Building muscle without going to the gym is what many people must focus on until the limitations enforced by COVID-19 are present. The situation like this is the perfect opportunity for mental strengthening and bodyweight exercise. The second topic i.e. bodyweight exercise is what we are going to elaborate on in this article.
Inside this article (Quick Summary)
Bodyweight Exercise – No Limits
Despite many prejudices for building muscle without weight-lifting the real truth is that there are no limitations for fitness level that can be developed while having a couple of square meters of a firm floor as the only tool to aid you in training. In addition to this, we are even going to assume that you are short on time and pack this devil exercise in 20 minutes providing that you are going to take all the time you need for warming up and add 10 minutes for stretching.
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Hell Sprint Program
The name of the program was given to describe the nature of exercises – fast and strong. Before engaging in it, you will have to evaluate your physical capabilities and start building yourself up from where you currently are. Everything starts with push-ups.
Testing Your Current Abilities
The first day of training is reserved for testing. You are going to do push-ups, crunches, and plank until demission and write results on a piece of paper. This is to quantify your physical base and count 80% percent which is going to be the upper bar of tension your muscles are going to be exposed during the first set of exercises. If, for example, you are able to do 10 pushups, in the first set you will do 8 and switch to next exercise. Another important thing is to explain exercises this program is consisted of so you can understand how and why are you doing them.
Push-ups – Chest Augment
Push-ups are pure basic of physical workout. Its origins dive back to the ancient times to the eras even before the old Greece. Sumerian civilization was the cradle of boxing. Fighters did it as regular exercise because it was of high importance to develop strength in the upper part of the body. While old times were famous for many delusions push-ups were one of the rare choices which turned to be right. According to modern science, regular push-ups target five muscle groups:
- Chest muscles or pectorals.
- Shoulders or deltoids.
- Triceps – positioned at the back of your arms.
- The “wing” muscles positioned under your armpit. Serratus anterior is their name.
Do push-ups right way
This list makes it completely clear that push-ups are the right choice for exercise even when being done without anything else. The correct setup for a standard push-up is to set hands shoulder-width apart or a little bit wider. As you bend your elbows and lower toward the ground, your elbows should be at about a 45-degree angle to your body. It is important to do push-ups correctly. Write down the number you were able to do.
Plank – Core Strength Developing
If push-ups are hard then planks are the real killers. Amongst sportsmen, the plank is also called the torturer as the pain produced by holding the body in the right position for a certain amount of time can be enormous. However, the price is little compared to results as this exercise gives you the opportunity to develop the mere core of your body.
The plank strengthens the abdominals, back, and shoulders. Muscles affected by the front plank you are going to do are:
- Muscles that are exposed to the highest effect produced by the exercise: erector spinae, rectus abdominis (abs), and transverse abdominis.
- Other affected muscles are: trapezius (traps), rhomboids, rotator cuff, the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid muscles (delts), pectorals (pecs), serratus anterior, gluteus maximus (glutes), quadriceps (quads), and gastrocnemius.
The correct plank form means keeping your core and quads tight while holding hips lifted. For stability’s sake, your feet and elbows should be shoulder-width apart. To hold your spine in a neutral position and avoid straining your neck, try to set your chin about six inches in front of your body. Turn the stopwatch and hold as much as you can.
How to do a plank in the right way
Squats – Leg Strengthening
It is no secret that legs are of high importance when it comes to overall fitness. Quads are the main muscles affected by squats. If this exercise is done correctly both lower back and abs are going to be impacted.
Check out our bodyweight exercise based for chests.
There is a list of instructions for doing correct squat:
- Stand with your head looking forward and your chest raised up and pushed out.
- Set your feet wide in the range of your shoulders or just a little bit wider. Extend your hands straight in front of you to achieve and retain a better balance.
- Imagine a chair and behave like you are going to sit on it. However, there is one condition – don’t lean back or change body position. A head must continue to face forward while your upper body is allowed to bend forward just a little bit. Back must remain straight. Don’t allow them to round! That can lead to injuries.
- Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as much as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.
- While keeping your body tight, push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
How to do squats in the right way?
Just like for push-ups and plank, write down the result.
Take the acquired results and count 80% for every exercise. If the numbers are decimal lover it for one. For an easier calculation extract 10% of your maximum as it is the decreasing value that will lover the starting 80%. What you get on the end is the starting number of repetitions or, in the case of the plank, time, you are going to hold your form. Next three steps are to be performed sequentially without any rest between:
- Do one set of push-ups for bodyweight exercise (80% of your maximum number).
- Hold plank (80% or your maximum time).
- Do one set of squats (80% of your maximum number).
- Take rest for 30 seconds.
- Continue repeating the circle lowering the value of starting repetition number for 10% until you reach zero. Example: If the first circle was 80% percent of your maximum you will now do 70% percent of your maximum. Then 60%, 50% until you reach zero.
This was the first part of your training for bodyweight exercise. When you reach 0 take a break for 90 seconds. After that, you start doing the circles again, but the other way around. You will begin with 10% of your maximum and try to increase until reaching your personal record. This goal is hardly possible to achieve as regardless of your training level, muscles are going to be tired and incapable of manifesting their top potential. If you are highly trained, you will, at some point in time, go back to the starting circle of 80%. In the beginning, you might even quit at the first or the second increasing circle.
Don’t let that demotivate you as even the best athletes have a hard time with this kind of training. Another important note is to perceive numbers of repetitions as a trigger for stress level because tension is what allows muscles to develop.
The boxing legend Muhammed Ali once said that he starts counting his repetitions only when the pain begins. While we don’t encourage beginners to conduct extreme amounts of stress over themselves, the point is understood – high muscle tensions are areas where advancing happens. You can do this three to four times a week, and reserve one day for testing your maximums.
Stretching is a Must
Stretching is as important for bodyweight exercise as the training itself. First and foremost, it prevents injuries and accelerates the recovery of an organism. Another feature of well-performed stretching on a long run is improving both flexibility and strength of muscles. If stretching is omitted, risks for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage increase as well as the likelihood of injury.