Toned arms. Is there anything better?
While the general belief has been in order to achieve such a thing one must have a gym membership and gruelling routine (alternatively, be a sea kayaker) you’ll be glad to learn this is most certainly false.
“People don’t need machinery for a good workout. You can certainly get by with using your own body weight in a range of strength training exercises. And the biggest benefit to this, is that these exercises are actually quite challenging,” Blake Worrall-Thompson, personal trainer and founder of Wellbeing by Blake told The Huffington Post Australia.
Worrall-Thompson believes the key is to keep things simple. A big part of that, he said, is not falling into the trap of thinking your workout needs to last for hours.
“The best thing about bodyweight exercises is that you can do them in the comfort of your own home and get it done in 20 minutes,” Worrall-Thompson said.
The most important thing Worrall-Thompson point out, is knowing how to make the exercise more challenging, so that you progress each day.
“The issue that a lot of people have with exercise is they think they need all the time in the world. What’s more important is to work out ways to build intensity into the workout as opposed to worrying about the duration,” Worrall-Thompson said.
Each week you’re looking to increase the intensity, whether that’s through increasing the amount of reps; sets or doing faster reps in order to get more in, in the same duration of time.
For instance, you might start with five sets of five push-ups. It doesn’t matter if your rep count is low to begin with, as long as it’s progressive. So, if you’re only able to do five push-ups at the beginning of the month, by then end try for 20.
Body weight exercises also tend to focus more on the front part of the body, making it harder to strengthen the posterior chain -- your back.
“It’s important to be mindful of this, because your workout should be balanced so as to avoid injury,” Worrall-Thompson said.
An easy way to work the muscles in your back is through chin-ups or pull-ups (if you have access to monkey bars) as well as a single arm row.
Worrall-Thompson recommends three simple arm exercises you can do at home, no weights required.
Muscle group: Chest, shoulders, triceps, core
If it’s been a while between push-ups, start by doing them on your knees. Each day, you should try and progress so that eventually you’re able to do them on your toes. Ensure you are getting a full range of motion by doing the exercise slowly and ensuring your core is switched on. This will help to stop you from dropping your head and hips.
Muscle group: Shoulders and triceps
Grab a chair or a bench, rest your hands next to your thighs with your feet planted on the floor in front of you. The closer your legs are to your body, the easier it’s going to be. If you want to make it more challenging, take your legs further out. Stay upright, and bring your hips close to the bench. Start with three sets of 12 dips.
Muscle group: Shoulders, core and legs
The stronger your core, the less pressure you’ll feel on your shoulders. Ensure your butt is in a straight line with your spine, and not pointing upwards. Hold for at least 30 seconds, three times.