Gym memberships cost time and money, and can be intimidating for beginners. Thankfully, you don’t need one to get a strong, healthy physique! You can do it from the comfort of your own home if you use these four essential body-weight exercises:
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Pushups are one of the best chest and triceps exercises you can do. Follow these steps to perfect your technique:
1. Lie on your stomach with your feet less than shoulder-width apart.
2. Place your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart, with your elbows slightly tucked in towards your sides (not flared out).
3. Slowly lower yourself down using your arms until your nose touches the floor. Ensure that your arms are lowering you, and that you're not simply lowering your head or sagging in the shoulders. Make sure your spine is neutral, your butt isn't poking into the air, and your head isn't hanging down below your shoulders.
4. At the bottom of the rep, inhale deeply into your stomach, maintaining tension in your chest and arms, and not letting yourself simply rest on the ground.
This much more difficult exercise is essential for building great biceps and a strong back. First, you'll need a bar. You can buy a doorway pullup bar for about $20. Here’s how to master this move:
1. Hang on to the bar with arms straight and your palms pointing away from you, grip shoulder-width apart.
2. Inhale, then pull yourself up (without swinging your body) until your chin is over the bar. If you need help, use a chair and gently tap your foot on it to give a little push, or use the chair to go to the top position and hold yourself in it for as long as you can.
3. Slowly lower yourself, exhaling as you go, until your arms are straight again. They shouldn't be bent at all at the elbows.
The squat is one of the most fundamental movements of the human body, and being able to do it is one of the biggest indicators of functional physical health there is. There's not much to it, either:
1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outwards.
2. Inhale, then bend at the knees and hips, lowering yourself in the squat until your thighs are below parallel to the ground. At the bottom of the squat, keep your spine neutral (not curved downward) and your chest up. Don't rest your hands on your knees; keep them in the air in front of you.
3. Keeping your heels on the ground, explosively press yourself back up to the standing position, exhaling as you come up and keeping your knees in line with your toes (not caving in).
Want an exercise that trains the cardiovascular system and kills the legs? Look no further than the burpee. This complex plyometric movement builds endurance and helps you burn fat, if that's what you're looking for.
1. Begin by standing straight up. Jump as high as you can, keeping your legs straight in the air and lifting your arms over your head.
2. Land softly on your feet. Let the momentum bend your knees, and fall forward in a controlled fashion until you can put your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Your toes and hands should be the only parts touching the ground, and your knees should be bent.
3. Explode by popping your lower body out, extending your legs and landing on your toes again. This will put you at the top of the pushup position.
4. Do a pushup, then return to the top of the pushup position again.
5. Explosively pull your legs back up and landing on your toes in the same position as when you first hit the ground.
5. From the bent-knee position, jump as high as you can. That's one rep!