Brains and Brawn… Workouts for Free
Published 5:44 pm Friday, January 28, 2022
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BY CHAD SALYER
This time of year, inclement weather often interferes with our routine. Snow and freezing rain can cause a person to be late or even have to miss important events like work.
It can also prevent us from taking our daily walk or even getting any exercise at all. As a consequence, many people make the mistake of buying expensive workout equipment during the winter (treadmills, exercise bikes, etc. ) in the hopes that it will help motivate them to workout more often.
However, these are likely to become neglected coat racks sitting in some dusty corner and reminding you daily that you aren’t using them like you promised yourself.
A far less expensive alternative is to complete a purely bodyweight workout that requires nothing but a little effort and some time.
Giving up a sedentary lifestyle is like quitting smoking or any other bad habit. You have to decide to do it first. It is not enough to buy an exercise bike. That is not in and of itself going to change a bad habit.
You must decide you want to workout and do those workouts day after day. Ultimately, the equipment won’t make much difference because you can complete some daily bodyweight exercises that will give you the same or better results than an expensive piece of equipment without any cost.
Some advantages to this workout style are that the weather is not going to interfere with your ability to do it, it has no cost, and it requires no equipment of any kind. It is the perfect way to begin a fitness plan as evidenced by its use in military training for new recruits for time untold.
So, you decided to try a bodyweight workout. What might this workout look like?
Well, you want to hit lower body first. So, I recommend you start with bodyweight squats. Extend your arms in front of yourself like a zombie and squat down until your hips are even with your knees.
Keep your weight on your heels and your back straight. Then stand back up to the original position. Try to complete 5 sets of 10-20 repetitions with one to two minutes of rest between sets (do more reps if it seems too easy, less reps if it seems too hard).
Next, you will want to hit the big muscle groups in your upper body. This is best accomplished with a push-up. So, you will get on the floor facing downward with your weight on your hands and the tips of your feet, descend until your upper arm is parallel to the floor, and then push yourself up to the starting position.
Modify this exercise by putting your weight on your knees instead of your feet if necessary. You can modify push ups even more by using an elevated platform to rest your hands on instead of the floor.
Again, try to complete 5 sets of 10-20 repetitions with one to two minutes of rest between sets (do more reps if it seems too easy, less if it seems too hard).
Next you may want to work on general fitness and core strength. A classic exercise for this is the jumping jack.
Start in a standing position and jump while extending your legs outward and your arms upward. Then, return to the original position. In this case you would want to work up to 5 sessions of 2 minutes each with one to two minutes or less of rest between sets. 2 minutes is the goal.
You may stop before that point if you run out of wind or otherwise can’t continue with the set. A good strategy is to always try to go a bit longer than the previous workout. Often the best things in life are free, and workouts are no exception.
Completing the three movements listed above would be appropriate for a beginner workout. As you advance, you would want to increase the sets and reps, introduce new movements like burpees, lunges, jumps, etc. and reduce rest times between sets.
If you are already working out regularly, you might scoff at a bodyweight workout thinking it can’t do much for you, but I challenge you to try it.
I bet that, regardless of your fitness level, you will get something out of it.