Top 3 Body-Weight Exercises for Indoor/Outdoor Training and Bootcamps
One of the best ways to ensure no excuses with your training is not to be dependent on equipment. Eliminating excuses is one of the keys to long-term success. Not all exercises are equal. Sure you can run, jog and walk, but you also need to get some full body movements that incorporate large muscle groups to increase intensity, get stronger, fast and better.
Always make sure you begin your workout session with a long progressive warm up. Your warm up should include a few minutes to increase your heart rate and body temperature followed with some larger more dynamic mobility exercises and movement to switch on your nervous system and prepare your body for higher intensity exercises. Total warm up time should be 8-10 minutes.
Here are 3 of my favourite body weight exercises to incorporate into your outdoor training:
The Air Squat:
More than just a body weight squat, the air squat engages a lot more muscle fibres because of the explosive aspect of the movement. The principles are the same. Performance a basic body weight squat starting with your feet shoulder width apart and maintain a solid athletic position with your arms in front, elbows soft. Keeping your knees pushed out to the side, descend in your squat positive with your knees below your hips.
With all your effort, drive your weight through your heels and explode up into the air. There are two ways to accelerate using your arms. The first is to swing and drive your arms down towards the ground, past your hips in a swinging motion. The second option is to start your hands by your hips and drive upwards into the air. I personally prefer to swing my arms downwards, to create the ‘Air’ squat, simultaneously imagining to drive the ‘air’ down towards the ground.
Start with performing 8-12 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
Gone are the days of doing crunches. Firstly, they are not very functional and can actually contribute to back pain (Mutoh et al., 1981, and Calliet, 1988). Our core is designed to maintain midline stability and prevent movement. Your core is designed to transfer your energy from lower body to upper body, as 99% of movement requires the development of power from the ground up, transferring through the core through to the upper extremities. Think of jumping, throwing, playing tennis, shooting a basket, baseball, kicking a football. All require the development of power, and speed from a stable base. The hollow rocker ensures you maintain good midline stability and develop strength through your core.
How to do it
Start by lying on the ground, legs extended, knees soft, and your arms crossed over your chest. Raise your legs up to 45 degrees and with control, drive your legs towards the ground, allowing your upper body to lift off the ground. Decelerate your legs so they don’t touch the ground and start to let your upper body descend back. Now maintain a shallow position and gently rock by repeating the initial part of the movement.
You can work to failure, rest and repeat using a ‘fartlek’ type interval of work to rest, or perform a few sets of timed intervals based on your level of fitness. You can start by performing 15 seconds of work, with 30 seconds of rest and repeat 3-5 times.
In addition to your steady state lower intensity exercise, it is also important to build your capacity to perform work. This is ‘fitness’. Sprinting will increase your level of fitness in less time and engage far more muscle fibres as well as utilise your anaerobic energy systems, leading to better performance, higher levels of fitness and faster fat loss. They key when starting to increase your speed of running is ensure gradual progressive. You don’t need to go all out on day one. Instead start with short bouts of jogging, building up to fast runs for 5-10 seconds as your progress.
Using the following table to gradually progress over time
To monitor your intensity you can use the RPE scale. 1 being super low intensity and 10 being the highest ‘perceived’ intensity you can perform. Remember ‘perceived’ means your own interpretation of intensity and not related to heart rates, norms or other people. Just your own. This will also change based on how you feel on the day.
So, next time you are in the park or heading outdoors for a workout, incorporate these top 3 exercises for better results, better fitness and a better you.