Body weight exercises, or calistenics, are perhaps the oldest and most convenient form of exercise that you can do. There is no clunky equipment, and no expensive gym membership…just the opportunity to turn your body into a lean, mean, fat-burning powerhouse!
Calisthenics also make an unexpected fat burner. The speed and intensity with which you perform each move transforms the exercises from simple elementary school PE moves into calorie torching super maneuvers.
Total Body Training
Calisthenics, or any exercise alone, won’t be the easy button for fat loss without a little extra sweat. Exercises should incorporate as many large muscle groups as possible. The more you use your entire body, the more intense the workout. As your workout continues, it will become difficult to complete total body exercise after exercise, at which point, you can perform exercises that focus more on one large muscle group, alternating between upper and lower body moves.
No Rest for the Weary
That’s right…no rest! Performing the exercises without rest between each one will turn a seemingly easy set of basic moves into the high intensity, fat-burning cardio workout that the treadmill probably isn’t getting you. That continuous training will sculpt your body more efficiently as you work a variety of body parts, rather than the limited, repetetive motions that you get in “normal” cardio workouts. Complete all of the exercises in the circuit and rest for 30 seconds at the end of the entire circuit. Then start back at the beginning and cycle throught the circuits for 20-30 minutes.
Try this varied circuit:
Burpees combine a jump and a plank for total body toning. Stand up tall before getting in a crouch position, placing hands on the floor at shoulder width. Jump feet back to a plank position, then bring them back up to the crouch before standing straight up. Complete 20 reps.
Complete a standard pushup, or modify on the knees to make it easier. Change hand position (wide arms, hands close, etc) to increase difficulty. Complete 15 push ups. Start on your toes, and drop to knees if necessary.
3. Squat Twist and Reach
Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart. Squat down, pivoting right foot to bring knee in, and twist to the left to look behind you, hands twisting with you. Reach as low as you can to the floor, but keep your back straight. Rotate the twist to the right as you are standing up, raising arms above head. Make it harder by using a medicine ball.
Get in a plank position. Alternating legs, bring the right leg out and around, with knees bent. Try to touch your knee to the tricep. Alternate with your left leg, and continue repeating for 20 reps.
5. Lunge Jumps
Get in a right lunge, jump and switch legs in the air, landing with left foot forward. Repeat quickly, alternating legs, and complete 20 lunges.
6. Bear Crawls
Get in a plank position. Step your right hand and right leg forward, then left hand and left leg forward, as though you are walking on all fours. Do 20 “steps”
Build Muscle to Lose Fat
As you progress through a few weeks of these intense calisthenic workouts, you will begin to build more muscle, which, in turn, will keep your metabolism burning the midnight oil. Your calorie torching will continue long after your workout is over, producing quick results, muscle tone, and a huge loss in your body fat percentage.