So you’re ready to get in shape. Good for you! Taking your health seriously and adopting a regular exercise plan is an important part of adding quality years to your life and enjoy yourself even more in the present. That being said, not everyone has the opportunity or funds to head out to a gym or load up on tons of expensive equipment. If you’re still wanting to take your fitness seriously, here are six great exercises that don’t require anything but your own body.
1. Plank (Full Body)
The plank is an exercise that looks deceivingly easy but in reality, can be quite difficult to master. This go-getter move works out your arms, your core, your legs, your chest, your back, your butt…you name it, and the plank probably exercises it.
To get into position, begin by lying face down with your forearms on the floor and your hands clasped. Extend your legs behind you and rise up on your toes. Keep your back straight and tighten your core abdominal muscles. Hold a rigid, tight position with no sagging or bending. Relax your head and look at the floor.
For absolute beginners, try holding the position for 10 or 15 seconds. As you become stronger, work up to 30 seconds, then 40, 50, and 60 seconds. When you master that you can even try lifting one foot or one arm off the floor.
2. Arm Circles (Arms)
This one is pretty much all in the name, and it is another easy exercise that can pack a lot more punch than you may initially realize. You may have even tried these out in school gym classes as a youngster, but with some dedication, they can still remain an important part of your routine.
Standing comfortably on the ground, raise your arms out into a T-pose position, perpendicular to your torso. Begin to slowly move your arms in a clockwise motion, starting with 20 to 30-second intervals. Once complete, reverse the direction and move your arms in a counter-clockwise motion.
3. Squats (Legs)
The squat is a classic, but very commonly done without proper form. Make sure to pay attention to how your body moves throughout this exercise to ensure that you’re not doing any harm or diminishing the intended effect of the squat itself.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and either parallel or at a slight, comfortable angle – no more than 30 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the floor during the entire squat, do not pick up your heel or toes. Slowly begin to crouch down, bending your knees and hips, making sure your back remains straight and your shoulders are rolled back.
Once your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, press through your heels to return to a standing position. Try starting with ten and increasing little by little as you gain strength!
4. Single-leg Deadlift (Legs)
While the name sounds a little sinister, the deadlift is a great and useful exercise to add into your repertoire and also feels a little silly to perform, and it’s never a bad thing to inject a little humor into your routine. Start in a standing position with your feet together. Make sure your shoulders are rolled back and your back is straight. Lift your right leg slightly and lower your arms and torso while continuing to raise your right leg. Keep your left leg slightly bent and reach your arms as close to the floor as you can. Raise your arms and torso while lowering your right leg back into a standing position. Now shift to the left leg and repeat.
5. Superman (Chest & Back)
Being a superhero is a dream of many, and no superhero is complete without their fitness! This exercise is a whimsical way to seriously work out some harder to access areas in your chest and back, not to mention practice your flying-through-the-air stance. Who knows, you may need it someday!
To perform the Superman, lie on the ground with your arms and legs extended. Without moving your torso, slowly lift your arms and legs simultaneously to create a small curved form with your body. Much like the plank, try holding the position for 10-15 seconds to start and then continue to longer holds when you feel capable of them.
6. Bicycle (Core)
You can get some great exercise without actually owning a physical bike, and you don’t even have to wear a helmet to do it. Just make sure you have a comfortable spot on the floor, and let’s get to it!
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Pull your knees up towards your chest, and then bring your right elbow towards your left knee while simultaneously extending your right leg. Continue by alternating sides; bringing your left elbow towards your right knee with extending your left leg, and going back and forth in a pedaling motion.