Amidst the hustle of daily life, it is only the truly lucky, or truly dedicated, who manage to set aside hours each day to devote to the gym in the pursuit of a fitness ideal. But what about the rest of you, who are no less passionate, but are a bit more bogged down with material considerations such as work or family?
Luckily, there are a few alternatives that you can perform anywhere and in any time span, as they require no more equipment than your own body and some creativity.
The best option for weight management and cardiovascular health would be to perform as many of these exercises as possible in a circuit, resting only once it has been completed.
These are exactly as they sound. Instead of squatting under a loaded barbell in the gym, merely position yourself on a flat surface with your legs just wider than shoulder width, lower back tight and upright, and arms outstretched.
Bend your knees slowly with your weight on your heels and lower your glutes to the floor, as low as possible. Then push through your quads and glutes to propel yourself upward into the air. Try to jump as high as you can from this position, land in the same stance, and repeat.
This exercise is about generating as much power as possible, and gaining as much height as you can without sacrificing form.
If performed correctly, these will work the muscles of the leg and core, targeting the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and abs.
Push-ups warrant little explanation, yet few people manage to complete these with proper form. Use these to work the pectoral muscles, triceps, and deltoids.
The key to a push-up is to maintain a rigid posture, with your lower back tight and firm. Lying face down on the ground with palms on the floor and elbows bent, slowly push your body upwards until your elbows are just short of locking out. Slowly lower your weight back to the ground.
Like any resistance training exercise, the key to these is the speed and form with which you perform them. The slower you do them, the more muscle fibers are recruited to assist in the work, and thus the more you will gain from the exercise.
As an alternative, you can practice performing these for power by pushing up as quickly as you can so that your body and hands lift off the ground, then bracing yourself as it lands and slowly lowering back down. Try to clap your hands underneath your chest as you rise.
Pull-ups are another staple of any resistance training used to work the biceps and upper back/ lats.
Though these typically require a bar to perform, this is not always true. You can try pull-ups virtually anywhere you can get a grip. This includes a playground, a tree limb, even a door.
As with push-ups, the key is to keep your lower back tight and to avoid swinging. Grip the bar, or pseudo bar, just wider than shoulder width with your palms facing forward. Slowly pull your body weight up, focusing on pulling with your upper back, rather than just the arms. At the top, pause and contract your muscles for a second, then slowly lower yourself back down. You should set the pace at a count of 2 seconds up, 1 to pause, and 3 back down.
Use a wider grip to stress the lat muscles, or a narrow grip/ underhand to work the biceps more.
These are a full body exercise, typically performed for endurance or conditioning, as they work the muscles of the legs, chest and shoulders, and core.
Begin in a basic squat position on a flat surface. Kick both feet backwards behind you until you resemble the plank position of a push-up. Pull your legs back in as you return to the squat position and jump upwards as high as you can. You should perform these rapidly and without rest until you complete a full set.
Additional body weight exercises you can perform are dips, crunches, stair lunges and vertical push ups.