You don’t need a machine for every muscle in your body, or even at all. Instead, follow these basic principles.
The fitness industry as a whole would lead us to believe that we need thousands of dollars in equipment to effectively workout, with numerous machines covering nearly every muscle in your body.
While I often have joined gyms because I wasn’t sure what else to do, I was also always attracted to developing very natural, lean strength. The kind of strength you would find in the military or among gymnasts. The kind of strength that translates into life and into sports.
Even if your goals are only to play with your kids or grandkids, you will need strength. Plus, strength training can benefit you in numerous ways, like increasing bone density to reduce the risk of osteoporosis or improving glucose tolerance to reduce the risk of diabetes.
A few years ago I discovered the actual word for the type of training I was looking for: calisthenics.
Calisthenics, or bodyweight training, focuses on compound movements, mobility, and balance.
Through my experiences with this type of training, I’ve realized there are really only four types of exercises we need: pushing, pulling, core, and legs.
Pushing exercises can be as basic as a regular pushup, an easier version of a regular pushup like a pushup where you are on your knees instead, or incredibly difficult versions that few athletes will ever attain.
Take, example, the 90 degree pushup:
In other words, you can attain all the pushing strength with pushup variations alone.
You don’t need bench presses and Bowflex machines to get a strong push.
Here are 50 pushup variations that should keep you entertained for a while: