April is Move More month. If the thought of spending time in the gym makes you groan, keep reading. You don't need a gym, or any equipment, to move your body, and build strength. Functional movement and body weight exercises that you can do at home can keep your body in tip top shape.
Weight training isn't something just for bodybuilders. Incorporating strength training into your routine a couple of times per week, can help you:
Burn More Fat - Strength training enables you to build lean muscle mass, which serves as a calorie-burning system that your body adapts for the long term, preventing us from gaining weight as we age.
Boost Your Metabolism - Your basal metabolic rate is how many calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day doing nothing but breathing. The more muscle mass you have on your body, the higher this rate will be (aka, the more calories you burn doing nothing). A pound of muscle burns three times as many calories as a pound of fat.
Strengthen Your Bones - Strength training adds muscle and creates connective tissue that helps protect and strengthen bones, making it an effective tool to prevent bone issues like osteoporosis.
Change Your Body Composition - Cardio can help you melt pounds off, but strength training can allow you to tone and add shape to your body.
Here are some body-weight exercises that you can do at home with no equipment.
Tricep Dips: Start in a reverse tabletop position on the floor (hips lifted) with your fingers pointing toward your feet. Bend and straighten your arms to complete a rep.
Plank Ups: Start in a high plank. Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor. Lower the other arm so you are in a forearm plank. Push back up to the start position, placing each hand where your elbows were. Repeat this movement, alternating which side you lower first with each rep. This can also be done from your knees.
Glute Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Brace your core by pulling your belly button into your spine, then press into your heels as you squeeze your glutes to raise your hips off the floor. Hold the position for two seconds before lowering to complete one rep.
Lateral Lunge: Stand in a wide-legged position with your toes pointing forward. Lunge to the right by bending your right knee and pushing your hips back. Push back to start and repeat on the left. That's one rep.
Push Ups: Perform a standard push-up with your hands placed at about shoulder-width apart. To target your triceps, you can also do push ups with your hands in a diamond shape (with the tips of your thumbs and index fingers touching). These can also be done from your knees.
Panther Shoulder Tap: Start on all fours. Engage your core and while keeping your back flat and your butt in line with your shoulders, lift your knees off the floor about 1-3 inches. Gaze at the floor a few inches in front of your hands to keep your neck in a comfortable position. Tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and then your left hand to your right shoulder, while using your core strength to keep your hips as still as you can. Continue alternating sides.
High Boat to Low Boat: Sit up straight with your legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Keeping your legs together, lift your feet off the floor until your legs form a 45-degree angle to your torso. Engage your entire core, keep your back flat, and balance on your sit bones. Straighten your legs for more of a challenge. Hold for three deep breaths, then lower your legs, straightening them out to hover a few inches off the floor. Hold for one breath, then lift back up.
Deep Squat: Stand with your feet just outside of shoulder-width apart and squat low with your heels on the ground. Throughout the movement, keep your chest up. Then use your elbows to gently push your knees apart to open the groin and hips. Yogis will know this pose as malasana.
If you'd like to explore more, consider joining one of Firefly's Yoga to Thrive classes offered online once per month on Fridays at 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time. In these classes, we'll build strength and improve balance and flexibility. Register to join by completing the form here. The next class is April 14. I hope to see you there!
If you prefer a one-on-one environment for a workout customized to your specific needs, sign up for private classes. One private class is $75, or get a package of five private classes for $325. Contact me to schedule your first session.