Whether it’s the holiday season or the novel coronavirus, there might be periods of time when your gym is closed. Don’t use this as an excuse to socially distance yourself from fitness. You have the best gym in the world inside your very own home. It also comes with inexpensive equipment in the form of you! Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to improve your immune system, boost your mood and keep your body trim. Here are some bodyweight exercises to do when your gym is closed.
What Is Bodyweight Exercise?
Bodyweight exercise is exactly as the name implies. Your body is the only equipment you need! During the workout, you use resistance to build muscle. Think about one of the most well-known bodyweight exercises: push-ups.
When you perform a push-up, you’re pushing back against the floor with your hands and toes as you go up and down. This pushback from the earth is giving you the stability and resistance necessary to put your muscles to work. It’s the same idea as using the chest pull machine at the gym.
Benefits Of Bodyweight Exercise
There are many perks to getting your sweat on at home. For one, it’s far cheaper than a gym membership (if you don’t count the whole rent or mortgage thing). Plus, you don’t have to deal with anyone hitting on you—except perhaps your spouse or partner, which might be a good thing!
Bodyweight exercises are a great way to introduce beginners to fitness. Using your own body is far less intimidating than entering a gym with heavy equipment and having to figure out how to use it. Plus, there’s less room for injury.
Exercising at home is also beneficial because it allows you to tailor your exercise routine around your schedule. You can bodyweight train at your convenience. Some of these exercises can even be done during your lunch break in an empty conference room!
Bodyweight exercises aren’t meant to replace weight training. Your weight is the max that you’re working with, so there’s less room for advancement than what a gym can give you. However, in times where the gym is not available, they are beyond suitable. In fact, it might be beneficial to sprinkle some bodyweight exercises in between sessions of weight training!
Bodyweight Exercise Plan For Home
The hardest part about exercising at home is figuring out where to start. We’ve crafted an exercise plan divided into three distinct categories. Each area will target different ranges of motion and muscles. We advise doing one section per day and taking a rest on the fourth day.
These exercise routines are:
- Pull bodyweight training
- Leg training
- Push bodyweight training
Although we recommend doing all of the exercises in a single section, then doing a different session the following day, feel free to mix and match. Pick a couple from each group if you want a full-body workout. Do what works best for you. That’s the beauty of taking your workout home.
We know that some people already have a set of weights at home. We’ll include some optional tips about incorporating them into these routines as well.
Pull Bodyweight Training
There are two motions we make with our arms, push and pull. Imagine getting the upper hand in a tug-of-war. You’re using your biceps to reign in the rope. This repetitive motion works your forearms, triceps, biceps, chest and upper back. Now, we’re going to take these moves to the floor!
Pull body training can be the most strenuous of the three. That’s why we recommend starting off with these exercises. You’ll put in the upper body and arm work on the first day, take a breather by doing legs on the second and then massage out the kinks on the third. After a fourth day of rest and perhaps a serving of Joy Organics’ CBD Softgels, you’ll be ready to grind again! Here are some excellent push body training exercises!
Warm-up – 5 Minutes
It’s a good habit to get loose before you ramp up the pace. Sit calmly for one minute and set an intention. Listen to your inhales and exhales and allow them to deepen. Start to move your shoulders up and down in circles.
As you inhale, roll your shoulders up to your ears. During your exhale, allow your shoulder blades to gently touch as they glide down your spine. Repeat a couple of times and then reverse the movement.
Slowly extend your legs out in front of you. Reach up to the sky and then fold your upper body forward. Allow for a little bend in your knees. Don’t let them lock as you try your best to touch your knees with your forehead.
After a few breaths, sit up straight. With control, lower yourself onto your back. Try to feel each vertebrae meeting the floor as you descend.
Sit-Ups – 5 Sets Of 20
Sit-ups are the ultimate pull body training. We want you to wipe that neck-wrenching vision of crunches out of your head and try these neck-saving sit-ups.
Bend your knees, so your heels meet with your tush. Focus on a place above you and in the distance. You should be looking more forward than up. Place your hands on your thighs and lift your chest as you slide your hands up toward your knees.
Keep your heart forward. Imagine there is a rope attached to your chest and someone before you is pulling you up with it. Make sure to take a 20-second rest between sets.
Bridges – 3 Sets of Of 10
Keep your legs where they are. Put your palms face down on the ground, next to your sides. Pretend that rope is now attached to your pelvis. Allow your pelvis to lift towards the sky.
With control, lower your booty back down to the mat. As you’re lowering, tuck your chin, breathe and then exhale. On your next inhale, untuck the chin as you lift. Incorporating that little trick is an excellent massage for the spine!
Extended Leg Pulses – 3 Sets Of 10, Each Leg
Lay on your back and extend your legs out long. Inhale your hands above your head. With control, slowly lift your right leg while you inhale. Exhale and sit up with your arms reaching toward your extended foot. Try to reach as far up toward your ankle as you comfortably can.
From there, find a rhythm and begin to pulse. Exhale and reach further up your leg. As you inhale, contract and slowly slide down your thigh.
V-Ups – 2 Sets of 8
This is your last exercise lying down, so you really want to push it. Extend yourself out long as you inhale. When you exhale, lift your legs and arms towards the sky. Pretend you’re turning your body into a V. Release to a flat back position as you inhale.
Forearm Side Plank Twists – 2 Sets of 8, Each Side
Now we’re ready to pick up the heat and move the exercises off the ground. Gently push yourself up to a seated position and make your way into a plank. Take three breaths in plank position and then lower down to a forearm plank.
Turn your body to the right side. Ground down onto your right forearm and rotate your feet so that the left leg sits on top of your right. Once you have your balance, put your left arm behind your head as if in a crunch position.
Breathe in. As you exhale, contract so that your left elbow touches your right arm. Inhale back to the forearm plank. After the two sets, rest for a minute then push back up to a plank. Then repeat on the opposite side.
Plank Rotation Twists – 2 Sets of 8, Each Side
From plank position, turn your footing as it was during the side forearm plank. As you inhale, reach your left hand to the sky. When you exhale, return to forearm plank.
If you have weights at home, consider using them in the hand that is reaching up. Just don’t go too heavy with weights. You don’t want to drop them on you!
One-Legged Balance Taps – 2 Sets of 5, Each Side
We’re going to finish up our pulling exercise with a standing routine that will play with your balance. Stand as straight as possible. Leading with your heart, exhale and begin to fold over so that your hands reach straight for the ground.
Simultaneously, lift your right leg up behind you with your toes facing the floor. Extend as you inhale, then exhale and release everything to the floor. If you need assistance, hold onto a wall with one arm. For those looking for more of a workout, hold weights in your hands.
Your upper body got a nice workout in the last section. Today we’re going to concentrate on your legs. Legs need a little extra TLC because they contain some of the largest muscles in your body. Consider adding Joy Organics’ CBD Energy Drink Mix to your fitness routine to help improve your focus and aid in post-workout recovery.
Warm-Up – 5 Minutes
Sit quietly and focus on your breath for one minute. Set your intention for your practice and then straighten your legs out long. Slowly lower yourself all the way down. Hug your knees up to your chest, and try to meet them with your forehead.
Release your arms to a T-shape and allow your legs to fall over to one side. Then lift them back up and twist to the other side. Pick up the pace so that your legs resemble a windshield wiper.
Place your hands on your knees and slowly rock yourself up to a seated position. Bring the bottoms of your feet together to get into cobbler’s pose. Lead with your heart and bring your gaze past your feet. Begin to fold over your legs until you feel a beautiful stretch. Feeling warmed up? Let’s get started!
Donkey Kick/Fire Hydrant Combo – 3 Sets of 5, Each Side
Get into a tabletop position. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists and your hips are squarely over the knees. Take a few breaths to get comfortable. Then, inhale and kick your right leg back with the knee bent. Your heel should be facing the ceiling. This move is a donkey kick.
Exhale and return your leg to the ground. Inhale and bend like it was before, but bring your knee out to the side this time. You’re doing the fire hydrant pose. Exhale and return. One donkey kick plus one fire hydrant counts as one rep. If you have ankle weights, they’re a great addition to this routine.
Froggy Burpee – 3 Sets of 10
Get into a plank position. Reach your arms out wide, with your hands extended far apart. Inhale, and as you exhale, jump your legs up to a squat. Inhale in the squat position and as you exhale, jump back to your plank.
Side Step Squats – 3 Sets of 8, Each Side
Stand upright and step to the right side, keeping your left foot firmly planted. When your right foot touches the ground, exhale and squat down. Inhale and stand up, bringing the right leg back to meet the left. For those who want to incorporate weights, each time you squat, perform a bicep curl with each arm.
Squat Jacks – 3 Sets Of 10
Let’s turn the heat up a bit with some squat jacks. Stand with your feet together. When you exhale, jump and extend your legs as if you were doing a jumping jack. As you land, exhale and squat. Inhale and jump back together.
Forward To Reverse Lunges – 3 Sets of 8, Each Side
This exercise will work your balance and core strength. It makes for a great burn to finish off leg day. Stand up straight. As you exhale, step forward with your right leg and dip your hips, so you are in a lunge. Inhale to return to a standing position. Exhale and step the right leg back and dip for a reverse lunge. One forward lunge and one reverse lunge equals one rep. Hold weights in your hand for an extra challenge!
Push Body Weight Training
The last part of our bodyweight exercises will perform push motions that compliment the pull motions we focused on earlier. These exercises will work the biceps, trapezius and deltoids. They can also help you with core work and balance.
Warm-Up -5 Minutes
Sit comfortably for one minute, drawing attention inward by listening to your breath. Set your intention before breathing in and reaching your hands up to the sky. As you exhale, twist your body to the right and look over your right shoulder. Place your left hand on your right knee and prop your body up with your right hand behind you. Take a few breaths before switching sides.
Get into a tabletop position. Perform a little cat-cow. As you inhale, drop your belly while lifting the chin and pointing your tailbone upward. Let your heart radiate forward. When you exhale, lower your head, draw your navel in, round your spine, and push your hands against the mat. Repeat three to five times.
Return to the tabletop position. Reach your right arm out as far as possible, then thread your right hand under your left arm and twist. Let your right ear kiss the mat, as you lay on your right shoulder. Take a few breaths before pushing yourself back up to tabletop and doing the same to the left.
Mountain Climbers – 3 Sets Of 10, Each Side
Let’s get the heart pumping right away. Get into plank position and begin mountain climbers, alternating bending the right knee, then the left knee as one rep. Aim to get your knee to touch the tricep on its respective side. Try to go as fast as possible, alternating between legs.
Plank-Ups – 3 Sets Of 8
From your plank position, lower from your hands to your forearms to go down into a forearm plank. Do one breath cycle. On the exhale, push one arm at a time back up to a plank.
Trunk Rotations – 3 Sets Of 8, Each Side
Still in plank, we’re going to work the obliques. Inhale to lift your right leg up. Keep your hips square as you elongate. Exhale and bring your knee in toward your chest and try to touch your right knee to your left tricep. Inhale back to plank and continue. For an extra workout, try bringing your nose to your knee before crossing over to meeting the opposite tricep.
Down Dog Abs – 3 Sets Of 8, Each Side
Let’s finish this off with a little less strain but just as much heat. Push yourself from a plank position into a downward-facing dog. Pedal your feet to get loose. Exhale and try to lower your heels to touch the ground. It’s okay if you don’t quite reach, it’s all about intention.
As you inhale, push forward into a plank. From plank position, bring your right knee up to touch your right tricep. Return to plank and repeat on the left side. Return to your downward dog and repeat. For more of a workout, you can integrate trunk rotations into the routine. Just make sure you work out both sides evenly!
What are some ways you’ve been staying fit while the gyms are closed? Share with us in the comments below!
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.