Something that is forever being thrown up as a barrier and reason for not moving and exercising is the excuse of not having enough time. As a trainer this is something that I hear quite often but can combat against quite easily to get them out of their sedentary lifestyle. If you're a reader of Fitness Newspaper you will see that the 'Alive in 5' articles and challenges that are there will give you an amazing all round workout in no time at all…….about 5 minutes actually ;) So to add on to that I wanted to talk about calisthenics, or, body weight exercises, so that no matter where you are, how much or how little time you have, you'll never be gym-less again!
Im sure you've all heard of and done some bodyweight moves before, like burpee's or mountain climbers, but have maybe ignored the potential benefit of these and other calisthenic exercises. Some of the hardest and most challenging workouts I have ever done have been using nothing more than what I was born with and a little space in my hotel room. Plus, as a bonus, I haven't spent a dime and avoided potential overload injuries….But thats a little off the subject and another article all on its own, so lets get back to the topic at hand.
To put it as simple as possible, calisthenics are where you use you're own bodyweight as resistance. This may sound boring and limited if it's not something you're very familiar with but you couldn't be further from the truth. Once you begin to play with the speed, angles, body positioning, explosiveness, progression/regression and exercise combinations you have an unlimited arsenal of moves that will not only keep you fit and strong but challenge the pants off you. To go through and list off all of, or even some of, the potential exercise possibilities would take a collective group of people a long time and they would almost always certainly continue to come up with more and more. So to give you a taste of the endless possibilities lets use one exercise everyone knows and show you how it can be tweaked to become many, the push up.
A standard push up is done by placing your hands on the ground approximately shoulders width apart while being prone with your toes on the ground. You then lower yourself and push back up, easy right? If thats too difficult, drop to your knees, if it was too easy, try raising one leg in the air, if thats still too easy, raise your feet off the ground onto a higher surface (can you see where I'm going with this?). Now lets play with your hand positions, try taking them wider then shoulder width, then with them close together directly underneath your chest. Turn one hand out and the other hand in, place one hand further in front and the other one further behind, even try take one arm out the equation all together. Tell me thats not effective and challenging enough. Now we can begin to play with the speed and force at which you perform each press. Try starting back in the original position, lowering yourself to the ground and pushing up with enough force to drive you're hands off the ground. Once you're able to perform these and want more of a challenge try shifting your hand positions with each explosive push, forward/back, wide/narrow, hands turned in/out, even on to and off of a raised object.
As you can see one simple exercise can become many, imagine the endless possibilities. You can find an enormous amount of calisthenic exercises on the internet to quench your workout thirst but for a more structured, effective workout for your own personal goals seek out and find a reputable personal trainer to help guide you in the right direction. So no matter where you are or what you have at your disposal you will never be gym-less again.
Now go get creative!