The health benefits of strength training are well know, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a body builder or marathon runner to reap these health improvements. Anyone from young professional to retirees can enjoy a happier, healthier life without spending hundreds on expensive equipment or gym memberships. These 5 body weight exercises will only take a few minutes a day, a couple times a week and will put you on the fast track to gaining more strength and feeling more active in no time.
5 Easy Body Weight Exercises for Anyone
1. Lying Hip Bridges
These work your glutes, your body’s largest muscle group, while also opening up the hips. The hips can get especially tight in people who find themselves spending hours sitting throughout the day.
Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Flatten your lower back against the floor, then push your hips up into the air. Pause, then slowly lower to start.
Among the most functional exercises around, squats strengthen the entire lower body and core.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your chest upright, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body toward the ground. At the bottom of the squat, your upper body should be leaning forward only slightly. Pause, then push through your feet to return to start.
3. Wall Push-Ups
This simple exercise can improve your whole upper-body strength, especially your arms and chest.
Stand about 2 feet away from the wall (move closer to the wall to make the exercise easier), and put your hands against it, shoulder height and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body straight, bend your elbows to your sides and lower your chest to the wall. Let your heels come off of the floor slightly. Pause, then slowly press through your hands to straighten your elbows and return to start.
4. Quadruped Opposite Arm and Leg Balance
This exercise is great for improving balance, coordination and strength in the back
Get on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your back flat and abdominals tight, lift one hand to reach straight in front of your shoulder while lifting your opposite foot straight behind your hip. Hold for three breaths (or as long as you can maintain balance), and then lower your hand and foot toward the floor to return to start. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Side Planks
This plank variation will improve side-to-side core stability as well as strengthen your shoulders.
Start by lying on your side, propped up with your elbow directly below your shoulder. With either the sides of your feet or the sides of your knees stacked on the floor (do what’s comfortable for you), squeeze your core and lift your hips off of the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your ears to either your feet or knees. Hold for as long as you can while maintaining good form. Lower your hips to return to start, and repeat on the opposite side.
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