The anytime, anywhere workout for toning, strengthening, shaping and burning fat is at its peak popularity status. Many group fitness classes are based on bodyweight exercises and many trainers and coaches swear by their efficiency. Using your own body weight as resistance training is both simple and functional. There is only one downside: You want more.
If you've been busting your back through bodyweight workouts and feel like you're ready to take on more, read on. You can take the exact same workouts you've been doing and spice them up for a fresh delivery and more satisfying results. Here's what you can do:
Tempo changes: Super easy to do. Take the squat for example. Instead of going up and down at the same pace, try lowering yourself at a three-count, hold it for a count, then squeeze the glutes together as you rise up with one count. You can also reverse it, going down quickly and coming up on a three-count. Do the same thing with pushups, crunches, lunges, plank exercises and everything in between!
Plyometrics: Get your jump on! Adding plyometrics to your workout will get your heart rate up, burning more fat. It also works the fast twitch muscles that track and field athletes use for sprints and jumps. When you work these muscle fibers, you also tend to activate your carb-burning system, which will help you burn more calories and not just fat. Add these anti-gravity moves to your squats, pushups (click here for a breakdown of the plyometric pushup), lunges and advance the jumps you're already doing to tuck jumps or higher jumps.
>> Need inspiration? Fat Blasting, 10-Minute Plyometric Workout
Musical challenges: Everyone has that one song that really gets them pumped up and ready to work! Play that song and have some fun with your workout. Every time the chorus hits, you have to challenge yourself to burpee the whole way through it (squat to beat, hit the deck for mountain climbers, hold a plank). Then resume your workout as planned. Like challenges? Try a Skinny Minute Forearm Plank right now!
Supersets: You may have heard of these. A superset is when you work on one muscle group doing two or three exercises back-to-back without rest. This really grinds those muscle fibers from every angle. You can also work opposite muscles: one exercise for the hamstrings, one for the quads; one exercise for the triceps, one for the biceps. This is strength-based training. Click here to see an example here of some bodyweight supersets.
Cardio bursts: Nothing better for your workout than quickly getting your heart rate up! Cardio bursts are excellent for a change of pace (literally) and sometimes a change of scenery. Add a 100-meter run outside, a set of jumping jacks or a simple jog in place. Use these for transitions into the next part of your workout or as active rest. When you get the heart rate up, it make the work you're doing more challenging. Your body demands blood oxygen everywhere instead of a niche focus on the muscles you're using. You'll feel the difference!
Double up: Working out can be more rewarding when you do it with a friend! Grab a buddy and go for it. Help push them so they can help push you. Try to pace yourselves together and use each other for exercises, like anchoring the feet during sit-ups. Click here to see what the hype is about on having a gym partner.
Master mobility: Shift your focus from work, work, work to artfully mastering your range of motion and technique. If you really struggle with squats or lunges, it's time to get it right. Take it slow and learn which muscles are supposed to working and how you're supposed to feel during it. Click here to watch Real Mom Model Melissa breakdown the squat for you, then check out the squat challenge! Quality over quantity is far more important. It helps you eventually bear more weight during those exercises, increase your flexibility and coordination of other muscle groups and prevent injury.