Let's remove all excuses regarding your inability to hit up the gym or that travel consumed your time away from exercise. Not only do you have other awesome bodyweight workouts on my HuffPost blog page, but you have yet another great bodyweight workout to use called 10 x 10 x 10. Ten different exercises, 10 reps each, up to 10 sets of each exercise. Do as many sets as you can, and chart how many you did. The goal is to increase by one set every time you do it, aiming for 10 sets. This workout also targets your cardiovascular systems and facilitates a total body workout challenging all major muscle groups and stabilizer muscles. While some of these exercises are more dynamic in nature incorporating cardio, it is imperative to always focus on precise form throughout the routine so that you can build your strength, stamina and ultimately protect you against injury.
According to Beverly Hills-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raj, "Bodyweight training is underused so while it is great to lift weights, it is also important to perform bodyweight exercises to strengthen your smaller 'accessory' muscles that support your joints. Body weight exercises can also help strengthen your core muscles that surround the spine and hips which benefit your posture, and your ability to withstand the forces from strength training."
So keep it simple for yourself. When you are home, go to the gym. When you are on the road or just can't make it to the gym, do a body weight workout. Either way, you should get in at least one to two days of body weight workouts a week to help compliment your heavier lifting workouts. Be sure to warm up before any exercise routine (jumping jacks, marching in place, jogging in place for example) and consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Let's do it:
Start in a squat and curl position with your heels lifted off the ground and your hands in front of your feet. With your belly remaining tight and your knees bent, walk your way forward into a plank position. If you want a challenge, throw a pushup in. To walk yourself back in, bend your knees and engage your core muscles to bring yourself back into the crouch and curl position. Put your weight into your heels as you stand up to complete one rep. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Starting in downdog with your hands shoulder distanced apart and feet hip distanced apart. Push your hips high allowing your tailbone to be the highest point in the posture. Relax your neck by dropping your head in between your arms. Inhale your breath and raise onto your toes, slowly moving into a high plank. Stack your shoulders directly on top of your wrists. As you exhale, raise your hips back up to downward facing dog. For a challenge, add a chataranga pushup (elbows close to your side versus flared out like a regular pushup) to the plank. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Starting in a squat position with your knees tracking over your ankles and your hips set back, bring your hands to heart center. Once you are in the correct position, jump both feet out and extend the arms out to the side like a "t" shape. When you jump out, only jump as far as you can control your knees in alignment with your ankles in the same direction of your toes. You always have the option to step your feet side to side instead of jumping out if you have delicate knees. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. On the exhale, pop forward into a deep wide squat, with your knees tracking directly in alignment with your toes. Your heels should land on the ground every single time. The pop forward should come from your upper body strength and core so that you don't feel any pressure in your knees when you land forward. The second you land, lift your hands off the ground like a catcher's stance. Then place the hands down and jump back to a plank. You can also step forward and step back for lower impact. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Starting on your right foot, with your left leg lifted, hop to the left about 2-3 feet and land on your left leg in a flexed knee position. You can do a single leg squat or simply land, stabilize, and then hop back onto the right foot. Hop back and forth for 10 reps each side, and be mindful that the knee on each single leg hop points forward and doesn't flare out to the side or inward. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Starting in a side plank with your hand directly under the shoulder, balancing on the knife edge of the bottom foot with your top leg on top, reach your top hand overhead and lift your hips skyward. Once you feel stable, reach your top arm underneath your bottom armpit, creating a controlled spinal rotation in the upper body. Attempt to keep your hips and legs stable, facing forward. If they rotate towards the ground, just ensure that your bottom arm keeps you stable. Go slow. You always have the option to drop the bottom leg to the ground to do this exercise. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Lay on your back. Bring your feet together and your heels close to your glutes (butt). Flatten out the space between your lower back and the ground and you're your gaze skyward the whole time. Extend your right leg out to be in alignment you're your left knee. Balancing your weight into the left leg, exhale the breath and lift your hips up towards the sky, pause at the top, and slowly lower your hips back to starting position on the inhale. Repeat 10 reps on one side and then switch. Be aware of how your lower back is throughout this exercise and keep your core tight so that your lower back is neutral versus arched. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Lay on your back with your feet about hip distanced apart. Lift your shoulders off the ground until your core is activated. Keep your gaze skyward. Keep the lift as you glide from slide to slide touching either your calf or your heel. Keep your shoulders lifted off the ground for the entire set. Do 10 reps for each side, totaling 20 reps per set. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Starting in a wide squat stance with your feet a bit wider than your hips, turn your toes out and sit your hips back while angling your knees to align in the direction of your toes. Once you feel comfortable in the static squat, then push through the heels to a jump and land back into your starting position. When you land, be sure to bend your knees to catch the absorption of the landing, but make sure your toes track over your ankles and your spine remains neutral. Find a tempo to this exercise to make it more cardiovascular in nature. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Starting with your right leg forward, left leg back, in a staggered stance, step into the right foot to drive the left knee up towards the chest. Use your arms as momentum to propel you up into a hop. If you need an option for the hop, simply taking your left leg up to a single leg stance and balance for a full count before returning your left leg back to starting position. To watch the video demonstration, click HERE.
Photography: Xochitl Rodrigue
Videography: Catarina Zerling
Location: Orangetheory Fitness Brentwood, Los Angeles