I present to you a new series on Neat Strength: The Weekly Neat Workout. From now on, I’m gonna post one bodyweight workout per week. Most of the workouts will target your whole body. I’ll try to compile exercises that are doable for most people and I’ll add easier variations when appropriate.
This week’s workout is called Freeze! It consists of 4 isometric bodyweight exercises. Read on to get the details.
Find a wall or something else that provides a surface you can lean against. Squat down so that your back presses against the wall. Your thighs should be parallel or slightly below parallel to the ground. If you struggle with this exercise, you can add support by pressing your hands into your legs. But a true wall-sit is performed with hands away from the legs.
The wall-sit primarily targets your quads (that’s where the burning sensation will take place). But, like most isometric exercises, it teaches complete body tension.
The plank is a classic in the world of bodyweight strength training. Get down on the floor, distribute your weight between your elbows and toes. Keep a straight body. Don’t raise your butt too high and also don’t overarch your back. Do this by actively engaging your abs and lower back, but also squeeze everything else you’ve got: Glutes, quads, chest and lats. If elbow planks are too hard, you can do a push-up plank. Simply get into the starting position of a push-up and hold it.
Planks activate your complete core. Abdominals and lower back work in synergy to keep your body straight. Additionally, you have to keep everything tight in order to maintain that straight posture. This beats crunches everytime.
The reverse plank, also called a straight bridge, is the counter exercise to the front plank. The name pretty much implies how it’s done: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Press your hands into the ground next to your hips. From there, lift your hips up. Drop your head back and lift your chest up.
The reverse plank will target your glutes and hamstrings more, but triceps, shoulders and other muscles from the posterior chain are involved in this hold as well.
Handstand Against a Wall
Again, find a wall. Facing the wall, place your hands on the ground, about one hand length away from the wall. Kick up into a handstand by swinging one leg up and pushing yourself off the ground with the other leg following shortly afterwards. Try to make yourself as long as possible. Look straight ahead, not to the ground (so neck is neutral). Engage your core and tighten your legs.
This will primarily target your shoulders and triceps. As an added bonus, you’ll get a healthy rush of blood flow into your head.
We are going to perform the workout in a circuit fashion, meaning you will do one exercise directly after the other with minimal rest between exercises.
3 circuits, 1 minute rest between circuits
Hold for time
Handstand against a wall
Level 1: 30 seconds | Level 2: 1 minute | Level 3: 2 minutes
Depending on your fitness level, shoot for either 30 seconds, 1 minute or 2 minutes for each exercise. It’s okay if you can’t hold it for the time you planned for. But aim for something! If you can hold an exercise for 30 seconds in all 3 rounds, set your timer to 1 minute the next time you do it. Log your times in your workout journal.
This workout gives you lots of benefits. All exercises teach whole body tension and increase body awareness. This is crucial for more advanced bodyweight moves. It’s also a full body workout that especially targets your core, upper body and leg strength.
You can do Freeze! once a week as a challenge or simply to add a bit of variety to your routine. And, because all you need is a wall, this is a perfect routine if done every other day if you don’t have access to your favorite workout gear.
Did you do this workout? Post your times in the comments below.
Photos: Sabine A
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