Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bodyweight Mobility and Core Exercise Routine

Today is all about increasing mobility and strengthening the core, from the glutes and lumbar, to the abdominal wall and obliques. Beginners stick to the low number of sets, reps and timed rounds.

The Good Morning-Just as effective without weight
Warm-up: -Good mornings x 20 (Place hands behind neck or extend in front of you. Keep hamstrings and glutes tight as you bend to waist level and back up.)

-Bikram style Half Moon Pose: Right 10s, left 10s, backward 10s
Half Moon Pose

-Joint Rotations: Neck, shoulders, arms, hips, each leg, knee and ankle.

Then: Do 2, 3, or 4 rounds of the following; no rest between exercises; 1 minute between rounds.

Cossack Squat + Full Squat Sit:  Sit for 5 seconds in each position, repeat 5-10 times.

You don't need the chains yet

Full squat sit, just like these guys

Birddog: x 10-15 reps with 2-3 second pause in extended position. Start in pushup plank position, arms straight. Bend the right leg, then extend left arm while lifting right leg as high as you can. Switch sides and continue until you reach the required number of reps per side.

Go immediately to your right side and do:
Starfish: On your side, push up onto side elbow, or side extended arm plank. While holding this position, lift the outside leg straight up and hold, like a 'starfish.' 5-10 reps with 3 seconds hold each rep.
Switch sides to complete the exercise.


Straight Leg Sit-Ups:
On elbow, or extend the arm.

Lay flat, extend legs and arms, tighten your stomach and sit all the way up, continuing forward to stretch your arms towards your toes. Hold the stretch for three seconds, lay all the way back down and repeat.
6, 10 or 15 reps.

Beginners/Intermediates can stop here, or continue to:

Straight Leg Lifts to Reverse Crunch: Lift straight legs together for leg lifts, bend knees at top of movement and squeeze knees towards chest. 3 seconds up and 3 down, repeat 10-20 times.

Push yourself, but don't go to the point of pain. Move slowly into new exercises and engage core at all times.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bodyweight Workout Routine: Leg Progressions

If you are catching this on Monday, then a happy Monday to ya! If not, use this as day 1 for the week and follow along until Friday.

Let's get straight to it, today's bodyweight exercise program:

Warm-up: Joint Rotations, from neck to ankles. Take it slow, let the body wake up. If you need a review of these exercises, visit: http://mosladder.hubpages.com/hub/Fast-Effective-Bodyweight-Workout
Add easy standing torso rotations, arms out to sides. Then continue the warm-up with,

Choose: Jumping Jacks x25,  1/4 Squats (only going halfway, not to parallel) x 30

If you are still not warmed up, repeat, do some shadow boxing, walking or maybe sun salutations until you are.


Single Standing Rear Leg Raise:  A picture is worth a thousand words right, so:

Single Arm-Single Leg Standing Raise
Start standing at attention, tighten abs and your 'rooted' leg. Bend at the waist, extend one arm and one leg as you do. Bend to parallel, ideally with the leg at the same level as your waist. keep the moving leg and arm straight as you do. This works the hamstrings/glutes and lower back, as well as testing your balance.

Use both legs to complete this exercise, contracting the stationary one and the moving one.

2,3, or 4 sets x 5, 10 or 15 reps (depending on fitness level.) 5 second hold at top of movement on each rep. Steady reps, 2-3 seconds up and 2-3 down. 30 seconds rest between.

Bodyweight Squats:  Simple; squat to parallel, hold 5 seconds, come back up. Do not lock out at top, keep tension throughout. 2,3, or 4 sets x 10,15, or 20 reps. 30 seconds rest between.

***Beginners can stop here, intermediate and advanced go to:

Isometric Balance Hold/One Leg Squat:  Stand at attention, raise arms to shoulder level and lift one leg in front of you. Try to raise it to waist level and hold it there. The goal is to hold it for 30 seconds, but go for at least ten. If this is too easy, close your eyes.

Doing a weighted pistol at alkavadio.com
Immediately execute a one-legged squat, If you can do a full pistol (all the way down,) do this x 5-10 reps.

If not, go as far down as you can, hold it for 3 seconds and repeat. 5-10 reps.

Another alternative is to put your leg behind you and squat down as far as possible. Again, hold for three seconds and repeat, 5-10 reps.

Depending on fitness level, complete entire sequence for 2, 3, or 4 sets of 10/30seconds+5-10 reps.

Finish with:

Mountain Climbers: 2, 3, or 4 sets of 30/30: 30 seconds work/30 seconds rest.

Don't forget to cool down with some stretching or more joint work. Good luck!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bodyweight Workout Routine: The Simple Pushup Test and More

Today's routine is dominated by the simple pushup. That is, body straight, hands flat and placed just outside of and under the shoulders; legs straight and resting on toes or balls of feet. Don't let the back sag and don't allow your butt to go up in the air.

Pushups may seem too simple and boring to bother with, but they are more complicated than you might think. Just a brief review; pushups work the pectorals, frontal deltoids, triceps. However, they also bring in the following muscles to stabilize the body: Lats, abdominal wall, obliques and to a lesser extent, the glutes.

Today is the day you get a great pushup workout while gauging your upper body strength. Depending on who you read, a woman under the age of 40 should be able to do at least 13 full pushups, while a man under 40 should be able to complete at least 40. Let's take that one step further. Complete as many pushups as you can in 3 minutes. Rest as needed but remember, the clock is ticking.

For women under 40, lets say this number should be at least 30. That's ten pushups a minute. If you can not complete this many in three minutes, your upper body needs more strength, or you need to lose weight. Why 30? Because the armed forces sets the minimum between 6 and 13 in 2 minutes. Here you have an extra minute and you are aiming at doing the best you can; not the minimum. Women can build strength just as easily as men, so aim to blow this number up!
Perfect form in 'up' position

For men under the age of 50, the number is going to 55. This is a solid number of pushups to accomplish in good form in this time span. If you can do more, congratulations! Keep going until you hit the 3 minute mark. If you cannot complete 55 in 3 minutes, keep working on your upper body strength, and/or lose some weight.

Therefore, today's workout:

Sun Salutations to warm up x 10.

Pushup Test: As many as you can in good form in 3 minutes. Rest as needed, but go for your max!


Isometric Pushup Holds on Fists: (use a towel or pillow if needed. Encourages stronger wrists.)
Do 3 rounds of 10, 20, or 45 seconds depending on your fitness level. Focus on maintaining perfect plank form with extended or bent arms. Start the first half of your time in the 'up' position, do the second half in the 'down' position. Do not let your chest hit the floor!

Good Luck!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bodyweight Workout Routine: Whole Body Conditioning

This bodyweight workout is intended to get your metabolism pumping, your heart rate up and multiple muscle groups activated. Warm-up thoroughly with a slow and easy version of the intervals here, or do joint rotations and sun salutations for a few minutes.

For instruction on these warm-ups, click here:

Follow these general guidelines based on your individual fitness level:

-Beginners (little or no regular exercise, otherwise healthy.) 2 rounds, resting longer between exercises if necessary.

-Intermediate (some regular exercise, regular exposure to strenuous exercise.) 3 rounds minimum, rest longer between intervals if necessary, don't stop between exercises.

-Advanced (regular exercise routine. Comfortable with high intensity.) Up to 5 rounds, all-out intensity; bonus exercises when available.

Perform the following without stopping (lower reps generally for beginner level.)

-Swinging Arms Bodyweight Squats: (Swing arms back behind you as you squat down, swing them up explosively as you squat up. ) 12-20 reps

-Burpees (jumping) Drop to pushup position, execute pushup, shoot up to squat, perform jump squat, repeat. 6-10 reps.

-Elephant Walk: Stand with feet inside shoulder width, hands on floor, arms extended. Walk hands out as far as possible. Goal is to end up in 'Superman' position. 6-10 reps.

Beginners can stop with these three exercises. Intermediate and advanced, add a fourth and fifth exercise immediately following the Elephant Walk, from fully extended position, go to:

-Elbow Plank: Start in center, 10 seconds, switch to left, 10 seconds, switch to right, 10 seconds. Then,

-Elbow Crawl 10-20 seconds forward, 10-20 seconds backward.(Keep butt down. In this version, using only your upper body to pull yourself forward, legs dragging behind.)

If you can not get into full Superman position in the Elephant Walk, go as far as possible. Alternatively you can use a Power Wheel, like the SKLZ from Dick's Sporting Goods (try the 50% off Shop here) for a smoother version of this exercise (but not easier. You can ) Need to know how to do any of these exercises? See the references below:


Elephant Walk

Want to see more drills from Steve Maxwell? click here:

Steve Maxwell Bodyweight Training DVD's