Need to get on an exercise program, but don’t have the time to go to the gym or lack the necessary equipment to achieve your desired gains? Never fear, ONE Atomweight World Champion, Angela Lee, is here.
Lee has trained in martial arts ever since she was a toddler, and over the years, has become a certified workout expert. Needless to say, she certainly knows how to stay fit in a myriad of ways.
In this article, the “Unstoppable” heroine shares some of her favorite body-weight exercises, so take a lead from the champ and incorporate these five exercises into your daily workout routine.
#1 Air Squats
Air squats are quite arguably one of the most under-appreciated calisthenic exercises. This particular exercise will build endurance, add definition to the lower body, improve posture, and stabilize the core.
Start by standing with your feet spread slightly wider than your hips. Keep the toes pointed a little outward and the arms by your sides. Now, while keeping your back straight, bend your knees and push the hips back so the glutes move behind you.
It should be as if you were sitting on an imaginary chair. As you lower yourself, raise your arms in front of you. Finally, push up from your heels, straighten the legs, and lower your arms to return to the starting position.
This happens to be one of Lee’s favorite exercises, too.
“It is good to practice your form, and it is an effective, easy workout,” she states. “Also, you can change the range if you want to go deeper, or if you want to go ‘sumo squat’ style.”
For those who want to take it a step further, the exercise can be done with weights as well.
Push-ups are one of the most effective exercises around, and are utilized by everyone from school children to the military.
To do a proper push-up, just assume the plank position and place your palms under the sides of your shoulders. With your head facing forward and your back flat, lower your body until it is centimeters from the ground. Finally, push your body back up to the original position.
This exercise does not just target one muscle group: “Push-ups are great for everyone to do daily, because it builds your shoulder muscles and tightens your core, as well as many other benefits,” Lee says. “Also, there are a lot of different kinds of push-ups you can do, like speed push-ups and triangle pyramid push-ups. You can change it up. There are a lot of different options.”
Out of all the calisthenic exercises in this routine, the almighty burpee is the one that will stress the entire body. It is truly a full-body workout, and will compliment any and every exercise.
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your side. Drop into the squat position, but this time, place your hands on the ground in front of you, kick your feet back, and maintain the plank position. Then, lower your chest to the floor, push your body up, and thrust your feet back into the squat position. Finally, squat-jump in place and raise both your arms into the air.
Do a quick set of 10 burpees and your muscles will be guaranteed to feel the effects. “It is a full body range of motion, and a great way to get your heart-rate up pretty quick,” Lee says.
#4 Alternating Jumping Lunges
Why do regular lunges when you can challenge yourself by doing alternating jumping lunges? This will give you more of a workout and add an extra spring to your step.
Assume the lunge position by placing your left foot forward with the knee bent at a perfect 90-degree angle, and the right foot and right knee on the ground behind you, also at a 90-degree angle. Jump and alternate your legs in mid-air, so the feet and knees land in the opposite position. Keep repeating until you reach 10. As you become more comfortable, add more repetitions to your sets.
“These are really awesome because they give you a chance to practice good form,” Lee begins. “But also, it really burns your hamstrings and your butt. You are definitely going to be feeling them after the first 10.”
#5 Wall Sits
Wall sits are an exercise that have many benefits. Some of them include enhanced stamina, better balance, and an all-around stronger lower body.
The form is simple to master, but difficult to maintain for extended periods of time. Start by standing with your back, shoulders, and head against a wall, and have your feet spread out to shoulder-width. Then, slowly walk your feet out and slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Maintain that position for thirty seconds, take a rest, and repeat.
“That burns, and it really takes some willpower to hold,” Lee says with a chuckle. “It is funny because you see everyone doing their ‘jelly legs’ at the end. They are shaking. It is definitely challenging, and it is more mental than anything.”