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Weightless Exercises

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Saturday, June 26th, 2010 in Q&As

There are often times I’m left at home without a way of leaving (No keys to re-enter the house), yet I want to exercise and work out. What are some simple, yet effective workouts you can do at home without any equipment?

I’ll list a few different exercises — some require no equipment at all, whereas some are ridiculously cheap.

Weightless Compound Lifts
Yes, you can do compound lift movements without an olympic bar — you aren’t gonna build up big muscle mass by doing them, but they do burn a number of calories. Squats are easy — just squat down like you would with an olympic bar, and obviously squat all the way to the ground. If you have them available, a backpack filled with books or even a heavy object you hold over your head will add weight to the movement. Bench presses can be replaced by push-ups — switch hand positions (closer, farther apart, etc) to place different amounts of weight on your triceps/pectorals. Deadlifts can also be done weightless — find a heavy object and lift it up like a deadlift, keeping as much knee movement in the motion as possible.

To really make these count, focus on variation. Instead of doing the standard weight lifting 5×5 routine, focus on doing a lot of reps and a lot of sets with different types of reps. Try a set full of deliberately slow reps (like squatting very slowly), half reps (coming down halfway, stopping, counting to one second, and standing up again), pulse reps (stopping midway and lightly bouncing) and half-slow reps (going down slowly, popping up). These are a lot more effective than they sound — going slow and pulsing in particular is fairly intensive, as it can trap lactic acids in the muscle (a good thing). Squat-jumps and, if you can, clapping in between push-ups are also great ways to add intensity. Don’t rest as much between sets — keep your heart rate pumping. Again, none of this is going to make you body builder huge, but these movements all activate a significant number of muscles, which will burn calories fairly efficiently, especially at a faster cardio-like pace.

More specific exercises

There are plenty of other exercises you can do without weights. Tricep dips are fairly easy — find a couch or bed, put your hands on the edge of the couch with your chest facing up, keep your legs out, and dip your body down, push up, and repeat. To hit your legs, calf raises and lunges work incredibly well, even without weights. While presses are somewhat hard to do without weights, if you find two very heavy objects in your house, you can easily press them for a nice shoulder workout.

Burpees

Burpees are god’s gift to weightless exercise. I won’t go into the finer details, as you can find a ton of information on them online, but burpees area killer exercise, and should really be put into any sort of weightless exercise routine. Do them.

Easy Equipment Exercises

If you do have a little bit of spare cash on hand, you can get some pretty good tools to do exercises inside of your house that shouldn’t break the bank or take up too much space. One of the best purchases you can make is a good pair of dumbbells — even 10lbs will do, as at a cardio speed, they will feel 100lbs. For a heavier cardio focus, look into a jumprope. If you want a good ab workout outside of crunches, reverse crunches, and similar weightless motions, look into an ab wheel — they work incredibly well. If you really want to look into something effective, a pull-up bar (or simply a bar you can do pull-ups on) works wonders.

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