Feb 152012

(courtesy of http://feelrich.com)

feel rich, health is the new wealthFitness for Free: Save a Buck & Work with What You’ve Got

by Max-El Saffold —

For those of us concerned with our health and fitness, fitting it into our budgets can be rough.

Along with our bills, car notes and rent payments, there’s also an endless stream of toys, trinkets, gizmos and gadgets on a mission to stick us for our paper, making it practically impossible to fit a gym membership into our financial plans. With such devious forces at work against our physical and fiscal fitness, many of us feel forced to put our aspirations of getting right on hold until we think we can “afford it.”

Well, we’ve got a message for you: That’s totally unnecessary. You can start getting right immediately and it won’t cost you a dime.

With parks and playgrounds all over just about every municipality in the country, a gym membership is truly a fitness luxury, not a necessity. You don’t need fancy equipment, air conditioning or walls to get yourself together. You can get a great full-body workout with a park bench, a jungle gym or bar to hang from, a lot of open space and your own bodyweight.

That’s right, kids, the word for today is calisthenics — or “bodyweight exercises” – and we’re gonna show you a few simple moves you can start doing today:

What you need: Enough space to jump up and down in.
Muscles/Areas worked: Quadriceps/Hamstrings (Front/Rear Thighs), Calves.

How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Squat down until thighs are about parallel with ground then jump straight into the air as high as you can. Land on soft knees (bend knees to absorb impact) and repeat.

What you need: A bar to hang from. Jungle gyms and tree limbs are perfect.
Muscles/Areas worked: Latissimus dorsi (back), biceps (front of arms).

How to do it: Hang from bar/limb with hands palms-out and slightly wider then shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin is at the same level as or higher than your hands. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position, then repeat.

*Pointer: Change your hand position to palms-in (facing you) and vary how far apart they are to hit different areas of the back. If this move is too difficult to perform alone, have a partner assist you by holding your feet.

What you need: The same bar/limb you did the pull-ups on.
Muscles/Areas worked: Abdominals (stomach)

How to do it: Hang from bar/limb and bring your knees straight up to your chest. Slowly lower them to starting position, then repeat.

*Pointer: Vary this exercise and isolate your obliques (side abs) by raising knees up to the sides. Do the same number of reps on each side.

What you need: The ground and a bench.
Muscles/Areas worked: Pecs (chest), deltoids (shoulders), biceps/triceps (arms)

How to do it: Everyone knows how to do a push-up, but it is important to make sure that you get the full range of motion by lowering yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle before pushing back up. Vary the width of your hands to hit different areas of the overall chest. You may also vary the exercise by placing either your feet (incline) or your hands (decline) on a bench to focus on the upper or lower chest, respectively.


Do these very basic exercises regularly and you’ll be well on your way to having the body you always wanted. As time passes, you’ll begin varying these moves and adding others to your repertoire. By exercising outside you’ll not only be saving money, you’ll also be adding a fresh-air cardiovascular aspect to your workout that you just can’t get while strength training at a gym.

It’s a win-win.



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