Let's face it, you can not always get to the iron, sometimes the gym is just out of the way and there's no time to make the trip. That does not mean your workout has to wait. You've got a body right? It weighs something (probably more than 100 lbs, too), right? So, of course bodyweight exercises are the answer to this particular dilemma. You can do bodyweight exercises almost anywhere at any time.
Here's the first installation of my top ten list of great bodyweight exercises.
1) Bodyweight Squats. Squats are great for working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, all that good stuff. Throw your arms out in front of you as you lower yourself and lower them as you raise yourself to give your upper body something to do. Or hold something heavy if you've got something heavy close by. You can make this harder by doing a timed set. Try to see how many proper form bodyweight squats you can do in 5 minutes flat. My record is 215. That's not easy. Trust me. Or mix it up by doing Split Squats or Squats with one leg behind you on a table or chair, or widen your stance to hit your inner thighs harder. There's lots of ways to get variety in your squats. It just takes a little imagination.
2) Lunges. If you're low on space, just do regular lunges, moving forward and back repeatedly. If you're outdoors and have the room, do walking lunges, back lunges, side lunges. Again, use your creativity and you'll find lots of ways to change it up. You could even lunge your way all the way to work and back at the end of the day if you do not mind a few snickers from passersby along the way.
3) Pushups. If done correctly and from your toe position these are not easy. There's lots of ways to get variety here too. Try them with your hands close together, or one hand beside your chest and the other one beside your ribcage or hips. Try doing the spiderman pushup or one armed pushups. Raise your legs onto a table or stool, or if you're really strong, the wall.
4) Pull-ups or Chin-ups. Yes, you do need a bar or at least something stable you can hang off to do this one, but if you are near a playground you've got that one beat right there. Otherwise get one installed in your home. It is worth the investment (yes, I have one installed in my home too). You have no idea how fast you can build up strength for this one if you can do one or two several times a day just walking through your door the 'hard' way!
5) Towel Rows. Like Pull-ups you will need to find something to hook a towel around that you can lie under and use to pull yourself up. But if you have even a banister or railing in your home, that will do just fine.
There's the first five of my top ten bodyweight exercises. I've got the rest coming in the very next article so we'll see you there.