counts and start rolling back up in a reverse order leading with your lower back and ending with your chin. For those who can, hold this position for as long as you can. Do a minimum of 3-4 repetitions of this posture with about 10-15 seconds break in between. With progress, aim at reducing your break time and increasing your time holding the position. Also increase your repetitions with practice. This exercise works great for balance and flexibility of the whole body. It increases circulation and boosts digestion and metabolism.

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These are my five picks from a variety of body weight exercises. Do this together as a full body workout at your own comfort level and range or mix and match with other exercises as a routine. Keep altering between the variations and repetitions always working on building more strength, increasing your range and flexibility and getting fitter.

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