This year has showed us that we can’t take going into the gym for granted anymore and we should have some movements in out back pocket we can whip out when there is no equipment in sight. This can be especially frustrating when you love to lift all the heavy weights. But what if I told you these seemingly simple bodyweight movements could help you lift even heavier weights.
“Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are.”
These bodyweight movements can help you to strengthen your joints, build up core strength, and address imbalances/weaknesses that may have been holding you back. And all of this will translate you your weighted lifts! By stripping down weights and focusing on body positioning and movement you’d be surprised how drastically that can improve everything else!
Roll out the yoga mat or head out into the backyard. The candlestick is a fun exercise that has tremendous benefits. This is perhaps the best demonstration of real world functional movement. The ability to move your body from the ground to standing is a great indicator of fitness (burpees anyone?!). You will also learn coordination, balance, and build your core strength as you strive to maintain a hollow body position.
Check out a great video on the candlestick here:
2. Wall Walks
Think of these as planks taken to a whole new level. The key here is to maintain your position and not let your low back arch. If you are nervous to go all the way upside down or have trouble getting your nose all the way to the wall don’t worry. Just go as far as you safely and comfortably can – there are still so many benefits to doing this exercise!
Focus on moving slowly as you work on these and challenge yourself to spend more time under tension rather than completing the wall walk up as quickly as possible. Play around with different variations and mix in elements like shifting your weight from one hand to the other – this will have tremendous carryover to skills like handstand walking!
Here’s a great demo video:
3. Pull Ups
Pull ups can’t be beat when it comes to upper body strength training. Build up your lats, arms, and core strength by adding these in daily. Pull ups respond well to training frequency so try to do more small sets throughout the day to build up your strength. Try doing sets that are 50% of your max number of pullups to ensure you are always able to rep them out (if 8 pullups is your max always do sets of 4 with plenty of rest in between). If doing your first pullup is the goal then focus on doing just the lowering phase of the movement. Step up so your chin starts over the bar and control your lowering at a steady rate of speed so that it takes at 4-5 seconds to get your arms fully extended at the bottom of the movement.
If you don’t have access to a pull up bar you can always grab a backpack, some dumbbells, or kettlebells and do some bent over rows!
4. Pistol Squats
Pistol squats or single leg squats are a great way to maintain leg strength without any external load. They also improve your squat mechanics and mobility if you are disciplined with your form and really focus on movement quality. Make sure you are mobilizing your ankles and properly warming up before diving into pistol squats.
Below is a great progression you can use to warm up and train this beneficial movement!
5. Glute Bridge
The movement we all know and love and probably don’t do often enough. If you are working from home right now (or spending more time on the couch than usual) then set an alarm on your phone to drop and perform some glute bridges every hour. Your low back will thank you and so will your Levi’s!
There are a ton of variations of the glute bridge that you can train. Performing these as often as possible with your bodyweight will pay huge dividends. It can help alleviate back and sciatic pain and will also improve your squat and deadlift. Checking out this video is a great place to start!
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
Fitness is a mindset. Not an activity that you go to the gym to perform for an hour 4-5 times a week. Our gym and community is here to facilitate your fitness journey. Let us know if you need guidance, motivation, or just someone to sweat with!
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