By Edward Boxler (@Boxler_)
Becoming more fit doesn’t have to involve spending exorbitant amounts of money on home equipment or gym memberships. You already have the most effective workout tool you need: your body. Bodyweight training is continually championed for its effectiveness in strength building, conditioning, and burning fat, and not without good reason. Performing total-body exercises without equipment requires moving through a full range of motion in your joints. This can lead to better balance, better posture, and increased flexibility. And making a body-weight exercise more challenging is as simple as changing the speed, direction, or angle of the movement. It’s common for many bodybuilders and athletes to become so focused on heavy lifting or their performance in sport that they forget about basic functional movements; this can lead to tight muscles or stiff joints. It’s also common for many everyday fitness enthusiasts to feel too tired after a long day’s work to go to the gym, or they sleep through that 5 a.m. wake-up alarm if they like to work out in the morning. So no matter what way you look at it, body-weight workouts are not only convenient but they are vital to your overall health.
What we have for you here is a high-intensity interval session that requires no equipment (maybe a yoga mat for comfort) and little time — less than 20 minutes — that you can do in a park (if you can bear the cold or are lucky enough to be in a temperate climate), your hotel room, or your own living room floor! The exercises combine simple functional movements with bursts of cardio.
Repeat each set of exercises four times with no rest in between. Recover for one minute before moving to the next set of exercises. Perform exercise A for 35 seconds and exercise B for 25 seconds. Before you get started, download an interval app, which will make it easier for you to gauge time rather than count out the seconds. Play some fun background music if possible. Remember to warm up before you begin, go at your own pace during the workout, and stretch after. Motivate yourself to push harder while keeping safety in mind. But, most importantly, have fun!
Place your hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Stay on your toes. Make sure your arms are straight, vertical lines from shoulders to wrists and your body is perfectly flat (no sagging hips or butt in the air). Look at a point about three feet in front of you and lower your entire body to the floor, bending your elbows out to the sides. Next, push straight up from the ground, but do not lock your elbows at the top.
B) Half Burpee
Start in a squat position with your weight in your heels. Pop down into a push-up position with your arms straight and core completely tight (do not let your belly flop or let your hips sag). Hop both of your feet toward your hands and then jump straight into the air. Absorb the impact as you land softly without stomping on the ground.
A) Alternating Superman
Lie down on your stomach on the floor. Stretch your arms out in front of you, and simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg up from the ground. Hold for two seconds and bring your limbs down. Next, lift your left arm and right leg in the air. Hold for two seconds and switch again. Keep your legs and arms perfectly straight (do not bend at the elbows or the knees).
Lean forward, keeping your back flat. Engage your core by tightening your abs. Leap to the right and place your left leg behind you, tapping your toe on the floor and bending your left arm in front of you. Immediately leap to the left, placing your right leg behind you and tapping in the same manner, mimicking the motion of skating across ice.
A) Squat Hold
With your feet shoulder-width apart, drop down into a squat by driving your butt back and down like you’re sitting in a chair. Press your weight down through your heels, keep your chest up, and your back flat (do not curve the spine). Keep your hands in front of you and hold the position for the full amount of time.
B) Plyometric Jump
From the squat-hold position, push off the ground and get as high in the air as you can. Slap your thighs as you come up and land softly on the floor back into a squat position. Repeat until your set is through. (If the jump’s too much, omit it and simply squat.)
A) Hip Raises
Lie down on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and arms relaxed at the sides of your body. Driving through your heels but keeping both your feet planted on the ground, raise your hips up toward the ceiling as if you’re trying to raise the roof with your pelvis. Squeeze your glutes together, hold for two seconds, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor.
B) Vertical Mountain Climbers
Similar to running on the spot, perform high knees while pretending to scale the wall with your arms (try to picture Skittles falling from the ceiling and reach out to grab as many as you can). As you raise your left knee, pull your left elbow down; as you raise your right knee, pull your right arm down. Go as fast as you can!