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You don’t need a gym membership to get a great workout, and you don’t always need weights to sculpt a great body.  You can tone your arms, legs, abs, and burn fat using simple bodyweight exercises.  Here’s the skinny from Shape magazine on bodyweight training:

  • Convenient – Bodyweight workouts allow you to squeeze in workouts wherever you are and don’t require a lot of space.
  • Time-Efficient – No weights makes it easy to transition quickly from one exercise to the next because there’s no equipment involved.  Shorter rest time means you can quickly boost your heart rate and burn some serious calories.
  • Cheap – Bodyweight workouts don’t require a gym membership or any fancy equipment.  But giving your wallet a break doesn’t mean giving your body one!  These workouts can be just as effective as the ones you would do in the gym.
  • Anyone Can Do It – The exercises can be easily modified for any fitness level.  For example, push-ups can be done on the knees if you’re a beginner or on your toes if you’re more advanced.
  • Variety – Bodyweight training doesn’t have to be limited to push-ups and crunches.  Think prisoner squats, walking lunges, and mountain climbers!
  • Less Risk of Injury – Being in control of how intense you make the exercises means you can feel potential problems right away and adjust your form, without worrying about dropping a weight on your foot!
  • No Fear – Weight rooms (and the equipment in them) can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner.  Sticking to lunges, squats, triceps dips, and other bodyweight exercises is an easy way to get comfortable with strength workouts and focus on using proper form.

 

Here’s a GREAT Bodyweight Workout from Women’s Health :  (Do exercises 1-8 with no rest in between, and then repeat the entire sequence)

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1. Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

2. Prisoner Squats – 20 reps – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your fingers on the back of your head (as if you had just been arrested).  Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position.

3. Close Hands Push-ups – 20 reps – Get into plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders (this works your triceps harder).  Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, and then push yourself back to the starting position.  Keep your elbows tucked close to your sides as you lower your body.

4. Walking Lunges – 12 reps – Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.  Step forward with your right leg and slowly lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees, then raise up and bring your left foot forward (like you’re walking) and repeat the lunge. Alternate the leg you step forward with each time.

5. Mountain Climber – 10 reps – Get into pushup position with your arms completely straight.  Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly bring your knee in as close to your chest as you can.  Return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep.

6. Inverted Hamstring – 8 reps – Stand on your left leg, your knee slightly bent.  Raise your right foot slightly off the floor. Without changing the bend in your left knee, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. As you bend over, raise your arms straight out from your sides until they’re in line with your torso, your palms facing down. Your right leg should stay in line with your body as you lower your torso.  Return to the start. Repeat on your left leg for 8 reps, then do the same number on your right.

7. T-Stabilization – 8 reps – Start in a pushup position with your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Keeping your arms straight and core engaged, shift your weight onto your left arm, rotate your torso to the right, and raise your right arm toward the ceiling so that your body forms a T.  Your right foot should now be on top of your left. Hold the T pose for a few seconds, and then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

8. Run in Place (High Knees) – 30 seconds

Featured Image Credit: http://www.indiatimes.com/health-and-fitness/top-10-fitness-trends-for-2013_-46141-8.html