Jackie Wright – No Equipment Required
September 10, 2009
First in a three-part series
One of the best methods of building total body muscular and functional strength is to perform exercises that utilize your own body weight. Over the next three weeks, we will feature body weight exercises for the entire body that require little or no equipment. As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.
Upper Body and Core Body Weight Exercises
Classic Pushup – Targets the pectorals, deltoids, triceps, shoulder girdle stabilizers and the core muscles.
• Begin on your hands and knees on the floor.
• Place your hands more than shoulder width apart so that when you are in the down phase of the pushup your arms form two 90 degree angles at the elbow joints.
• Shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted and the navel pulled deeply toward the spine.
• Create a diagonal line with the spine from the top of your head to your tailbone so your buttocks are not in the air.
• Tuck your toes under and press your body weight into your toes and upper body, lifting your knees off of the floor. This is your beginning plank position.
• Lower your entire body toward the floor until your breastbone would touch a baseball and then press your entire body back to the beginning position.
• Avoid any hyperextension in the spine; avoid dropping the head toward the floor by maintaining a neutral spine and keep your shoulders away from your ears throughout.
• Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, slow two counts up and down, two to three times per week.
• Modified Pushup – If the Classic Pushup is too challenging, keep the knees on the floor creating a modified plank position and perform the pushup or perform the full pushup position from a stable elevated surface such as a countertop to decrease the intensity. Master these modifications prior to performing the Classic Pushup.
Triceps Dips – Targets the Triceps and Core Muscles
• Begin sitting on top of a stable surface, weight bench or a step at least 8-12 inches in height.
• Place your hands on the front edge of the bench so that your fingertips face forward.
• Rotate the shoulders back/down, rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine.
• Your feet should be on the floor with the knees flexed at a 90 degree angle, approximately shoulder width apart.
• Slip your buttocks off of the bench with your arms fully extended, but not locked, at the elbow joint. This is your beginning position.
• Lower your body toward the floor until your arms are flexed at approximately 90 degrees at the elbow joint, elbows pointing toward the wall behind you.
• Then, press your body back to the beginning position.
• Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, two to three times per week.
• Avoid letting your body move outward, away from the bench, and avoid pushing with the legs.
Modified Dips – After you have mastered this exercise you might try extending the legs rather than keeping them flexed as long as you avoid moving away from the bench or hug a dumbbell between the knees to increase the intensity.
Next week, we will highlight body weight exercises for the lower body.
– Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness LLC in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com , her email at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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