Weightless Workouts to Start Spring Training

Written by Libby Norris


Are you thrilled to see spring and yet slightly stressed by thoughts of digging out your warm weather wardrobe?


Don't get overwhelmed get started with a weightless workout - a great first step for your spring training that you can fit in without a gym or equipment!


Weightless workouts use body weight and gravity to add challenge and resistance which are two key elements of effective muscle conditioning. These workouts are easy to incorporate in to your day, can be fun and creative and are obviously inexpensive!


So where do you begin? Weightless workouts follow the same principles as traditional training.


The Warm up: 
Start with a warm up of moderate cardiovascular activity for 5-10 minutes along with some range of motion movements. Warm ups should always be specific to the workout - the more intense the workout, the longer the warm up. You could start with a brisk walk outside or simply climb stairs up and down, which will definitely raise your heart rate.


The Workout: 
The best way to ensure you make the most of your workout time is to write it down! Weightless workouts involve "back to basics" exercises, but when you take the time to outline a plan, target specific reps and sets and vary your routine these simple exercises can become your own home boot camp!


Ideally, start with larger muscle groups - legs, back and chest. Another idea to keep in mind is alternating between upper and lower body exercises. This helps you to keep your workouts moving, motivating and intense. For example, do squats, then push ups, then lunges, then core.


Write down exercises that you know and are comfortable with and then add to your list with ones you see on the web, in magazines or at the gym.


How much is enough? When you're getting started, don't get paralyzed by the math game of sets and reps. Yes, there is a science to designing personal training programs, but your focus here is to get started and get moving!


Start with reps (repetitions of the exercise) and sets (the number of times you do those repetitions of an exercise) that you feel are comfortable but challenging. As you get stronger, those numbers will grow with you! You'll also gain confidence and knowledge as you progress and can, at that time, seek out additional information and resources to help you continue to improve.


The Exercises: 
As I noted, weightless workouts go back to basics. Here are two variations of a quick and easy home weightless workout. Workout #1 uses numbers or repetitions of the exercises. Workout #2 uses the same exercises but executing them in a set time period instead of number. For example, squat down and up for 30 seconds instead of a set of 15 repetitions. Although the two workouts may look the same on paper, using numbers versus time totally change the way it works and feels!


Exercise

Description

Workout 1

Workout 2

Warm up

Climb a flight of stairs 3-5 times

3-5 x's

3-5 x's

Squats

Feet shoulder distance; squat down and up keeping the torso long.

10-15 x's

30-40 sec.

Push Ups

Against a counter, from the knee or from the toe - lots of options.

10-15 x's

30-40 sec.

Clock Lunges

Lunge out and in following the hours of a clock from 12:00 to 6:00 on the right leg; from 12:00 back to 6:00 on the left leg

2-3 x's

each leg

30-40 sec.

each leg

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Standing with arms extended, squeeze shoulder blades in and release - repeat.

10-15 x's

30-40 sec.

Glute Raises

Lying on floor with knees bent and feet flat; press in to heels and lift hips up and down.

10-15 x's

30-40 sec.

Crunches

Lying on the floor with knees bent and feet flat; press your navel point to spine and crunch pressing chest up and forward.

10-15 x's

30-40 sec.

Stretch

Stretches for all major muscle groups holding each stretch for 10-30 sec.

3-5 min.

3-5 min.


Tools of the Trade
: You're only limited by creativity. You can also add variety and challenge by incorporating things around your house or outside! We'll be elaborating on these more in future articles.
- Chairs and ottomans - great for leverage and for 1-legged exercises 
- Towels - for stretching and posture 
- Stairs - for climbing, lunges, one-legged hop-ups 
- Weighted items around your home - books, laundry bottles 
- Hills in your neighborhood - for adding some incline sprints 
- Park benches - for push ups and triceps dips 
- Curbs - for lunges and squats with one foot up


Weightless workouts are a great way to start or add to your fitness program and can be customized to suit any fitness level - from beginner to advanced.


Always consult your health care professional before making any significant changes in your dietary habits or your physical activity routines.


*©, 2013 Trademark of Kellogg Company used under license by Kellogg NA Co

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