Inexpensive Workouts – Exercises To Get Fit On The Cheap

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Times are tough. The recession is affecting everyone either directly or indirectly. Most people are more diligently monitoring their expenses, and many may have found it necessary to cancel their gym memberships in order to pay their mortgage or rent, auto loan, utilities, and groceries.

This does not have to be the reason to stop exercising. You can have effective workouts at home, even without dumbbells, barbells, nautilus machines, or cardio equipment. What matters is that you engage your muscles and you keep your intensity high.

How do you do this? Bodyweight exercises. By definition, they are strength training exercises where the practitioner’s own weight provides the resistance. These can be done with equipment, but are easily performed without any.

Shown below is a sample bodyweight circuit routine for a beginner. Each exercise should be performed for 30 seconds without resting in between movements. Be sure to use proper form.

Warm up for 5 – 10 minutes with a light cardiovascular activity such as walking or jogging in place, followed by static stretches.

  • Regular push ups: 30 seconds
  • Jumping jacks: 30 seconds
  • Two-legged squats: 30 seconds
  • Military push ups: 30 seconds
  • Jumping jacks: 30 seconds
  • Forward lunges: 30 seconds
  • Regular push ups: 30 seconds
  • Run in place: 30 seconds
  • Rest: 1 minute

This is one cycle. Repeat 3 – 5 times, tracking your progress.

Cool down by keeping moving until your heart rate slows, and then perform some more static stretches.

Beginners may find this circuit difficult at first. Stick with it and before long, you should be able to perform more repetitions in the same amount of time.

This workout can become more challenging in a number of ways.

One method is to replace these basic exercises with more intense ones, such as performing burpees or spiderman push ups instead of regular push ups; two-legged deep squats or one-legged squats for the two-legged squats; backward or side lunges for the forward lunges; and running in place with high knees for the jumping jacks.

Another option is to rotate other exercises into your routine. Examples are wall sits – two-legged and single-legged, walking lunges on tip toes, groucho walk, mary katherines, and running stairs, just to name a few.

You can also increase the number of sets. If you have completed 5 cycles of this routine, then try for 6 or 7.

Increasing the total time for each movement is another variation. By extending 30 seconds to 35 seconds, each cycle will increase from 5 minutes including rest time to 5 minutes 40 seconds, which is more than a 10% increase. Multiply this across 3 or more sets, and it will have a noticeable impact.

Varying the speed of some of the movements can have an effect too. For instance, instead of performing as many push ups with proper form as you can in the allotted time, slow it down for a count of 3 from the starting plank position to the down position, pause momentarily, and then count to 3 again as you return to the starting position. Repeat for the entire time for this movement and others such as squats and military push ups.

It is obvious that equipment is not needed for bodyweight exercises. However if you have a pull up bar, you can rotate in pull ups or chin ups with different grips; if you have bands, you can simulate the pull up movements; or if you have a small ball, you can use it to rest one hand on while your other is on the floor when performing push ups.

Choose one or a combination of these variations for your workout to be fresh and exciting, and to keep challenging your body. Keep track of what you do so you can plan for the next week.

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About Author

Sharon Chamberlin

From an early age, Sharon was encouraged to participate in competitive sports including soccer, basketball, track, softball, and volleyball. She has been an athlete and fitness enthusiast ever since. She explains that her parents instilled in her a level of self-confidence that has touched everything she does. See my profile page for more information!

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