Did you know you're walking around with your own home gym everywhere you go?
Bodyweight exercises are something that can be done anywhere, anytime and still give you a great workout without having to fight for parking spots at the gym or manoeuvre around the selfie taking crowd.
Here's why bodyweight exercises can be very beneficial and a few combinations of them for a quick workout when you're in a rush.
A Full Workout Anytime
A good test of fitness and strength is being able to be in control of your own body such as simply standing up from a lying position without using your hands or arms or even just performing the classic burpee.
The burpee was actually invented in the 1930's by a guy named Royal H. Burpee (sounds like a bad new gastrointestinal McDonalds product) while at Columbia University as a quick way to assess fitness and strength. The U.S. Armed Services were quick to adopt this fitness test going into WWII as they quickly needed to assess the fitness ability of new recruits.
The burpee is a quick way to measure agility, coordination and strength while using your cardiovascular and muscular endurance systems. And it goes beyond burpees; mountain climbers, bodyweight squats, planks and even simple push-ups are all effective bodyweight exercises to build fitness and strength.
Putting Them All Together
A great style of workout are the ones that include high-intensity intervals as they not only help build lean muscle but they can be helpful in burning body fat during and long after the workout is done in an "afterburn" effect. When you combine a few exercises together and perform them as a circuit you not only get a great workout but one that doesn't take a lot of time and can be done anywhere.
A good workout would be to take 6 bodyweight exercises and break them into two groups of three. Say the first three are bodyweight squats, pushups and mountain climbers. You can start by doing 20 seconds of each exercise all in a row, rest 45-60 seconds then do all three again but now for 30 seconds each. Rest again and then go for 40 seconds on each one before moving on to the next three exercises, such as burpees, lunges and planks.
You can have an infinite number of workouts at your disposal with just 6 exercises as you can create many different combinations and order of exercises. The other great thing is you can go at your own pace and intensity. If you're performing 30 seconds of bodyweight squats and can do 100 in that time thae you do 100. If you can only do 12, you do 12. That way you can go about exercising comfortably and can even workout with other people as everyone can go at their best intensity.
Don't Forget Your Core!
Many full body exercises like burpees and mountain climbers will work your core and abdominals but you can still get a good ab workout using just your body and not a $1200 twisting contraption you bought on the Home Shopping Network at 2 in the morning..
Leg lifts, bicycle crunches and planks are just a few examples of great bodyweight core exercises. You can do the same thing and do 2 or 3 in a row for timed increments.
Wrapping It Up
You've probably noticed how strong and fit gymnasts are and that's because they are constantly engaging their body weight in all their events. One of the strongest, fittest and best-built guys I've ever known was a gymnast who had never touched a weight in his life. Using your bodyweight can be a quick, effective and efficient way to boost your fitness at home or while traveling. You can do it outside, in your living room and pretty much anywhere.
Selfies will still be at your own discretion...
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook