Not everyone has the means to be a member of a gym or a health club. Here are some tips to workout for free. You can either workout in the comfort of your own home or at your local park. Now when I mean bodyweight exercises, I don’t mean shi’t like jogging or random sprints. I’m talking about resistance training. The hardcore barbell type stuff.
Strength training is beneficial for everyone. A stronger body is the fountain of youth. Do yourself a favor and ditch the excuses!
- The key to utilizing bodyweight exercises is to add maximum resistance by exercising slowly
- Focus on major muscle groups by performing compound bodyweight exercises
- Finding a gym is always better, but having the knowledge to make due at home is important as well
- Finding a park or a place with a bar for pull ups is a huge plus and can help with many bodyweight exercises
- If you can easily perform bodyweight exercises, you can switch to using only one arm or leg
The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy.
-Kenneth H. Cooper
The Big Five
I recommend focusing on compound exercises. The big five exercises will pretty much cover all the major muscle groups of the body.
Upward push (shoulder press) – Hand stand push up or handstand hold+negatives against a wall
Forward push (chest press) – Push ups, one handed push ups or negatives
Upward pull (pull up) – Pull ups, one handed pull ups, one handed negatives or regular negatives
Forward pull ( bent row)¹ – Without equipment, this is difficult, use a rope+pull up bar and do them reverse
Leg press or Squat² – Standing squats or doorknob squats. One legged squats against the wall
*Core (optional) – Leg raises (hanging from a pull up bar), planks
¹ – For rows, you can tie two ropes (or one if it’s too easy) to the pull up bar and suspend yourself about an inch away from the ground, parallel to the pull up bar. If you have a bench to rest your heels on, that will be better.
² – Doorknob squats are performed by holding the doorknob from both sides of the door for support and slightly leaning back. Slowly squat up and down.
Slow, Steady and Stronger
It’s very important to exercise slowly, especially when using body weight. Performing bodyweight exercises very slowly will help make sure you’re not using momentum or gravity to assist you in anyway. It’s just you and the weight, don’t cheat!
As you get stronger, you’ll probably want to increase the exercise resistance. You can switch over to one handed or one legged versions of your exercise. If you still can’t do the exercise fully with one arm or leg, do one arm/leg negatives. Lift or lower yourself with two, then switch over to one for the negative. Eventually, you’ll build strength to use one arm for your exercise.
Make Your Workout Comfortable
You obviously want to concentrate on your workouts. You don’t want to hear kids yelling or have nerf darts hitting you in the back of the head. Choose somewhere that you can concentrate, has enough space and properly ventilated. Don’t listen to the bullshi’t about working out in saunas or sweating being good. You need a comfortable workout environment. It’s a plus if you find a good outdoors place with a pull up bar.
Having a workout partner is also very motivating. You can help critique each other’s techniques and learning will become quicker. You can even use each other as workout equipment! You can squat each other or have someone sit on your back for push ups! Be creative and have fun. Eventually, you’ll develop consistency in your workouts and reap some great benefits.
Although there are some great bodyweight exercises and home workouts, I still recommend eventually finding a good gym. The best thing to do with money is to buy ourselves more time and that’s exactly what you’re doing when you spend money on convenience.