Not everyone who enjoys working out has, wants or needs dumbbells, barbells or other gym apparatus to maintain a desired level of fitness.
U.S. Army Rangers and Navy Seals provide great examples of peak physical conditioning, and they don't get that way pumping iron. Body weight alone is a great way to challenge yourself with the exercises described below.
This is a strength-training workout that can be performed anywhere, anytime. Perform this workout two or three nonconsecutive days a week, making sure to warm up with five or 10 minutes of light cardio and end your workout with some gentle stretching exercises.
Perform one set of each exercise, one after the other, with brief rests between exercises. Complete one circuit for a shorter workout, two to three full circuits for a longer, more intense workout.
Modify the exercises as needed to accommodate your own level of fitness. Make the exercises more challenging by using only one limb at a time (e.g., one-legged squats), slowing down your repetitions and really focusing on the muscles you're working.
1. Assume a modified push-up position, with toes and hands placed right next to each other. Tighten abdominals and keep them tight throughout the exercise. (If this position is too difficult, rest weight on knees instead of toes.)
2. Move your left hand and left foot (or knee) about 1 foot to that side.
3. Do a regular push-up, then return to starting position.
4. Repeat with right hand and right foot (or knee) this time, followed by a regular push-up.
5. Alternate walking hands to either side for a total of eight to 12 repetitions (one repetition includes walking to the right and left).
1. Place a chair just behind you and stand in front of it with feet about hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Bend the knees and slowly squat toward the chair.
3. Either hover over the chair or sit for a second, then fully extend legs until you're back to standing position. Use core and leg muscles, not momentum, to control this move. Repeat for 12 to 16 repetitions.
Front and reverse lunges
1. Step the left leg forward into a lunge. Push back to start, lifting left knee to hip level.
2. Take the left leg back into a reverse lunge and push off the toes to come back to start.
3. Repeat for 12 to 16 repetitions and switch sides.
1. Lie facedown on a mat and place hands behind your head.
2. Contract abdominals and keep them contracted throughout the exercise.
3. Squeeze your back to lift chest a few inches off the floor. Lower and repeat for 16 repetitions.
Planks with knee bends
1. Begin in plank position on your hands and toes.
2. Lift your left foot off the floor and bend the knee, pulling it toward the chest. Your torso might bend a little as you bring knee in.
3. Cross your left foot over your right leg, hold briefly, then take left knee back to the chest.
4. Bring left foot back into full plank and repeat on the other side.
5. Repeat for eight repetitions (one repetition includes a knee bend with both right and left legs).