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5 Equipment-Free Moves to Keep You Strong

You can still get a great strength training workout, even if you don’t have any equipment or weights. Whether you are at home with a newborn baby, on the road traveling for work or vacation, or just don’t want to make the trip to the gym, these are some fantastic moves that build strength using your own body weight.

Chest – Push Ups: This is one of the most simple, yet most effective exercises you can do to strengthen your chest muscles, as well as your biceps. Start by lying down on your stomach with your feet together. Place your hands at shoulder level, palms flat on the floor and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your gaze down to the floor to keep your neck in alignment with your spine. Pull your belly button into your spine and inhale. Push yourself up off the floor by straightening you arms while exhaling and keeping your whole body (heels to neck) in a straight line. Don’t let your pelvis drop or your butt stick up into the air. (Refer to Figure: Push Ups 1) Inhale as you lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. (Refer to Figure: Push Ups 2) Return to the starting position. Repeat for 12 to 15 push-ups.

Push Up
Figure: Push Ups 1
Push Ups
Figure: Push Ups 2

Triceps – Triceps Dips: Sit at the end of a chair or bench. Wrap your hands around the front of the chair so that your knuckles are facing forward. Lift your buttocks off the chair and walk your feet forward until they are straight out in front of you and your butt is only a couple of inches from the chair. (Refer to Figure: Triceps Dips 1) Take a deep breath in and lower your body straight down by bending your upper arms until they are parallel to the floor. Your forearms should become perpendicular to the floor. (Refer to Figure: Triceps Dips 2) Exhale as you push yourself back up until your arms are straight again. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions.

Tricep Dip
Figure: Tricep Dips 1
Tricep Dips
Figure: Tricep Dips 2
Alternating Lunge

Figure: Alternating Lunge

Legs – Alternating Lunges: Lunges are great for developing balance and for strengthening your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Stand with your feet together, toes pointing straight ahead. Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Take a large step forward with your right leg. Bend the right leg and lower your hips so that your upper right thigh becomes parallel to the floor. Keep your right knee above your right ankle so that it doesn’t go past your toes. Lower yourself down until both legs are at a 90-degree angle. Do not touch the floor with your left leg. (Refer to Figure: Alternating Lunge) Push off with the right foot so to come back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do 12 to 15 repetitions of each leg.

Supermans – Lower Back: Lie on the floor, face down with your arms extended in front of you past your head. Your legs should be extended directly behind you. Pull your navel to your spine. Keeping your arms and legs straight, lift your arms, chest and legs a few inches off the floor (Refer to Figure: Superman). Hold the top position for a second or two and then lower your arms and legs back down to the floor. Repeat for 12 repetitions. Work up to 25 repetitions.

Superman

Figure: Superman

Bridge – Transverse Abdominis: Begin on your hands and knees. Place your forearms on the floor, so that the elbows are directly below the shoulders. Lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs behind you so that only the balls of your feet are in contact with the floor. Push your heels straight back so your feet are flexed. Pull your navel to your spine and keep your body in a straight line. Don’t let your hips drop or your butt stick up into the air (Refer to Figure: Bridge). Hold for 60 to 90 seconds.

Plank

Figure: Plank

52 Small ChangesAdapted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Make real, lasting change with this easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at Amazon.com.

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