Body Weight Moves… These are, as the name suggests, moves that use your own body weight to build strength, flexibility, and if used correctly and in line with a healthy diet, manage weight. After I explain the pros and cons of using body weight moves in a weight management program, I’ll give you a quick ten minute workout that you can’t shy away from!
So why are these types of moves becoming so popular? Well for a start you can do them anywhere. You don’t need any specialist equipment, you can do these at any point in the day, you don’t need to attend a gym, and they actually are very effective. They are great for improving balance as most moves involve using your core, and other muscles important for balance, to maintain good form (how well you complete the move) during the exercises. Despite what some might believe there are loads of different moves meaning you can keep your routine fresh. You can make moves harder by adding weight to your moves, or you can simply add more repetitions. Completing a move slowly and focusing on form means you’ll really be focusing on all the muscles in that group, something that using weights at a gym doesn’t do, particularly if you use machines. Let’s not also forget, body weight moves are free!
The downside to that due to using your own body weight moves, you never really get close to the levels of intensity and strength that you would if you were using free weights. However, as part of a weight management program this is rather irrelevant. The fact that you are adding an element of strength training and conditioning into a routine that is looking to primarily lose weight, means that you are adding variety in order to get your body to use your fat stores as fuel. Part of the key to using exercise to lose weight is to keep your body guessing, not allowing your body to get used to your routine.
Something that I like about body weight moves is the fact that they don’t necessarily increase size, at least not in the same way as free weights will. Of course, if your goal is to get big, you should use free weights and if using body weight moves, modify them to be more difficult – adding weight etc. However, if you are looking to lose weight, or in my case a cyclist, you probably don’t want to add size, this is where training using your body’s own weight is so advantageous; you can increase strength without the size.
So a ten minute workout, that is simple, and can be done anywhere – remember to warm-up before:
Press-up – Either full or on your knees (2 Sets of 15/20)
Plank – Lie with body in press-up position but on forearms (Hold for 60 seconds)
Sit-up – Either normal or with knees up, or arms extended (2 Sets of 15/20)
Wide Squats – Like a squat but with feet wider than shoulders (2 Sets of 15/20)
Mountain Climber – In a press-up position bring you knee towards you head (2 Sets of 15)
Side Plank – As with plank but one arm on floor and body sideways (Hold for 45 seconds – each side)
Inverted Press-up – Like a press-up but with legs straight and body upright (2 Sets of 15)
There are lots of modifications on these moves so check the internet out if you want to make them easier, harder, or you want a demonstration. Complete this workout three to five times a week, depending on your other commitments and levels of exercise. The above workout should take about 10 minutes. For maximum effect, do it before breakfast, that way you’ll burn any leftover food in your stomach forcing your body to burn its fat stores as fuel. You’ll also set yourself up for a great day; you’ll feel great after a healthy breakfast! Once you get good at this workout change it – your body will become used to this workout after about 8 weeks reducing the effectiveness of the moves.