Over the holidays I got together with a good friend of mine for dinner. He was mentioning to me that he wanted to focus more on his health and get into shape – not just for him, but also for his two wonderful children – a good reason indeed! But he also mentioned to me that he doesn’t like going to the gym. I told him – “you don’t need a gym to get a good workout. You can do it at home and with no equipment whatsoever.” So he got my mind thinking about writing an article on a great work out you can do at home using only your own body weight.
Below I suggest four exercises that recruit multiple muscles for maximum effectiveness. You could do this exercise circuit in a couple of different ways for variety. Here are just a few options:
You can do a Tabata style workout where you would do as many reps of each of the four exercises as you can for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. So one round would be 20 seconds burpee tuck jump, 20 seconds plank twist, 20 seconds push up, and 20 seconds jumping jack plank with a 10 second rest between each exercise. After you finished one round, take a 30 second to 1 minute break to catch your breath and then do another 3 rounds (4 rounds in total).
Total work out time is only 8 minutes not including the breaks between rounds. You have to push hard for those 20 seconds of work. So try to do as many reps as you can as quickly as you can with proper form. Keep count and mark it down when you take a break. This way when you do this circuit again, you can see how you are progressing.
Same type of idea but this time you will work for 50 seconds and take a 20 second break between exercises. So round one would be 50 seconds burpee tuck jump, 50 seconds plank twist, 50 seconds push up, and 50 seconds jumping jack plank with a 20 second rest between each exercise. Do this for 4 rounds but in this option you don’t take a 30 second to 1 minute break between rounds, you just work right through. So you will do an 18 minute 40 second workout. Again push hard and count your reps.
Another option is to set your timer for 8 minutes and do 15 burpee tuck jumps, 10 plank twists on each side, 15 push ups, and 25 jumping jack planks and continue to run through the circuit until the 8 minutes runs out. Then take a 1 minute break and start again for a total workout time of 16 minutes. If you are more advanced, then add a third round for a total workout time of 24 minutes.
Of course you can modify and put your own twist on the circuit and even introduce new exercises. The idea is to push hard for a short amount of time. You should get your sweat on. I sure do when I do this circuit!
Remember to warm up first before getting into the workout. Start off with some simple jumping jacks and jogging on the spot to warm up the muscles.
Here is a description of each exercise I mention above with images:
Burpee Tuck Jump – from a standing position, jump down to the ground so that you are in a plank. Then from the plank position, jump your feet forward to your hands and spring up bringing your knees to your chest. If the tuck is too difficult, just jump straight in the air with your arms over head. If you still need to dial it down a notch until you work up to the jump, then simply walk your feet towards your hands and stand up then bend down and walk your feet back into a plank position.
Tanya’s tips: watch your form. Don’t let your lower back sag when you jump back to a plank position. Keep your core tight to maintain stability in your lower back.
Side plank twist – lying on one side, in a straight line from your head to your feet, contract the abdominals and come up onto one hand (or you can use your forearm if you need to crank it down a notch) lifting your hips off the floor. Your hand, or forearm should be directly under your shoulder while you maintain a straight line with your body. Raise your free hand in the air and gently contract your abdominals as you twist forward bringing your hand under your body. Squeeze your abdominals and come back to your starting position. If you want to crank it up a notch, just hold a weight in your free hand.
Tanya’s tips: maintain a straight body line, hips square and your neck in line with your spine. Contract the abs as you twist.
Push up – in a plank position, set your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Contract your abs to stabilize yourself and keep your bum down so you form a nice straight line. Breathe out as you slower lower your chest to the ground. Hover just about an inch or so above the ground then breathe out as you push your body back up to the start position.
Tanya’s tips: your gaze should be slightly ahead of you, not straight down. Arms should be straight at the top but don’t lock your elbows.
Jumping Jack Plank – Begin in plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders, your body forming a straight line. From this position, jump your legs wide and then back to the start position just like you are doing a regular jumping jack. Do this as quickly as you can keeping your pelvis steady and maintaining a straight body line.
Tanya’s tips: Don’t let your butt rise up. Maintain that straight body line by squeezing the glutes
While this workout may seem simple, once you go through it you’ll see that it is quite challenging. So you really don’t need a gym to get a very effective workout. All you need is your motivation and imagination!
To fitness with love,