Dumbbells, barbells, and weight racks are in the gym for a good reason, but it’s also possible to achieve a total body workout without the aid of machines or free weights. For those looking to workout without equipment, we put together this awesome guide to build a better you via sweat and perseverance:
Short Circuit Workouts
You can quickly ramp up your gym routine via the use of short circuit workouts. By doing exercises in a circuit with brief rest periods between each set, you can build cardio and muscle growth in your workout without equipment.
Between each circuit, our experts recommend a quick rest period of about two minutes. That may sound intense, but don’t be intimidated! If you find yourself unable to hit the desired number of reps in a particular set, you can rest-pause until you hit the target. In a rest-pause, you can take about 10-20 seconds to catch your breath until you have the energy to keep going and finish out.
Exercises for a Full Body Workout
So, what should you do during your short circuit? There are countless options for your circuit and you can mix things up based on your skill level, experience, and targeted areas. In keeping with the CrossFit tradition, these exercises will give you a total body workout, even if you choose to avoid the typical equipment.
Pushups and jumping jacks probably felt silly back in your Phys. Ed days, but they can be an integral part of your short circuit plan. Beginners – and even CrossFit veterans – often look to kickstart their circuit with 10-15 push-ups followed by jumping jacks until they hit the one minute mark.
These simple no-equipment exercises are a great way to get the blood moving for the rest of the workout. More advanced athletes may choose to dial up the number of push-ups or modify them into incline push-ups, but be sure to leave enough in the tank for the rest of the rigorous workout.
After that, you can incorporate spider lunges, walking lunges, hip thrusts, and crunches into your circuit. The number of reps in each set is up to you and you can fill out each minute with jumping jacks or similar exercises if you choose. Remember, once you’re done, it’s time to start back from square one after a quick two minute break.
Get The Best Workout Without Equipment From The Pros At Sweat Factory Crossfit!
It can be hard to stay motivated when working out at home or in the gym without the guidance of a personal trainer. Personal trainers at traditional gyms wind up being incredibly expensive, but sessions with the experts at Sweat Factory Crossfit will cost you a whole lot less per session.
To get the ultimate workout without equipment (and total body workouts with equipment), sign up for your free trial at Sweat Factory CrossFit today!
Both seasoned athletes and gym neophytes know that the cocktail of choice when working out is a protein shake. Lots of these powders are designed to serve different purposes, which means there are so many to choose from it can make your head swim, Phelps style. If you feel overwhelmed when shopping for a protein supplement, don’t fear, there are answers to all of your questions. Nutrition School is in session and your first class, Protein 101 will teach you all you need to know.
Why should you choose protein powder? Whether you are a gym rat or a couch potato you need protein. Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the fundamental building blocks of muscle proteins and enzymes, making it a crucial part of a daily diet. According to Men’s Health, protein also prevents blood sugar spikes and boosts the hormones that tell your body you’re full and should put the fork down. We believe that the biochemical mechanism responsible for preventing sugar spikes is gluconeogenesis. Basically, when a protein is broken down to amino acids, these amino acids can be used to make proteins such as muscle proteins or biochemically changed to sugars. This transformation is called gluconeogenesis. What is interesting is that gluconeogenesis is a way to slowly adding sugar to your energy system without spiking sugar or insulin.
Protein powder can be a great way to up the health quotient to your favorite recipes. Bodybuilding states that whey protein is a good addition to your menu if you are looking to build muscle and lose fat. When you combine whey with a health regimen like a workout routine, this protein supplement can help pump you up with lean muscle and increase your strength, as well as help you maintain the hard body you already have. A study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism stated that 35 grams of protein per meal is a target amount for a healthy diet.
You should always read the Supplement Facts information on labels When choosing a protein powder, checking out the fine print is a smart idea. Finding a high-quality protein will not only taste better but offer you more benefits and a healthier shake. When weighing which kind to buy, whey comes out on top as far as nutritional value. The ‘biological value’, or the proportion of absorbed protein you get from your food, is generally higher with whey products. The other types of protein powders: casein, egg white, soy, hemp, and others are lower biological value. Furthermore, in the case of soy protein, there is the chance that you are getting protein derived from a GMO source. Be on the lookout for powders with a limited amount of added sugar and carbohydrates as well as little in the way of additives. Beware of the blends, suggests Oxygen magazine, powders that have “concentrates” or “solids” which can be hard on the digestive system and might cause problems like bloating or gas.
If you are using shakes to shed pounds, according to the Cleveland Clinic, choosing a powder with no added sugars or sweeteners is key.
When is the best time to throw back a protein packed shake? Some people use their shakes as a meal replacement, having one at the beginning of the day or as their lunch when they don’t have time for a mid-day meal. That said, protein powders shouldn’t replace real food, as a rule. Many bodybuilders and fitness fanatics like to imbibe before or after a workout. Some sip during their sweat session too. According to a study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, there is a small window of time when a shake is optimal for your body. About thirty minutes after a gym session, these amino acids will have the most impact on your muscles, bringing you a bit of extra strength and muscle gain. It also helps to repair muscles and recover after exercise. For weight management, the Cleveland Clinic suggests a steady supply of protein at meals to keep you constantly satiated.
In the SFH supplement world, some powders are created to take before a workout. Fuel is a great option if you aren’t going home after the gym or you need something to get your get-up-and-go going before your exercise routine. FUEL contains coconut milk, which is a natural source of coconut fat. This is considered an energy fat burns quickly, providing a burst of energy rather than being stored as fat. FUEL is a fantastic way to get your energy revved without having a heavy meal sit in the pit of your stomach and weigh you down.
How can you mainline your protein powder in the most delicious way? Shakes are the most popular way of getting your powder boost. There are many recipes, from simply adding water or milk and shaking, to combining a variety of fruits, vegetables, nut butters, and ice and blending into a creamy, frothy frappe. Depending on your favorite foods, you can mimic the taste with different shake recipes. If you’re a fan of chocolate covered strawberries, try making a protein smoothie with chocolate protein powder and blended strawberries. If you like pina coladas, you can go for a run in the rain with your smoothie made from coconut and pineapple blended with vanilla whey protein powder.
There are other ways to get your amino acids in powder form. You can use protein powder like flour and make protein-rich pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, muffins and more, making those treats and sweets a little more nutritious. Maybe add some powder to your coffee for a protein-infused latte. Make a batch of quick overnight oats with added protein powder for a complete meal, which will hold you over until lunchtime. Using unflavored powder can also enhance your cooking. Adding a scoop to your appetizers, like hummus or guac, could mean you will fill up faster and dip fewer chips. Or perhaps sprinkle the powder in a soup or sauce you are making for extra oomph. The powder will be undetectable to the taste buds, but the addition of protein in your diet will be duly noted by the rest of your body.
HINGE VS SQUAT
Arguably the two most essential movements a human being can do, the hinge and the squat often get misunderstood. It is not uncommon to see people squatting when they should hinge and vice versa. In CrossFit, many exercises are built upon these two movement patterns. Even though they are simple movements, many people have trouble figuring out how and when to do which. So it is very important that we understand the difference between the two, both for your safety and for your efficiency.
Two things are necessary for correct implementation of these movement patterns: body awareness and mobility. You might have the knowledge of what is a hinge and how to do it but if you don’t know where your body is in space or have the mobility to go through the range of motion, it will be hard for you to perform the movement. If you are having trouble with squats, for example, awareness and mobility might be the issue, but it might also be that you are hinging instead.
These two movement patterns can be easily distinguishable by this one rule of thumb: if the joint going through the biggest range of motion is the knee, you are squatting. If the joint going through the biggest range of motion is the hip, you are hinging.
Going a little further into it, hinging recruits primarily your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and lower back) while squatting is mainly done with the quads. Or think about it this way, on a squat, you bring your hips toward the ground vertically, on a hinge you bring your shoulders toward the ground in a forward motion. You will still bend at your hips during a squat, and you will still bend your knees during a hinge, but that’s not the primary movement going on.
A squat, a dip, a hinge, bending of the knees and lowering of the hips are all different cues. So when I ask you to bring your hips down when you are about to deadlift I do NOT mean “squat a little”. Or when you dip, you are NOT just “bending the knees”.
The most basic movement we can relate to the hinge is the deadlift. Most of the times, when you are trying to move an object from the ground upward, you will be performing a hinge. Cleans, kettlebell swings, and high pulls are all hinging movements. Therefore, to maximize your efficiency on these movements, make sure that you are using your posterior chain when performing them.
The squat first has to be differentiated between the exercise and the movement pattern. The exercise “squat” is usually referred to a full, or partial, squat pattern done for reps or load. Front squats, air squats, overhead squats are all squatting exercises. “Squat” as a movement pattern refers to the act of bending at your knees while maintaining an upright chest. Wall balls and thrusters are movements that require a squatting pattern.
So why do athletes have a hard time separating these two movements?
Let’s first look at the hinge. Many people end up doing a more squat pattern movement when they should be hinging because of body awareness. It can be hard for some people to know if they have a straight back as they hinge, so to overcorrect that they may keep their chest upright and squat down. Another option could be that their core isn’t that strong yet. So when they perform a hinge their back round. Again, to overcorrect that, they might keep their chest more upright so it will round less.
Regarding the squat, there are more factors at play. Ankle, knee and hip mobility play a big role in squatting. So, as athletes want to get lower in their squat and a joint, or multiple joints, is at its current full range of motion, they tend to bring their chest down to create the illusion of being low (or maintain balance). Another reason could be that their posterior chain is much stronger than their quads, causing their hips to come up first during a squat and turning the movement into a hinge.
Finally, a big factor limiting your movement could be the strength imbalance. Like mentioned above, if you are way stronger on one type of movement, it might influence you when you are trying to perform another pattern. Especially if you have gone through an injury and have been avoiding a certain range of motion for a while.
So if you are stuck in one of these exercises, make sure that you are performing the correct movement patterns. Also, make sure that nothing is keeping you from doing the correct movement patterns. And as always, if you have any questions on the form or how to improve your hinge, or squat, ask your Sweat Factory CrossFit coaches!
If you want to get better at the snatch you have to practice it – plain and simple. While we can definitely give you some nifty tips that will help you better understand the movement, there is nothing that will replace performing technically sound reps over and over again.
PERFORM SNATCH PULLS
Sometimes we can easily add a little bit of weight to our snatch just by becoming more confident with the movement. Snatch pulls are a great exercise to work with weights heavier than your 1RM as well as to see where you need work during your pull.
SWEEP THE BAR BACK INTO YOU
If we’re chasing the bar out in front of us it could be because we’re not sweeping the bar back into us. Once the first pull is over and we’ve passed the knee we need to actively engage our lats to sweep the bar back into our thighs and keep the weight close.
BE AGGRESSIVE WITH THE ELBOWS
Having a slow turnover of the barbell could be happening for a few different reasons. For most people, it’s because they either have weak backs and shoulders or they’re not aggressive enough with their elbows. Snatch high-pulls are a great exercise to make sure that we’re being aggressive with our elbows and driving them high and to the outside once the bar has left our hips. From there we can begin to workout on the muscle snatch to make sure we’re getting a hard turnover of the bar.
If you want to speed up your progress. Schedule a 30 to 60 min PT session with one of our coaches.