[MUSIC PLAYING] JENN BENNETT: Hi and thank you for joining us today. My name is Jenn Bennett, a Health and Wellness Specialist with Cornell University's Wellness Program. Today, we'll be going through a series of exercises using only your body weight.
When performing body weight exercises, we can use different body modifications to make the exercise more challenging or less challenging, which would also help with your goals for your strength training program. For example, making the lever longer of your body, as in doing a push-up up on your toes versus a push-up on your knees. The push-up on your toes will make the exercise more challenging, meaning that you would most likely be able to do less repetitions building strength through that exercise or going down on your knees doing more repetitions and building endurance in your muscles.
These are some things to consider. Matt and Kerry are going to show us lots of different modifications with each of the exercises we're about to do. So let's get started.
Squats. To begin we want to show you three different arm modifications. Arms extended out in front, elbows bent with hands overlapping, and hands placed behind the head. To begin the squat start with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
To begin the movement lower the hips as if sitting in an imaginary chair, making sure the weight of the body is in the middle to the heel of the foot, keeping the chest and head lifted, eyes facing forward. The movement begins with the hips shifting back and the knees will naturally bend. Remember as you're coming up through the motion to squeeze the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
Step-ups. Be sure when you're choosing a step that when you place your foot on the step that the angle in your knee is not less than 90 degrees. So if Matt were to lift his foot up that step would be too high, so something lower. The lower the step, the easier the exercise. So with this being our starting position, Matt is going to transfer his weight onto the higher foot and step up on to the step. And then he will lower slowly back down into starting position.
As you see as he steps up his knee does not go past his toe and he keeps the weight of his body in the mid to heel part of the foot. To make this exercise a little bit less challenging you can alternate between both feet. Again, the power is coming from the foot that he's stepping up on and trying to minimize the amount of effort provided by the toe leaving the floor.
Arm circles and overhead press. To begin this movement start by your arms extended out from the shoulders at shoulder height. Four circles forward, four circles backwards, four movements up and down, four movements front to back, and four presses.
As you can see with Kerry, these movements are very precise. Her core is engaged, her knees are slightly bent, which help isolate the movements to the shoulders. Remember, if you have any shoulder injuries, please move through a range of motion that is safe and pain-free.
Push-ups. Matt's going to begin by using the step as an elevated surface with a full body push-up. You could always use a counter like a bathroom or kitchen to make this exercise a bit easier. This is starting position and Matt is going to slowly lower down bending his elbows, his hands are approximately shoulder-width apart, and then he's going to press back up into the starting position. Matt has a nice line from his shoulders through his hips, down through his ankles, keeping his core engaged through the entire exercise.
The next modification, Matt's going to lower down onto his knees and bring his hands down to the ground. This shortens the lever, but still provides a significant challenge for a participant. So slowly lowering down and pressing back up. Matt's going down close to the ground about a fist distance away, eyes are pointed towards the ground for the duration of the movement. The third option and most challenging option is to push-up onto your toes, slowly lowering down, and pressing back up.
Back extension. Begin the exercise lying on your mat face down. Lifting your chest off the floor, placing the elbows under the shoulder for support, slowly lowering back to the ground. Make sure that you're engaging your lower back through this exercise.
The next modification is with hands behind the head. Again, slowly lifting the upper body off the ground while keeping the toes engaged with the floor. The third modification is what we refer to as a YWT. The chest lifts off the ground, the arms form a Y, transition into a W, and extend out into a T, before lowering back down to the ground. Remember, keeping your eyes gazing at the floor, keeping a neutral neck.
Bridges. Begin with your heels a comfortable distance away from your hips. Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor. Slowly lower back down to starting position. As you're lifting, your weight should be between your heels in the middle of your foot. And your hips should only raise until the height that makes a straight line from the knees through the hips to the shoulders.
To make this exercise a bit more challenging move the right foot to the center and extend the left foot out. Remember, as you're lifting the hips, if you feel extra pressure on your shoulders or neck, you do not have to lift the hips as high.
Heel taps. To be in this exercise we'd like to take a moment to talk about the position of your hips during this exercise. Begin by pressing your hips in your lower back into the ground and then moving the opposite direction, tilting your hips forward and rounding your back. What you want to do is find a neutral position between the two and hold this position through the duration of the exercise. Remember, the legs are moving, but the goal of the exercise is to keep the hips in neutral alignment.
To begin the exercise, bring the knees over the hips at a 90 degree angle. Again, remember the neutral spine. Slowly lower one heel towards the ground and return to starting position. Remember to breathe throughout the duration of this exercise. And check back in with your core to ensure it's engaged.
The next option is to lower the legs on to the ground. Sliding one heel out and sliding it back to starting position. Again, maintaining a neutral hip and spine. To make this exercise the most challenging, start with the knees over the hips and extend one leg out at a 45 degree angle and return to the start position.
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Are you looking for a complete body workout that you can do anywhere, with as little as 7 exercises? Using your own body weight, Jenn, Matt, and Kerry, exercise physiologists from Cornell Wellness and Cornell Fitness Centers, will lead you through 7 exercises that only require yourself and a box to step up onto. Thorough demonstrations for each exercise, along with several different exercise modifications are shown. This exercise routine consists of: Squats, Step-Ups, Arm Circles & Overhead Press, Push-Ups, Back Extensions, Bridges, and Heel Taps.