WORK YOUR BACK
This is a great movement for strengthening the back when you don’t have equipment. While laying down on your stomach, open your chest lifting your arms and legs off the mat while keeping the pelvis on the ground/mat. Basically, your limbs have no contact with the ground. If necessary, you can lift just your chest and aim your arms towards your feet. In yoga it’s known as the Locust Pose (Salabhasana) or more commonly called the “superman hold”. 5 rounds of 15 – 30 second holds should do the trick.
THE PERFECT SQUAT
The best bodyweight exercise for all, bar none. Standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, you want your knees to track where your toes are pointing. Begin the decent with pushing/hinging your hips back and lowering your hips to the ground, with your knees “outside of your torso”. I usually tell my clients to squat into the ground and not to squat over there knees. You are free to place your arms and hands wherever feels comfortable, I usually have them by my hips. You will need 5 sets of 20 – 30 reps here.
THE HIP THRUST
Start by lying on your back with knees bent. Pressing through your heels and firing your glutes, lift your hips off the floor. Your weight should rest on your heels and your upper back – not your toes or your neck and cervical spine. Extend your hips until they form a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Make sure the end range of motion comes from the hips – squeezing the glutes together at the top of the movement – and not from lumbar hyperextension. You want to aim for 20 to 30 reps per set and a total of 4 to 5 sets.
GREAT LOOKING CALVES
Funny enough some women have great calves from doing nothing – are maybe they are! Being in high heels keeps the calves contracted a lot of the time hence stimulating muscles in the calves. With this body part, it’s not rocket science, calf raises are simple, easy to do and need high repetitions. We’re talking 4 to 5 sets of 40 reps of you standing on the edge of a step (you can use stairs for this). Start at the fully extended position where your calves are stretched out and end in a fully flexed (tip-toe) position and holding it for a second before coming back to your start position. This bodyweight movement is more than enough to take care of your calves!
Begin in a push up position, with your hands at a slightly wider than shoulder width apart. You feet could be placed at the same with as your hands but they should more importantly feel comfortable to you. From here, you need to keep in mind that body should form a straight line from your head through your feet. You shouldn’t sag at the hips neither should they be sticking up in the air. Remember this tip – squeeze and get your glutes activated throughout the whole movement. People never remember to keep their gluten tight but this automatically engages your midsection/core. Now that your have your arms straight out, abs engaged and butt clenched, you can begin your descent. Depending on your fitness levels, halfway might be the lowest you could get to and that’s okay until you build your strength up. If you’re a fitter individual who is okay to get your chest all the way down to the ground, great! Once you’ve come to your bottom position, push away from the ground. That completes a proper push up! I recommend 5 reps for absolute beginners up to 20 reps for the more advanced folks out there. Shoot for 5 working sets.
Why so many reps, you might ask? Well, firstly, it’s a bodyweight routine. There isn’t any other external load. Think about it – when you walk, bend over to pick your kids up or do anything in your regular life, do you actually stop and think to yourself “how many reps is this” or “I can’t walk to the MRT station, it’s too many reps!”. You don’t. So 20 – 30 reps of any bodyweight movement shouldn’t be thought of as “so many reps”. You SHOULD be able to handle your body in that capacity. With that said, a sample routine, for beginners, put together would look like this:
PERFORM 5 ROUNDS OF:
SQUATS – 20 reps
LOCUST POSE – 15 seconds (45 seconds for more advanced folks)
CALF RAISES – 40 reps
HIP THRUSTS – 20 reps
PUSH UPS – 5 reps (20 reps for more advanced folks)
There will be a 30 second rest in between for beginners and 15 seconds rest for advanced individuals.