Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't underestimate the power of basic, body weight exercises!

I am almost 30 (next month, ahh!), have had 2 kids and I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life!  I have always been athletic, but I have muscle tone that I have never seen before.  Now I don't have a perfect physique, but I see where I've come from to where I am now and I've even impressed myself!  It's hard to say that out loud but I believe it to be true.  I try to do a 15-20 minute workout - in my living room - every single day.  Most of these workouts I've found on YouTube or people's personal websites.  I will link to my favorite YouTube channels and trainers in a very near future post...you won't want to miss it as they are awesome!!

What I have learned is that sticking to the basics is not playing it safe, I think it actually happens to be a pretty smart move.  You don't really need fancy equipment or crazy gadgets to get in great shape.  I strongly believe in the power of the exercises listed below.  They may seem basic and simple, and in technique they actually are.  But I promise that after a few short minutes your muscles will start to burn.  It's a great feeling....one that you'll start to crave and enjoy.  Mix it up, challenge yourself (maybe up your reps by 5 more than you did last time or add a pair of dumbbells!) and the possibilities are endless!

1) Squats are amazing for your butt, legs and abs.  Keep your core activated to ensure good posture during the entire exercise - keep your head up, shoulders back and down and chest out!  Just make sure that whether you're doing a sumo squat (wide stance with toes pointed slightly outward) or a classic squat (feet slightly wider than hip width with toes pointed forward), your knees never come in front of your toes.  That will add stress to your knees which could result in an injury.  Try to pretend like you're sitting back in a chair and push your butt back...this will help keep your knees well behind your toes!

2) Lunges are another great exercise for your butt, legs and abs.  Same core activation as mentioned above!  Standing straight up, take either a short step forward (to work more of the quads, or front thighs) or a longer step forward (to work more butt) with one leg.  Lower down until your front knee and back knee are both at 90 degree angles without touching the back knee to the floor.  Alternate legs and feel the burn!

3) Burpees make me smile - in a masochistic type of way.  They are an amazing, intense, full body exercise that work your legs and chest and shoulders and abs....and more!  It also raises the heart rate to burn those extra calories!  I like the burpees that include a push up because, well, why not?!  Try to do as many as you can in say 2 minutes...or even 1 minute, you will feel it and how!  Burpees get 2 thumbs up from me...they make you feel like a real warrior!

4) Push ups are a great upper body exercise that work the shoulders, chest, back and abs (you have to keep that core activated in order to have a flat back...don't drop those hips!).  Do them on your toes or on your knees, as long as you keep the emphasis on lowering and lifting your upper body it doesn't make a difference.  Push strong and these will hit you hard and fast!

A sample workout could be:
12 Minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) where 1 round is...
* 10 burpees
* 20 lunges (10 each leg, alternating)
* 10 push ups
* 30 squats

What are your favorite basic, body weight exercises?  This post makes me want to go  exercise - can't wait for my workout tomorrow!  I'll see you then with more!