Don't worry if you don't have any workout equipment or access to a gym. You can still get a hardcore workout with your own body weight at home or at a park. Body-weight training not only gives you a stronger and leaner body, it also boosts your body awareness and balance in a way that training with machines cannot. Once you are familiar with body-weight exercises, use the interval training method to add kick to your workout.
Benefits of Interval Training
If you have limited time and want to get a quick and powerful workout, give interval training a shot. This is where you perform one high-intensity exercise at near-maximum intensity followed immediately by a lower-intensity exercise, says Dr. Jason Karp, Ph.D., contributing writer for the IDEA Fitness Journal. Because of the strenuous nature of interval training, it raises your metabolism faster than steady-pace cardio and builds muscular endurance and strength at the same time. For example, do set of jump squats for 10 seconds followed by a set of inclined pull-ups with a low parallel bar for 20 seconds. Rest for one to two minutes before you repeat the pair of exercises two more times.
Doing body weight exercises such as lunges and push-ups doesn't always mean that you have to move in one direction. Your body moves in three primary planes of motion, which includes front to back, side to side, and different angles. Planar-movement training improves your body awareness, movement control and balance, which are necessary in many sports and daily activities. It can also spice up your workout to prevent exercise plateaus and boredom. For instance, in the lunge pattern, you can lunge to the front, behind you, to the side or diagonally. For push-ups, you may twist by lifting one hand off the ground and raising it over your body while turning your torso to the side and keeping your feet on the ground.
You can use the planar-movement concept in your interval training. For example, in the first set, do a set of regular front lunges for eight to 10 reps with a set of regular push-ups for eight to 10 reps. In the second set, do a set of side lunges and a set of push-ups with rotation for the same number of reps. In the third set, do a set of turning lunges with a set of single-leg push-ups for the same number of reps. Play with the planar-movement concept with various body-weight exercises to see what new exercises you create.
Interval training can be extremely challenging for those who aren't used to high-intensity exercise. It can lead to severe muscle soreness, fatigue and mental weariness. However, with a steady progression over several weeks, you will adapt to the stress, become stronger and recover faster. Consult a qualified and certified fitness professional to help you condition your body and mind before trying interval training on your own.
- IDEA Fitness Journal: The Planar Training Method
- IDEA Fitness Journal: Interval Training: The New and Better Way to Train Your Clients?
- Athletic Development; Vern Gambetta
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.