“I just don’t have time” or “I can’t afford it.” These are the most common excuses in the physical fitness world. In today’s economically tough times, yes, anything can be expensive; and, yes, most of us lead very busy lives. However, taking control of your health and fitness does not have to be overwhelmingly time consuming or cost any money whatsoever.
If you are ready, motivated, and prepared for change, here are five great exercises that can be done starting today, right now, with no driving, gym membership or equipment required.
Remember to always warm up before exercising, and concentrate on performing each repetition of the exercises listed below with good form.
The plank is an exercise that stimulates the entire body including your core, quads, back, and shoulders. Your back will love you for it. To perform this exercise, start on the floor, on your stomach. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders, and your forearms and palms on the floor. As you raise your hips, attempt to keep the body (head through heels) in a flat “plank” position and hold. Do this in intervals of time, start short: 20 – 30 seconds. Slowly increase the time you hold the plank as you increase your strength.
The squat is one of the best all-around exercise movements in existence. Each of us squats all the time: sit, stand, sit etc. The problem is that we have stopped doing it as an exercise or as a “prehab” (anti-rehab) measure. We have literally forgotten how to squat correctly, and have therefore lost the mobility and flexibility to do so.
To perform the squat, start in the standing position with your feet directly under the shoulders. As you begin the descent, unlock your knees and move the hips back first. Emphasis on hips back first. Attempt to keep your chest up high, look straight and ignore the floor. The key is to keep your heels on the ground. When your hip crease passes your knee crease, stand back up to a fully upright position. Practice, practice, and then practice some more to perfect your form. Your back, knees and core will thank you.
This exercise is exactly what it sounds like. The superman is a great movement for the posterior chain of muscles in your body. Most people ignore the posterior. We workout our chest, abs, arms, and maybe legs occasionally, but many of us completely neglect to exercise the hamstring, glutes (butt) and lower back muscles.
To perform the superman, begin lying on the floor with your chest, thighs and feet in contact with the ground. Place your hands in front of you, like superman in flight. Simultaneously raise the your arms and legs. The keys to performing this exercise correctly are to squeeze your glutes, and to get your arms and legs as high as you can. Then return to start position. Perform this exercise slowly until you become comfortable with it, then speed up the tempo.
While this exercise is certainly a classic, if often gets written off or ignored. Yet, we will always need the strength to pick ourselves up from the ground. There are many variations of the push-up: elevating the feet, the cobra push-up, and many more. The push-up does not only stimulate the chest, it activates the shoulders, core, triceps and lower back as well.
To begin, place your hands on the floor about 4-5 inches outside of your shoulders with your chest and thighs touching the ground. Push yourself off the ground, keeping your entire body in a flat plank state. Return to the start position in the same manner. Practice using full range of motion. You can scale this exercise as needed by reducing the range of motion or pushing up with your knees on the ground instead of your toes, but always make sure you are challenging yourself and not just taking the easy way out.
Sprints are a hated favorite of just about every person who has ever exercised. This exercise can take your body into an anaerobic state very quickly; that is, the state where the fat-burning magic happens. Sprints can be done by length or by time. For example: sprint for 50 meters, rest 30 for seconds and repeat 8-10 times. Or, sprint for 20-30 seconds, rest for 20-30 seconds and repeat 8 -10 times.
All of these movements are a great way to complete an exercise routine without the use of equipment or a gym. A routine can be as easy as combining a two or three of these exercises into a 20-30 minute workout. Complete a few rounds of your favorites and least favorite and you got yourself into a home-based routine.
Edwin Morales is the owner of Crossfit CVI in Pompano Beach. He is an ex-military and law enforcement officer, and is passionate about helping people from all walks of life achieve their health and fitness goals. For more information, visit crossfitcvi.com, call 954-972-4284 or email [email protected].