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We are almost entering the second month of lockdown with social distancing rules being enforced. By now, it is understandable that many of you may be feeling really stressed out and anxious. For those who visit the gym regularly and are dedicated to working out, it is indeed a horrible nightmare to know that all of the gyms and fitness centers are now closed indefinitely.
The good news though is that there are many ways to exercise without needing to go to the local gym. Whether you have all of the usual equipment (such as dumbbells and exercise machines) to workout at home or not, it does not make much of a difference. All you really need are three things: 1) dedication and 2) creativity and 3) bodyweight. As long as you got those three things, you can get a full effective workout while you are stuck at home.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, advance or an elite athlete, these six essential exercises will give you an effective calisthenics workout challenge.
Push-ups are one of best upper body exercises. It is by no means overrated or overdone. Not only does it work a number of muscles like the triceps, shoulders, chest and even abs to an extent, it also does not require any equipment. As long as you have enough floor space to fit yourself, you can do push-ups anywhere and anytime. And don’t forget, there are many different ways you can do push-ups, such as diamond push-ups, wide push-ups and decline push-ups. Switch it up and challenge yourself.
Tips: Do not go all the way up with your elbows locked out on each rep. Instead, maintain a little bend on your elbows coming up. When going down though, make sure to bring your chest close to the ground. That way, you can maintain a constant tension on the muscles being worked and it makes the push-ups harder. Also, remember to keep your core tight.
Another effective upper body exercise that should be incorporated to your home workout are dips. Similar to push-ups, it primarily works the triceps, shoulders, chest and also the upper back. For many people, dips require more upper body strength and are more challenging than push-ups. But don’t be intimidated, you can still do dips even if you are just a novice. There are many ways you can do dips. You can do them off of a chair, stool or simply on the ground. For those who need more of a challenge, you can use a pair of sturdy chairs or tables and do dips in between them. If you have a kitchen counter and island close to each other, you can essentially turn it into dip bars and execute a full dip.
Tips: Take your time and do not aim for speed. Make sure to go all the way down and come all the way up on each rep, getting the full range of motion. Doing fast sloppy dips can be detrimental to your shoulders and arms, making your workout counterproductive.
Crunches are one of the best abdominal core exercises. Between sit-ups and crunches, you would probably see better results doing crunches. The main reason is that crunches does not give you much of an opportunity to break the tension in your core that is being worked. When you do a sit-up, you essentially have a quick second to break the tension by sitting upright, right before you drop back down on your back to do the next repetition. For crunches, there are no rest opportunities and the tension remains sustained on your abdominal muscles, giving you a more effective core workout.
Tips: Try doing different variation of crunches, including side crunches, kick-out crunches and bicycle crunches. It helps you to engage and work the different muscles in your core.
Legs are just as important as the upper body and core, and nothing really beats squats when it comes to a serious leg workout. Squats primarily target your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings, your upper leg muscles. It also requires the least space among calisthenics exercises. Unless you have no space in your home to even crouch down, there is no excuse to not do squats.
Tips: For each rep, do not squat all the way down or stand up completely. Instead, maintain a slight bend on your knees when you come up and go down until your knees are exactly parallel to the ground. That way you maintain a lot of tension on your upper legs, which makes the workout more effective. If you do a lot of non-stop reps, it could also be an effective cardio workout.
5. Calf Raises
While squats effectively work your upper legs, calf raises strengthens your lower legs, the calf muscles. It is a relatively simple exercise that can be done anywhere. If you need something to help maintain your balance, you can hold onto the wall or any pieces of furniture. If calf raises are too easy for you, stand on an object, such as the edge of a staircase or a thick hardcover book and do calf raises off of them.
Tips: Do a combination of single leg and double leg calf raises. For each rep, go down slowly and push up all the way with power on the ball of your foot. Try to stand straight and not bend over.
Last but not least, it is important not to neglect your back muscles. A strong back is important for good posture, health and overall strength development. Hyperextensions primarily work your lower and mid back muscles. While it is more challenging to do hyperextensions on a roman chair, it is still very effective when done lying on the ground too.
Tips: Really mentally focus on your lower and mid back while you do the exercise. Do not rush the exercise and try to maintain a consistent speed.
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