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Calisthenics 101: Part Two

Blast your lower body with some simple dynamite moves!

Last week I wrote about calisthenics – a tried and true, surefire way to a simple, quick muscle pump. Calisthenics or body weight exercises consist of movements that use the weight of your body as resistance to work against. Using short bursts of intense training and just a few exercises, you can get an efficient muscle-building workout for just about all your muscle groups. In short, you can burn fat and calories and build muscle at the same time without leaving your home or office.

Just as push-ups and pull-ups can jack up your upper body muscle groups, so too, there are lower body calisthenics that can give you quads of steel and a butt to die for! Here are a few of my favorites.

There is no better weight training exercise for lower body than squats. Free squats are calisthenics done like barbell squats but without weights. The basic stance is feet-shoulder-width-apart. A wider stance works the butt and inside of the thighs to a greater degree, and a narrower stance works on the outside of the thigh to a greater degree. Point your toes out laterally and do not let your knees extend over your middle toes when you squat. Now bend your knees and lower yourself with your back straight and head up until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Raise yourself up using only the power of your lower body to a position with legs nearly locked out. Perform as many of these as you like, no limit, as long as you keep good form.

Jump squats are great if you want to add a little extra punch to regular free squats. Perform these in the same manner as free squats except after you squat down, perform a jump forward as you come up. Land safely, squat again and jump backward as you come up. These are sure to make you break a sweat, even though you might feel a little silly doing them at first. Just do them; they work! For an extra kick, try interspersing a set of 12 to 15 jumping jacks between each set of jump squats.

Lunges are the best way to tighten and tone your butt muscles. If you want to pack on a little muscle to a flat or sagging booty and get a little cardio workout in at the same time, try walking lunges.

Find a flat driveway or parking lot, or a large somewhat empty room. Begin with feet together stance. Keeping your back straight take a deep exaggerated step forward bending your knees and getting them as close to the floor as possible. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat with the other foot an exaggerated step forward. Do these walking lunges using perfect form, as many as you like and I will personally guarantee that you’ll have a  booty like a 23 year old porn star! OK, maybe an exaggeration, but your posterior will surely get harder and take on that nice bubble shape in no time.

Remember, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, squats and lunges are exercises that you can do at home, in your workplace, or in a hotel room with no equipment. You can do them indoors or outdoors and in no time at all your muscles will feel pumped and ready for whatever activity or mischief comes your way. Enjoy! For more tips on how to get a good workout simply and efficiently using calisthenics, circuit training, or interval training, contact [email protected]!