99.9% of my workouts are body weight only. It started out as convenience, but along the way I realized that my body may be all I need. Being a runner, I am used to mentally and physically relying solely on my body to get the job done, and I think body weight exercises are similar.
Body weight exercises include more than just traditional push ups and sit ups, and there are so many modifications and variations for people of every fitness level.
Right now these are my top 3 body weight exercises that I go to for a total body workout:
Windmill Push Ups
Assume a traditional push up position. At the top of the push up, lift your left hand off the floor, rotating your left shoulder and arm until it is reaching toward the ceiling. Your upper body should now be perpendicular to the floor with your extended right arm and hand supporting your body weight. Bring your left hand back to the floor, and slowly lower your body. Alternate sides.
A traditional push up, when accomplished with excellent form, is one of the best upper body exercises available. The chest, back, shoulders, and triceps should all be engaged as push your body weight away from the floor n a controlled motion. As you hit the top and rotate your core in this windmill push up, your entire core region must work to stabilize your body. Combining these two movements make windmill pushups a highly effective body weight exercise.
Lunges with a Twist
Begin by standing with feet hip width apart and with your hands fisted close to your body in front of your chest. Take a large step forward, about the length of two regular steps, with your right foot. Begin the lunge by bending at you right knee, keeping your upper body stabilized over the front leg. When your right knee is bent about 90 degrees, you have reached the bottom of the lunge. While balancing, slowly twist your torso towards the right, ‘punching’ with your left fist. Return your torso to its forward position and complete the rep by bringing your left leg to meet your right to a standing position. Alternate sides.
Lunges are a complete lower body exercise working the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Focus on form and balance as you lower yourself into the lunge, being careful not to let your front knee reach further than your toes. The twist at the end presents a challenging exercise in stabilization while activating your obliques and lower back muscles.
Plank Knee to Elbow
Start in a plank position with arms fully extended. While keeping your core stabilized, bring your left knee to your right elbow by contracting your core with a slight twist at the end as the knee reaches the elbow. Repeat on the opposite side.
Planks are one of the best simple positions to master. Stabilizing your body in a correct plank position recruits so many muscles. Adding the knee to elbow movement is a variation to take your plank to the next level.
These exercises have multiple movements, requiring you focus on stabilization in addition to the muscles groups being worked. With this philosophy brings the most efficient workout possible, thus enabling you to get the most out of your body weight exercise routine.
This post is linked up with Wild Workout Wednesday at Fit Foodie Mama!
AND head over to Jill Conyers for the Fitness Friday link up!