Generally people would think that strength and conditioning training would require a gym, some heavy weights or even machines. This could not be any further from the truth. It is definitely one way get an effective workout, but you can also get a great strength and conditioning results with compound bodyweight movements.
It is a real simple way to introduce a beginner to a fitness routine. I’ve also come across many intermediate and advanced athletes over the years who have used bodyweight training to great success.
Below is a list of some of the basic fitness movements.
As the names suggests, your body is a plank. Place your hands underneath your shoulders (either arms extended or on your elbows) and ground your toes into the floor and activate (squeeze) your glutes to stabilise your body.
Place your neck and spine in a neutral position, looking about foot ahead of your hands.
- Male: 2 minutes;
- Female: 2 minutes.
From the plank position, lower your body until your chest touches the ground. Keep your core and glutes tight and a neutral spine and neck. Press your body up again into the plank position.
Movement standard (single set in 2 minutes):
- Male: 50 push ups;
- Female: 20 Push ups.
Grip the bar at shoulder width (or slightly wider) with an pronated (overhand) grip, then hang from the bar with your arms and legs extended.
Pull yourself up until your chest reaches the bar, focusing on drawing your elbows into the ribs and sliding the shoulder blades down your back. Then, lower yourself down under control until your arms are straight.
Movement standard (single set effort):
- Male: 10 pull ups;
- Female: 4 Pull ups.
Feet at or around shoulder width (whatever’s most natural) and toes either forward or pointing slightly outward, lower by pushing your butt back and out until your thighs reach at least parallel.
Keep the weight on the heels and a tight, neutral spine throughout the movement.
- Male: 50 Squats;
- Female: 50 Squats.
Two or three days per week, after a suitable warmup, for example, some light cardio activity with some range of movement to activate the joints, try to complete a circuit using the four basic bodyweight movements.
Your initial goal should be to aim for the movement standard in each exercise for three rounds, with two minutes rest in-between rounds. Once you have surpassed this standard, try adding another round, decreasing your rest periods or even add some additional functional movements like interval running, the farmer’s walk or another type of weighted carry.