Sometimes I think we get too fancy with our fitness routine. We try complicated exercises and buy expensive equipment. We get into programs designed to provide specific results. This is especially true when it comes to strength training.
What I’ve noticed, as I’ve focused more on my health in recent months, is that it’s rarely necessary to use creative and complicated methods to see solid results and build strength. (Bodybuilding is a completely different situation; I’m talking about general strength training for health and fitness.)
Because strength training is an important part of health and fitness, especially as we age, I’ve tried to keep it in my routine, and even increase how much of it I do. Cardio is important, of course, but not if you neglect the strength. Strength training can help your cardio become more effective, since lean muscle burns more calories. Strength training is also good for your bones.
If you want to add more strength training to your fitness routine, and do it without a lot of expensive equipment or trips to the gym, here are some body weight exercises that you can include:
The pushup is tried and true. You can use it to build arm strength, and, if you manage it right, it can also help your core. While the basic pushup is a great option for almost anyone, it isn’t the only option. Men’s Fitness offers 15 different pushup variations you can use to vary your workout and target different arm and upper body muscles. Some of these variations even offer a bit of extra cardio or full-body strength training.
If you want to work on your legs, lunges are a great option. When done with proper form, lunges can work multiple muscles. A variation is the traveling lunge which can boost the effectiveness. There are also variations that include lunging to the side, rather than lunging forward. Side lunges work different parts of your muscles and can help you mix it up a little bit.
Try different situps and crunches for your core. Look for ways to target different muscles in your midsection. Don’t forget that twists and side crunches can target different muscles in your side and even your back. Bicycle crunches can elevate your heart rate, helping you burn calories, even as you build strength.
Burn Calories and Build Strength
It’s possible for you to get a good cardio workout and use body weight exercises to build strength at the same time. Health.com offers a look at five different exercise that will burn calories and build strength at the same time.
It is important to understand that your body tends to get used to things if you do the same exercises, in the same order, all the time. One of the best things you can do for better fitness is to change things up. This is why doing variations of different exercises can be helpful. Change it up through your routine, and change your routine every now and then, and your body will be adapting and remaining fit.
What are your favorite body weight exercises requiring no extra equipment?