A gym-free workout

MICHAEL JAROSKY
Last updated 14:07 26/10/2011
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FREE GYM: There's no need to sign up to a gym to get some decent exercise.

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We've all used or heard the excuse before: I just don't like going to the gym.

So we use it as a crutch and choose not to exercise. Okay, that's cool. But as you're reading this, just move your hands down your body. Feel the curves, the bumps, the lumps, and the pouch. And love it. Because you don't need the gym to get a good workout in - you just need your bodyweight.

I love bodyweight workouts.

Why? Because they are simple, efficient, and a lighter load (no dumbbells, barbells, plates) ensures a safer workout, and every single person can perform some type of bodyweight workout. Even the ultra fit can be smashed by a quality workout, just using their own weight.

Need proof? Take a look at gymnasts. How fit and strong are these athletes? And all they are doing is using stationary equipment with the load solely being their bodyweight. Sure, they do some strength work in the gym, but even at peak fitness, gymnasts push their bodies to the limit during a routine, just using body weight.

Now, I'm not saying you have to buy your own rings and hang them from your living room ceiling, but you can still do some serious exercising while just using your bodyweight.

There are four basic movements you need to perform in order to use your bodyweight efficiently. They are:

Squats - a great multi-joint movement that targets many muscles in the legs and bum

Lunges - another quality movement that targets the hips, thighs, and bum

Push Ups - a great upper body movement that utilises the chest, arms, and shoulders, but also requires core and leg strength

Sit Ups - great for tightening up the tummy and increasing strength through the hip flexors.

Each move has a proper technique, so make sure you do some homework on the internet (bodyweightcoach.com has great videos), or ask somebody with experience for tips on how to perform with perfect form.

Below are five workouts of increasing difficulty that you can utilise to get yourself fit, slim, and looking good as the beach season approaches.

Workout #1. Just a beginner? Here's a programme you could introduce into your exercise programme:

40min walk. During your walk, stop during the 8 minute mark, then 16, then 24 (and so on) and do 15 squats, 15 push ups and 15 sit ups until you reach 100 of each exercise.

Workout #2. Short on time? Travelling for work? No worries. Get a jump rope, and you've got one of the most high intensity exercises you can do. You can do this in your back garden, hotel room, or anywhere with limited space.

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6 rounds of: 100 jump ropes, 20 push ups, 20 lunges (each leg), 20 sit ups (with a 1 minute plank), and 20 squats.

Workout #3. Ready to increase the intensity as you get fit? Get running. Don't just jog, but get some 100m sprints in and run as hard as you can.

10 rounds of: 100 metre sprint, then do 15 squats, 15 push ups, 15 lunges (each leg) and 15 sit ups. Rest by walking back the 100 metres, then head into round 2.

By round 10, you'll be hurting.

And if this, or any routine is too much? Then scale it down. Rest more. Perform fewer rounds. Grab some water. Look after yourself!

Workout #4. Up the intensity of any workout with some lovely and intense burpees.

1 min maximum number of squats

1 min maximum number of push ups

1 min maximum number of sit ups

1 min maximum number of lunges (alternate legs after groups of 10)

1 min maximum number of burpees.

Rest 20 seconds between each minute of exercise, and record how many reps you perform of each exercise. 1 round takes 6 minutes 20 seconds, including rest. Do this circuit once (record your column total each round while resting 1 minute between rounds), twice, three, or even four times and see how your reps regress from round to round.

Burpees, along with pull ups, are probably the best bodyweight exercise one can perform. Get ready for the heart rate to increase and for muscles to burn in places you forgot existed.

Workout #5. If you are looking to seriously test your body? Find a pull up bar at your local park, and after a quality warm-up, give 100 per cent to this workout:

5 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 15 squats. With no rest and 100 per cent intensity, see how many rounds of that you can do in those 12 gruelling minutes! Sounds simple? Try it.

From a mellow walk to a high intensity circuit, there are amazing workouts that everybody can use to give their fitness routine a bump.

Always remember to exercise in line with your fitness level (and consult your doctor if you are unsure) and maintain good form, tempo, breathing, and intensity ... and to enjoy your bodyweight workouts.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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