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If it Challenges you-It Changes You

By Lynne Cotton, Personal Trainer

If it Challenges you-It Changes You

Gyms are still closed.

You don’t have any weights at home.

The weights you have at home are pretty limited.

The weights you ordered STILL haven’t arrived.

Are bodyweight exercises really good enough??  Short answer…YES!  

Bodyweight exercises are a simple, effective way to improve balance, flexibility, and strength.  If you feel like the regular bodyweight exercise is too easy, try changing things up.  Make sure that when you modify a move, you feel the appropriate muscle working.  A harder version of an exercise isn’t necessarily better if the correct muscles are not firing.  This can lead to muscle imbalances and possibly injury.

  • Change the tempo:  Moving slower during the eccentric or “negative” motion puts the muscle under tension for a longer period of time.  Example: When lowering your squat or push up, lower for 4 seconds, hold at the bottom for 1 second, then stand/push up in 1 second.  Increasing the speed of a movement can increase the cardio component of the exercise.   When performing a squat to press, increase the tempo as fast as you can maintain good form. Sometimes no movement or a static hold is effective as well…wall sit anyone?
  • Change your Range of Motion:  Increasing or decreasing the range of motion based upon your ability can challenge our muscles.  Example: Pushups can be done on a wall, counter, hands on bench, floor off-knees, floor on toes, hands on floor with feet elevated, hands staggered, hands wide, hands narrow.  
  • Change stability:  Going from a two legged stance to a single leg stance will allow you to work unilaterally as well as work on your balance.  Change your foot position for a squat to a staggered stance position, placing 80% of weight on one leg allowing the opposite leg to assist with balance with the other 20% or you could try a full single leg variation.  
  • Combine moves:  Walking lunge with a torso rotation, Plank to downward dog, Mountain climber with a push up, burpee with plank jack. Be sure to modify the moves based upon your ability while maintaining good form. 

Remember, by changing up the way we do “simple” exercises, it challenges our bodies to adapt and grow stronger.  

Fitness Professional, Lynne Cotton

Interested in learning more? Contact Lynne or one of our other great Personal Trainers to figure out how to get more physical activity and/or exercise into your lifestyle.

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