Fitness instructors and coaches keep repeating the same thing.”You must build muscle to burn fat, building muscle has more benefits than you could ever imagine..blablabla” and the list goes on.
But, when we think about going to the gym, we will get reminded of those big and buff guys going beast mode while lifting weights that we average guys could never ever imagine of touching it. “Whaat 15kg and that’s your warm up weight?”
We get demoralized, we are afraid of people judging us, and so we put aside the idea of lifting weights ever.
In truth, people around you don’t really pay attention to you unless you are a groaner(those who makes lot’s of groaning sound when working out) or a sexy lady in tight yoga pants with just a sports bra on. Also, maybe if you are the only 90-year-old lady hitting a 100kg squat, that is something worthy of getting posted on facebook.
Ok so, you still think that you will never go to the gym? Don’t worry, There are still other ways like body weight workouts.
Heard of calisthenics and those who have become as light as feathers? Yea. I wish to be like them one day. Doing handstand pushups, human flags and all.
The question is how to start?
The 6 Basic Exercise
- Push up
- Calf Raises
- Crunches or any abs workout
Many of us think that we have been doing the correct form of push up and we go around bragging to people that we can hit up to 30-40 push ups in one set.
I find it weird for someone who has not been working out lately to say such things confidently. It’s obvious from the way their physical traits shout out to me “I like KFC and watching T.V all day.”
Even for me, it gets tough when I literally feel that my right arm always gets tired first before my left arm going beyond the 20+ mark. That’s when you know your form is not right.
Here is a video of how to do a basic shoulder length push up.
- Pectoralis major(Chest).
- Serratus anterior (Muscle just below the chest on right and left sides).
- Abdominal muscles (Abs).
- A bit of the biceps.
- If you can’t complete 5 push ups while maintaining good form, you can do what we call in the army “Ladies push up.” Instead of straightening your legs, you would rest your knees on the ground.
- One way to ensure you will always do a perfect push up without having much trouble is to have strong core muscles. Start doing abs workout too.
- Always ensure your movement is controlled and let your body be under constant resistance. A general rule of thumb for any exercise is 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down. That way you will prevent injuries, and you will engage your muscles properly.
Whats the difference between a chin-up and a pull-up? I don’t really care.
The point is to get your body up from the ground and to ensure that your chin is able to reach the level of the pull-up bar while engaging your back and arm muscles.
All you need is a pull-up bar which you can buy from any sports store, amazon.com, or just a nearby public park that has a fitness corner.
Here is a video to show you the Do’s and Dont’s for a pull-up
- Latissimuss Dorsi (Your side wings at the back underneath the armpit)
- Pectoralis (Chest)
- If you are unable to perform one pull-up, I would suggest performing an inverted body weight row for a start. A body weight row can be done at a nearby fitness corner at a park.
- You can make your own inverted row bar if you have a sturdy pole, stick or anything that is low enough and that can allow you to grab on it safely while letting you position your body underneath it parallel to your chest.
- Same thing here controlled movement.
There are two ways of doing dips. The full body weight dips or supported dips.
If you are a pro calisthenic athlete, you would have additional weights attached to your waist when doing dips.
For us beginners, let’s just start off with supported dips.
For a start, find a suitable bar, bench, table or any object that is high and stable enough for you to hold on to while allowing you to rest your legs about 40- 60 degrees below your waist line on the floor.
Another variation would be to place a chair or any stable object so you can rest your legs parallel to your waistline like what the picture on the right is showing.
It’s not supposed to be too low that it won’t allow you to bend your arms to a 90 degrees angle, and it should not be too high that it doesn’t provide you with any resistance at all.
- Pectoralis major (Chest)
- Deltoids anterior (Front Shoulder)
- Hands should be about shoulder width apart for stability. While moving down, do not disengage your muscle to quickly.
- Same thing muscle contraction and controlled movement.
- Always keep your elbows close to your body all the times, do not let it flair out as it may strain your elbows and shoulders.
- Some would do dips with two chairs that are placed side by side facing opposite of each other and allowing some space for you to do dips in between them. I might say this is quite dangerous as sme chairs are not stable. Depends on the the chair too.
My favorite workout ever, kidding.
Nobody (really) likes to squat except for ladies who are crazy about having a big bun (if you know what I mean hun).
Then again squat exercise is the greatest thing one can ever perform in a lifetime. It is like the ultimate workout. It engages so many muscles and burns so much fat, and it helps release testosterone which helps other muscles grow bigger and yaa. Awesome workout.
You wanna know how to do squats? Follow Coach Kozak, he is one of my favorite online coach ever.
- Quadriceps (Front thigh)
- Hamstring (Back of thigh)
- Gluteus Maximus (Butt)
- Lower Back
- If you have a knee injury before, I’d suggest do half a squat. Don’t do a 90-degree squat. It still engages some of your quads, hamstrings, and calfs while preventing too much strain on the knee as I was told by a physiotherapist when I injured my knee during outfield training in the ARMY.
- Learn to feel your quads and hamstrings getting engaged before doing more reps. If you focus on repetition than on muscle contraction, you will not improve your leg strength. You might even develop muscle imbalance.
A simple workout for hitting those calfs. It can hurt a lot during and after the workout as calf muscles are rarely pushed in this manner. Unless you are a sprinter.
- It’s best to do it on a raised platform for a full range of motion and more muscle engagement, but if you don’t have anything to stand on you can still do it on a flat surface.
- After you can do more than 30 of using two of your legs together, try to do it with just one leg for more resistance.
Sit ups only work best if you have something to secure your feet. If not, you’ll just end up doing a head nod as it is challenging to lift up your upper body when you are lying down while your legs are free to move without a strong and stable core.
What you can do instead is to do crunches. It hits them abs hard too.
Here are some general exercise tips:
- Master the form before doing more repetitions. Ask people to take a look at your form. Practice, practice practice.
- Do slow and in a controlled manner. Think 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down.
- Do less but progressive as well, don’t compromise form over the amount of repetition. Once you can do more, slowly add in more repetitions.
- Have at least one day of rest in between workout days. Drink 2-3litres of water and eat more proteins, and don’t forget your vitamins and minerals for proper growth and development of muscles.
What other workout suggestions or tips do you have? Do share below.