Arms and Chest
You don’t need weight training to get a buff upper body. Your body’s weight can be used to achieve the same resistance effect you look for in weight training, and if you’re just looking to get in shape, you won’t need massive weights (yet). Pushups are one great chest and arm exercise. On your first day working out, do as many as you physically can, keeping count. Halve that number, and when you exercise again, do three sets of that number with minute-long breaks in between. Make sure your form is on point: keep your back completely straight, lifting with your arms, and go down far enough that your chest touches the ground. Dips are another great body weight exercise. Sit with your back to a chair or bench, placing your hands on the edge. Extend your feet out in front of you, so your body weight rests on your arms, and lower yourself to the ground so your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle, then lift yourself back up. Repeat as many times as possible, then use the method described for pushups to determine how many you’ll do in each set. You will need a small amount of equipment if you want to really increase the size of your biceps. But installing a pull-up bar is easier than you’d think. And you can also substitute gallon jugs of liquid or backpacks full of books for weights if you’d like to experiment with curls, but don’t want to invest in barbells.
Core exercises are designed to strengthen your abdominal muscles and midsection, and most core exercises you’ll see people doing at the gym don’t involve any equipment. You can target your lower ab muscles with leg lifts. In this simple exercise, lay completely flat on your back with your palms flat by your sides and elevate your legs, with your knees locked, as high as you can. Keep them elevated for 30 seconds, if possible, then lower them and rest. Repeat as many times as you can. Crunches are another popular core exercise that require no gym equipment (although a mat can reduce discomfort if you’re working out on a hard surface). A good variation: start with your arms all the way behind your back and slowly bring them forward as you come up to a sitting position. Rushing through crunches makes them easier, but actually works your core less. These exercises can also help with weight loss.
When you learn to exercise with minimal equipment, anywhere can be your gym! Put these exercises into practice and start getting in shape today, with no membership required.