Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great holiday weekend. Before I get started I just want to remind all of you that if you have any questions you would like answered please just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This week’s question comes from Joey Mascolo from right outside Washington D.C.
I was wondering if you could give me some bodyweight exercises to do for those times when you cannot get to the gym. Maybe you could share your favorite exercise for each body part. Any help at all would be extremely appreciated.
So, this week I will give my top bodyweight exercise for each body part. Now, you can also purchase a resistance band (Rogue has a great and affordable selection), and add an additional challenge to some of these exercises. Simply adding a resistance band to your repertoire or luggage is all you need to complete some of these exercises. Go check out my favorite bodyweight exercises and remember to send your questions to email@example.com with the subject "Newsletter Q&A"
Talk to you again in 2017 (Next Thursday) and have a happy and healthy New Year!
This is an easy one. The pushup is not only one of my favorite bodyweight movements, but also a staple in my programming as they are essential in developing proper pressing form. The pushup is one of the key foundational movements, and this is why it would have to be my favorite exercise. In addition, the pushup itself is incredibly versatile as an exercise. You can change your level of elevation (lift your feet up on a chair, push up off a chair etc.), change your positioning (narrow, standard or wide) and basically create a multitude of benefits for your body with just one exercise. This is a no brainer!
Biceps (Banded Bicep Curls)
This one is a bit harder as you will need either a band or something simple like a hand towel to complete them. Obviously, you can do banded curls and just step on the band with your foot and do a standard curl, or you can even get a hand towel if you have a partner and have them pull on the opposite end of the towel for resistance. Either is acceptable and way too cheap to not consider.
Side Note: Fellas, if you’re looking to impress the ladies on the beach this summer keep a band in your travel bag. You can always catch a quick bicep pump, but just make sure no one is looking! :)
Standard dips are my definite go to here. Find a chair, and go to work. However, like I mentioned with biceps you can have a partner or friend help you use a towel and mimic overhead triceps extensions.
Shoulders (Band Pull Aparts/Hip Thrusts)
If you took my advice and purchased a band (just do it, they’re cheap) then band pull aparts are a must for your upper back/rear deltoids. But, just incase you didn’t, give superman’s a try. They’ll also simultaneously work your glutes.
Find a doorway and do some pull-ups. It’s as simple as that!
Hamstrings/Glutes (Banded Stiff Leg Deadlift/Hip Thrusts)
Again, use your band and do some banded Stiff Leg Deadlifts. Or, hit the floor and hammer out some hip thrusts. Make sure you get a good pinch with your glutes and you will be good to go.
Quads (Bodyweight Squats)
Bodyweight Squats are definitely one of my favorites. If you want to make them more quad dominant, just squat down to a chair, really sit back and load your hips, and then drive straight up from the chair, which will really call on your quads. This is important. Driving out from the chair is not only wrong, but will not target your quads in the same fashion.
Calves (Calf Raises)
This one is easy. Calf raises, after calf raises after calf raises.
Look below to find photo explanations of some of the more intricate exercises!
Firstly, let me preface this with the fact that to perform many of these it will be useful to purchase a resistance band. Don’t worry. They are fairly cheap and durable and they will have many uses for your training. I use Rogue bands and I would definitely recommend them. Also, our articles are now part of a weekly newsletter that goes out every Thursday. If you would like to receive the newsletter please click on the "Join Our Family" tab at the top of the page and submit your email. Thank you!
Banded Heel Cord
The name of this sounds fancy, but it is quite simple. Loop a band around the power rack at your local gym so it is anchored. From there, place the band around your ankle and move into a lunge position. Note that the ankle with the band around it should be your lead ankle. All the movement involves is slowly flexing your ankle forward (think driving your knee out past your toe), holding it for a few seconds, and then slowly moving back to the starting position. Repeat this several times and make sure you do this with both ankles.
Anterior Hip Opener
This exercise can be performed without a band, but I find that the band further enhances the movement and stretch. Loop a band around your upper thigh (for this movement the leg with the band on it will be your back leg) and proceed into a lunge position with your back knee on the ground. Proceed to drive your hips forward.
Olympic Wall Squat
Loop a band around your knee, bring it around your back, and then loop it around your other knee. Lie on your back and place your feet up on the wall shoulder width apart. Begin to let your knees drive outward slightly. You will notice as you deeply breathe they will further drive outwards.
To start, let me say this. Any and all of these exercises will be the most effective when combined with proper periodization as well as nutrition. However, even with that being said, these three exercises are still my favorite to build your triceps.
Close Grip Bench Press
Out of all of these, I have to say this is my favorite. I normally would suggest skull crushers as one of my favorite exercise, but I know that they can lead to elbow and wrist pain. So, I will leave that off the list and give a great alternative. Any pressing movement in general will hit your triceps, but the close grip bench press accentuates that due to the fact that a closer grip will make your triceps the primary mover and not your chest. Basically, you can load your triceps with a pretty substantial load with this movement, which is why I have found it to be extremely beneficial to my own success in building my triceps, and it has helped many others as well. Quick note on form: Do not place your hands too far together on the bar as doing so can lead to elbow and wrist pain. A great rule of thumb I like to use is placing my index finger right on the crease of the bar where the texture changes and then starting my hands there.
Triceps Kickbacks and Overhead Extensions
I am grouping these together since both of them completely isolate the triceps unlike the close grip bench press. Kickbacks are awesome as they literally only use your triceps to be executed. Grab a dumbbell, stagger your feet, place your arm at about a 75-90 degree angle off your hip, and then reach back with your hand until your arm is locked out. Return to complete the movement. I emphasize keeping the dumbbell off your hip because many people have a tendency to swing the dumbbell past their hip and back up, which creates momentum and takes the constant tension off the muscle.
For overhead extensions, grab a dumbbell and place your hands underneath the round head. Bring the weight behind your head and then push up to full extension. Doing these seated can make the exercise much more effective as well.
This week our question comes from Matt Gilbert from Boston, Massachusetts and pertains to nutrition, specifically in the workout window.
Curious on nutrition. If you're eating carbs before a workout, would you prefer rice or a pasta. Also, post workouts, is it bad to have darker meat opposed to a chicken or turkey? Any alternative meals or items to eat for both questions would be awesome !!"
This is a great question and an aspect of training and nutrition that is often overlooked. Utilizing nutrient timing can be extremely beneficial to not only your workouts, but also your body composition goals.
The first part of Matt’s question deals with the type of carbohydrates to specifically consume. Now, in terms of rice vs. pasta, it really does not matter what type of carb you consume, just more so that you consume them within 1-2 hours of your workout. However, if you have gluten sensitivity rice is a great alternative to use as a carb source. Simply put, your body’s main source of energy for training comes from glycogen stores. That is, carbohydrates produce blood glucose and once you deplete your body’s glycogen stores it will turn to the carbs you have given it as additional energy. So, to avoid the loss of valuable muscle tissue it is imperative that you give your body this secondary energy source once your glycogen is depleted. If not, you can place yourself in a catabolic state. Essentially, there are two states, anabolic and catabolic. An anabolic state promotes muscle growth while a catabolic state is the product of muscle breakdown due to your body not having necessary glycogen to fuel itself. As a result, pre workout carbs and even an intra-workout shake filled with amino acids and a carb source can go a long way in promoting an anabolic state! If your goal is fat loss, you can simply fuel yourself with amino acids during your workout and push your body to seek fat stores for energy instead.
For post-workout nutrition, it is also imperative to consume your carbs and protein within 30 minutes to one hour after your workouts. Again, if you miss this “anabolic window,” your body will begin to break down muscle tissue for recovery, which is a catabolic state. Properly timed post-workout nutrition can generate muscle growth and recovery via protein and also replenish your glycogen stores that you depleted throughout your workout. Basically, to ensure that your carbs are used as an energy source and not transferred to fat it is imperative that you utilize this window. Starchy carbs are a great way to achieve this. The higher a carb is on the glycemic index the better it is for glycogen replenishment. Sugary and starchy carb sources are great for athletes or those seeking muscle gains. Furthermore, for those who have the goal of fat loss, this is a great way to ensure that the carbs you consume do not turn into fat. Lastly, protein sources that are lean like chicken are preferable because they can reduce fat that will be idly stored. A protein powder that can be consumed once a workout is completed is ideal.
Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.