Working Out Without a Gym

Working Out Without a Gym
By: Gregory Teo

No gym membership? No gym near you? It's ok, you can still get a good workout in. 

Gyms are everywhere in every corner of Singapore. Some are even open 24 hours a day, which is particularly helpful if you want to sneak in a late-night or early morning workout. If cost is a problem, you can probably find a public gym at a community center nearby for as cheap as $2 per entry. No need to break your bank to pay for a gym membership. 

But if for some reason you do not have the luxury of access to a gym, do not fret. Unless you want to be a competitive bodybuilder, you do not need to go to the gym to get a good physique or to improve your fitness. Bodyweight exercises are one way you can build a good set of muscles with minimal equipment. They are strength training exercises that make use of your weight to provide resistance against gravity. You can probably think of some common bodyweight exercises off the top of your head right now! 

Yes, you are right. Push-up, pull-ups, and sit-ups are just some of the most common bodyweight exercises. If you are an experienced gym-goer, don't write off such bodyweight exercises as stuff for beginners just yet. Remember that bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, can be performed at various intensities and can be varied to train specific muscle groups that are often neglected in the gym. 

Even if you go to the gym regularly, having bodyweight exercises in your arsenal of exercises is helpful especially when you are on a vacation with no easy access to gyms or when you just don't have the luxury of time to travel to a gym. Except for exercises that involve pulling, bodyweight exercises can be done in the comforts of your own home or the hotel room. For pulling exercises, you can either head to a fitness corner nearby (or a playground with some monkey bars) or invest in a pull-up bar that you can set up at home. 

Ready to try out new bodyweight exercises? Let's go.

Pistol Squat

Pistol Squat

You probably have done a squat before. But have you tried doing a squat with one leg? The pistol squat is not the easiest lower-body exercise out there because it requires a lot of balance. As a result, this exercise recruits a lot more muscle groups than the normal squat with two feet planted to the ground. 

The main muscle group that you will be training with this exercise are your glutes, quads, and hamstring. Your core muscles will be extremely important to keep you balanced as you go up and down during the squat. You might likely find yourself falling on your butt the first few times you try it, so take caution. This exercise is a sure way to see if you have skipped your legs-day or not! Challenge your buddies with pistol squats.

 L-sit

L-sitL-sit

Sitting upright with your legs straightened in front of you is probably no challenge. But holding that position with hands propping you up is a whole different thing. That's what we call the L-sit. Gymnasts do perform L-sits mid-air with steady rings (a gymnastic apparatus), but L-sit can also be done by pushing yourself away from the floor with your two hands. This exercise primarily works your quads, forearms and your abdominal muscles. 

For those who aren't flexible, this exercise will be tough. Remember your sit-and-reach in school? If you have problems with that during your P.E. classes, chances are that holding your upper body perpendicular to your straighten legs itself is a challenge let alone propping yourself up off the floor.

If that is the case, try stretching more often to increase your flexibility first before trying it again. Once you have mastered the L-sit and can hold it for more than 10 seconds, trying doing pull-ups with an L-sit.

Explosive Push-ups

Explosive Push-ups

Want to work out your chest and arms but don't have a weight bench and weights? Try working out the same muscle group with explosive push-ups instead. As you probably already know, push-up mainly trains your triceps, delts, and pecs. This can vary depending on the position of your arms. But if you want to get stronger, varying the speed can help you achieve the results you want. Explosive push-ups require you to generate a quick burst of maximal efforts as you push yourself away from the ground. 

Do this exercise only when you are very comfortable doing the traditional push-ups. This variant of the traditional push-ups means that you will be in the air between each push-up. So be sure to cushion yourself with your hands when landing by slightly bending the elbows.

Pull-ups

Pull-ups

This is one of the most common bodyweight exercises. Nothing new. But nothing beats pull-ups when it comes to building a solid back. Pull-ups can help you get the V-shape body that you want. If you do get bored, there are more than 20 variations of pull-ups for you to choose from, each targeting specific muscle groups. 

Think you are strong? Challenge yourself to a single-hand pull-up. Warning, you might be humbled.

If you don't feel like stepping out of your home, you can easily get yourself a doorway pull-up bar with just $30 if you look around online. It will make a good investment.