Gym Free Workouts - Ways To Exercise Without Going
To The Gym
had a wild and crazy fantasy when I first started my fitness journey.
I envisioned a fitness program that didn't require a gym membership
or fancy equipment. I dreamed of exercise that could be done anywhere
at any time. My fantasy wasn't just to find exercise methods that
got me in shape, but also gave me the freedom to live a much less
restrictive lifestyle. I didn't want to feel like I had to rely
on a gym or costly home fitness equipment.
My dream lead me down many paths that included basic calisthenics
exercises and dynamic tension exercises. During my junior year in
college, I put these ideas to the test as I studied in Japan without
access to any fitness facilities whatsoever. While I wouldn't say
my gym free program was a failure, I certainly couldn't say it was
much of a success.
When I got back to the states I threw in the towel and got heavily
involved in using fitness equipment. I joined a number of gyms and
I even sold my own bed to stuff my little apartment full of weights
and cardio equipment. I simply figured that going gym free was okay,
but if you really wanted results, you needed some serious gear.
While my use of equipment produced the fitness results I was looking
for, I had to admit that it wasn't the most efficient. It wasn't
always easy to take time on vacation to find and use a gym for an
hour or two each day. It was a pain to move all of that equipment
every time I changed residence. It was a very frustrating when things
broke down and had to be fixed. I loved the fitness I had, but still
felt like my fitness was at the mercy of my equipment resources.
I didn't like feeling so vulnerable.
About 5 years ago, my dream of being gym free caught a second wind.
The idea had fresh legs, not because I wanted the freedom, but because
I was coming across new information. In a few months time, I stumbled
upon a few choice books and websites that suggested that not only
training bring great results, but even better results than
the typical gym workout. This proposition peaked my curiosity. Was
it possible? Could it really come to be?
It's been 5 years of experimenting and learning to come to the
conclusion that yes, Virginia, it is possible to get insanely fit
through using your own body as a gym.
If you're someone who harbors just such an ambition, I present
you with the following lessons that helped me go gym free and build
an even better body in spite of the fact.
Lesson #1 - Study Progressive Calisthenics
Progressive calisthenics are the secret weapon of the best gym free
bodies. There are 101 different ways you can progress a simple bodyweight
technique. Some of the basics include changing hand and foot positions,
altering speed or range of motion and shifting bodyweight more to
one side of the body.
aware that stepping up to an advanced push up or squat variation
can take weeks or even months before you start to feel like you're
getting the hang of the exercise. It personally took me about 3-4
years before I felt I could do a single leg squat with even a halfway
decent technique. Progressive calisthenics require a ton of focus,
discipline and body awareness to even begin practicing. However,
for those who are willing to put in the effort they will build up
your fitness in ways nothing else can match.
Lesson #2 - Suspension Training Offers Lots of Variety
Suspension straps, and even common gymnastics rings, can explode
your bodyweight training in a thousand ways. They give you the ability
to simulate almost any weight machine and free weight exercise in
existence. Best of all, they train those so-called "stabilizer
muscles" like nothing else. It's almost comical to watch someone
do push ups on gymnastics rings for the first time. There's so much
shaking they look like they are having a personal earthquake.
Lesson #3 - Hills and Staircases are The Ultimate Cardio Machines
Going gym free requires a good set of cardio options as well. Of
course there's running, biking and inline skating, but my personal
bet is going up any sort of incline.
Cardio machines in the gym use artificially generated resistance
to challenge your body. This is fine, but I really believe that
nothing kicks your butt into shape like working against good old
gravity. Climbing up hills, mountains and stair cases requires that
you actively move your entire body against gravity thus offering
a cardio challenge that's second to none.
Lesson #4 - Technique is More Important Than Intensity
In previous articles, I've covered the 3
aspects of progression to consider when amping up your training
to a new level. While frequency and intensity are important, it's
technique that ultimately brings you the goods. This is certainly
the case with progressive calisthenics. The entire point of progressing
your push up is to alter your technique slightly to further challenge
Looking to technique as your primary means of progression means
you don't look towards equipment and gadgets to get a better workout.
I used to think that the key to unlocking potential was with more,
and better equipment, which meant I was always buying stuff. Now
I know that you don't get in better shape by doing an exercise with
better equipment, but rather you get better results by doing the
exercise itself better.
Lesson #5 - A Little Extra Weight Goes a Long Way
It's inevitable that your bodyweight training might progress to
the point where you would like to add some extra weight to an exercise.
The cool thing about suspension training and progressive calisthenics,
is that a little extra weight goes a long way. In most cases even
adding an extra 20-30 pounds can be plenty.
This low weight requirement means you only have to buy a few weight
plates or a cheap set of adjustable dumbbells that you can stash
in a corner. You can even use heavy stuff you have lying around
like a backpack full of books or even a good size rock.
Lesson #6 - Seek Out Playgrounds
Lastly, consider looking for playgrounds in your neighborhood. Many
playgrounds, especially the ones at parks as opposed to schools,
are literally built to be outdoor bodyweight gyms. They offer loads
of variety, are open 24/7 and are free to use. Add in a set of suspension
straps and maybe a few weight plates and you'll have everything
you'll ever need to build the body of your dreams.
If you're curious and looking for more information, I invite you
to reach me through my email address or you can check out my webpage
for more information.