Everyone knows exercise plays an important role in our general health, but whether its a lack of motivation, the need to travel to the gym, the cost of equipment, or simply know-how, these supposed obstacles often stand in our way. In reality, all you need is yourself. Here’s how you can get a full-body workout with nothing but your body.
The Four Core Rules
Before we jump in to the four different types of exercise—cardio, upper body, core, and lower body—and their explanations, here are a few very important rules to remember:
- Always remember to breathe. This seems obvious, but when you’re in the middle of an exercise you may actually forget. In most cases you’ll exhale when you do the hard work (e.g. the pushing up part of a push up), and inhale on the easier part (e.g. when you lower your body for the push up). This isn’t always the case, however, and special breathing instructions are noted where relevant in this post.
- Form is extremely important. If you do an exercise wrong, what seems like progress initially will quickly dissipate and possibly result in injury. Be sure you’re doing the exercises correctly before you begin. Ask a friend to watch your form first. If you know a professional, ask them to help guide you. While this guide will explain proper form, it is your responsibility to ensure you doing the exercises properly and not cutting any corners.
- Take it slowly. While aerobic exercise if often the exception, most other exercise is best performed slowly. This doesn’t mean you should take long breaks in between each push up and sit up, but that you shouldn’t perform each as quickly as possible. Going slowly will work the muscle more and make you stronger.
- Your goal is to fail. The key to a good work out is failure. That doesn’t mean giving up because you’re frustrated and tired, but rather pushing the limits of your strength until your strength is spent. Obviously you don’t want to push yourself to the point of injury, but that shouldn’t be a concern so long as you’re exhibiting the proper form. Don’t worry too much about the number of repetitions of any given exercise, but instead concentrate on working as hard as you can. A larger number of push ups doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stronger. Some days you’ll have more energy than others and will perform better. Some days you’ll perform worse. The key is to do the best you can with all of the energy you have. If you fail, you succeed.