Make no mistake – the boys and girls who are going to look hot for Christmas and New Years are the ones who keep their workouts up, even if they're on the road.
That should be you.
The absolute super-coolest thing about bodyweight exercises is how portable they are. Pushup variations and squatting variations can be brought with you everywhere.
The Hardest Part of Bodyweight Workouts: Getting A Pull
But I always talk about how important it is to balance pushing and pulling exercises.
You can always tell someone who has over-developed pushing muscles and under-developed pulling muscles because they've got that rounded forward cro-magnon shoulder thing going on.
Bad posture is not hot.
While pushups, in all variations, are always with you – pulling usually requires a pullup bar for vertical pulls or a rail for horizontal pulls (body rows). And those you don't always have with you.
So I'm stealing an exercise from physical therapy – the "T". T's work all of those posture muscles on your back, most specifically the rhomboids and middle traps.
T's aren't too hard to figure out. Just imagine doint the "Y-M-C-A", except take out the YMCA and just put in T's. There you go.
So doing T's, you can get all of the posture balancing goodness you want, with your body only. Many Physical Therapists will have clients do a whole circuit including T's, Y's, W's and L's. And that's awesome too. But today we're going to keep it simple and start with just the T's.
My Favorite Bodyweight Posture Exercise: T's
At 1:40 Coach Nick gives about the best demonstration of T's I've seen. Check it out.
If You Don't Have A Bench (I'm Assuming You Won't)
Besides personal training, I'm also an aide at a Physical Therapy Clinic two days per week, taking patients through the exercise portion of their PT program. At the PT Clinic, we teach people to do T's off the corner of a bed, and that's definitely an option.
My personal training clients, on the other hand, I always have do T's standing.
Besides being super portable, with standing T's you'll get a little extra static butt and hamstring work. And getting some extra backside work with standing T's is way cooler than wearing those stupid Reebok Easytone shoes.
First off, you should be AWESOME at kettlebell swing and deadlift positiona – so that's the position that you'll do T's from – the bottom of a swing or deadlift position.
Remember what a swing should look like at the bottom? If not, here's a still from the kettlebell swing video:
Thanks again to the amazing Keira Newton, RKCTL for demonstrating awesome form.
So that same neutral/slightly arched bottom position of the kettlebell swing that you should be already very practiced at is where we can do T's from.
Instead of being horizontal on a bench, you're just going to fold forward at the hips.
Another Cool Option: T-Squats and Prisoner Squats
T-Squats are just holding the T move while squatting. Just remember that the muscles at your mid back should be doing more work than your legs – squeeze hard!
An even more user-friendly version is the prisoner squat. Craig Ballantyne has got to really get the credit for popularizing the prisoner squat as an alternative to pulling movements for posture in bodyweight workouts. Big ups to Craig for that.
Again, you should be doing more work at your middle traps and lower traps than your legs. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and down hard.
Your First Bodyweight Workout for Holiday Travelling:
4 x 10 Pushups (knee pushups, full pushups, or spiderman pushups)
4 x 20 T's (off the corner of a bed or in the bottom of kb swing position)
4 x 20 Squats (Lunges, Squats, Step Ups on a chair or bench, or chair Pistols)
Do all three exercises as a circuit: 10 pushups, then 20 T's, then 20 squats, then start over with pushups…
Easy and simple.
If you want more killer bodyweight workouts while you are travelling, definitely one Craig's Bodyweight workout programs for under $10. You can get either:
or, if you want to brows through every bodyweight program Craig has ever made, you can check them all out here:
Keep rocking your workouts straight through 'til New Years!
As much as RKC Chief Instructor Pavel has influenced my bodyweight strength workouts, Turbulence Training author Craig Ballantyne has influenced my bodyweight fat loss workouts. Definitely check out CB's bodyweight fat loss stuff.