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You Don’t need weights to have an effective workout. Try these 5 types of exercises to develop healthy training programs.
Squats are well known and pretty crucial to your workout routine. They’re a true multi-tasker. While performing them you practice balance, burn more fat compared to other exercises (due to muscle gain), activate your core and back, and promote circulation. Plus, it’s one of the oldest and most useful functional exercises, which means you’ll have no problem squatting down to reach the bottom of the fridge.
But, before jumping right in, take some advice. “Single leg and double leg [glute bridges] along with squats are super beneficial lower body exercises that activate glutes. Doing glute bridges prior to lunging and squatting helps ensure you get actual glute engagement when you squat, lunge, etc. so you are working the right muscles. Activation makes a huge difference—wakes ‘em up!”
Unlike standard squats, lunges involve a major shift of weight since you’re stepping forward or backward. Don’t get stuck thinking this move only targets your legs, though. No matter the variation, you’ll be working your glutes, calves, and hamstrings. You’ll also use your core and lower back for balance. Doing lunges also increases the flexibility of your hip flexors.
Another way lunges differ from traditional squats is that they train each leg individually. This is known as unilateral training. Rather than solely improving your strength, unilateral exercises increase your balance and coordination. This brings your core and back strength into play. Focusing on one leg at a time with lunges can even help with symmetry and muscular imbalances.
You’ll find planks among our favorites exercises to do with no equipment. Planks work the entire body, can be done anywhere, and have a lot of variations. Muenster specifically favors plank jacks with palm-to-elbow movement because they also raise your heart rate.
Although it looks simple, plank post can be deceiving. In fact, while in a plank you’re working the entirety of your core—including the transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, and obliques. Your glutes are also at work, carrying your back and bum. Despite its difficulty, this position can be done safely and without complication.
Planking even lends itself greatly to reducing back pain. Once your abs learn to activate and support your body, you’ll be taking a big strain off of your back. The improved posture has a domino effect on your neck and shoulders, eliminating pain brought on by slouching.
While lunges are a unilateral exercise, push-ups are a compound exercise. Compound exercises use several muscle groups at once. This classic move engages your core, biceps, triceps, deltoids, and lower body—and that’s just to keep you stabilized. Using this many muscle groups at once causes your heart to work harder to get oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. So, in short, push-ups can also be a form of cardiovascular exercise that increases heart health.
Like planking, when properly done pushups will train muscles needed to support proper posture. They also prevent lower back pain and guard against potential injury. But if you find yourself bored of the same old thing (hi, freshman P.E. class push-ups), take a cue from some of our trainers who prefer variations.
“Push-ups are a great exercise that can be done regressively or progressively. Adding things like shoulder taps, mountain climbers, or even negatives are great ways to add more effectiveness to push-ups done without weight. Similarly, a change simple as switching up your hand placements (wide, narrow, etc.) will work different parts of the muscles.
“Several moves come to mind from the Yogic standpoint, “and it’s not necessarily yoga. For example, holding any of these for periods of time: Plank Pose (on elbows and/or hands), Chair Pose (holding in a seated pose), High Crescent Lunge, Balancing Half Moon, Tree Pose—basically any of the balancing poses.”
Poses such as these work wonders. They stretch your limbs and muscles, can increase flexibility, improve posture (due to pulling up and posing properly), and building strength (because of differing core and muscle use).
Get started with any of these no equipment moves and keep them in your arsenal when you need a quick, do-anywhere workout.