With the onset of Spring, nature’s last call towards getting fit for the summer months, the time for procrastination is at an end; how the season is spent will be determined by the efforts that you put forth now.
That said, there’s no better way to shed fat than to put on muscle; cardio has its place but purely for aesthetics, strength training is the priority. Living in the tight quarters of a dorm can prove a challenge for a vigorous workout and sometimes a trip to the gym just isn’t an option. Fortunately, bodyweight calisthenics can prove to be both challenging and economical. No one would know that better than the US Armed Forces. Which is why the work out below is tailored to the type of functional strength training they perform to undergo some of the most difficult tasks in the world. As far as equipment all you really need is a yoga mat and that’s optional
No military training regimen would be complete without the perennial pushup; simple yet effective, the push up is a compound exercise working the chest, core, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. The execution is relatively straightforward, the hands should be beneath the shoulders, elbows at your sides, feet together, no sagging at the hips(you’re miss on a great core workout!); a perfect line should be able to be drawn from the back of your shoulders down to the heels of your feet. On the downward motion, bend at the elbows and touch your chest to the floor; on the way up, contracting your chest and arm muscles, drive down through the heels of your palm. Your core should be tight the entire time. Simple variations of the exercise will emphasize efforts on a different set of muscles. A wider pushup will focus on the chest, diamond grip on the tris; rotating your hands inwards will put more stress on the biceps. Should a regular push up become too easy, incorporate a plyo or hand clap push up to add some explosiveness and recruit some fast twitch muscle fibers.
Real power comes from the legs so there’s really no getting around working the lower extremities, painful as it may be. Standing shoulder width apart with your weight sitting on your heels(you should be able to rock back on your feet), drop your hips then bend at the knees to recruit more of the glute muscle, dropping just past parallel before driving upwards again. Your quads, glutes, and hamstrings will be tested but the results will be worth the effort; as the largest muscle groups in your body, working the legs will promote growth in other areas as well, through the hormones released from their exertion. Not to mention the mundane day to day tasks will cost you much less effort, whether it be climbing up the stairs or running between classes. Once again for some added difficulty add some jump squats in the mix by dropping your weight then popping up as high as you can; just watch the overhead fan and be mindful of your downstairs neighbor.
Not to beat on a dead horse but the emphasis on the legs is for real, though lunges are a different sort of exercise; more closely resembling the movements we use in our day to day routine. Each leg works of its own accord in tandem instead of simultaneously as in with squats; this also helps promote balance as you rotate between sides. Standing shoulder width apart, step forward with one leg, dropping the hips and bending the knees, careful not to let the kneecap extend past your toes; this will take away from the contraction of your quad and hip muscles. Drive up and repeat on the other side making sure to stop at the neutral position, unless you’re ready for jump lunges in which you drop and hop back up landing on the other leg.
Finally, to bring it all together, developing the core to get those coveted 6 pack abs, as well as getting the heart rate up, Mountain Climbers are an easy way to add some aerobic exercise alongside strengthening. Much like the push-up, start with your hands shoulder-width apart, one leg extended, the other bent and drawn up to your shoulder. Proceed to alternate skipping back and forth between legs, each time bringing the knee to the elbow. Once you get the rhythm of it, up the tempo to incorporate the lungs and breath some fire! That euphoric feeling at the end of your workout is worth it.
This is merely a quick rundown of a typical home workout when space is limited: these movements can be modified in countless ways to add variety or difficulty. Stand fast to your goals and develop unyielding discipline, but most importantly have fun with it and dive headlong into the challenge, knowing that with each painful repetition you are drawing closer a better you!
About the author:
Genesis Soto is a Psychology student at the Metropolitan State University of Denver and US Navy veteran. A wordsmith honing his literary edge, when not engaged in his craft, he can be found practicing mixed martial arts or immersed in nature. Genesis lives in the Mile High city in beautiful Colorado by the splendor of the mountains.