Strength training without weights is becoming very popular in the current economy as many people are trying to find ways to save money. Most exercises can be done at home or while you are on holiday at no cost.
Some people when first starting out with resistance training might also feel a bit intimidated at the gym and feel inferior amongst all the big guys and gals. Strength training without weights gives you a good solid foundation before moving on.
I’ve been doing bodyweight exercises for some time now and my strength has increased considerably. The top 3 exercises that I have found that work for me are:
- Wide Grip Chins – I consider this exercise to be the best for building upper body strength and size. Not only does it hit your lats (lattisimus dorsi) but also your rear deltoids, biceps, brachioradialis and forearm flexors. When doing them, keep your palms facing forward whilst taking a wider than shoulder width grip on any horizontal bar and pull up till your chin touches the bar. Ease yourself back down without dropping and concentrate on pulling with your lats. This is important for the mind muscle connection. Moving your grip in will hit the lower lats more as well.
- Push-Ups – This is another top exercise for building strength in the pecs (chest) and also the triceps. I’ve found that the best way to do these is put my feet on a chair so my head is lower than my feet and place my hands on any object that raises them up by about 4-5 inches. This allows you to get a deeper stretch during the downward phase of the movement. I’ve even also gone as far as having someone balance my niece on my upper back for added resistance although I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone.
- One Legged Calf Raises – Put alternate feet on a block of wood about 2 inches thick for a deeper stretch when doing these. Point your toes either in or out to hit the inner or outer calf muscle. Wrap your unused foot around the back of the leg you are exercising and lean against a wall for balance.