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Body Weight Exercises

Performing bodyweight exercises – also known as calisthenics – is a simple, effective way to improve balance, flexibility, strength and endurance with minimal or no machinery or equipment. Sports teams and military units are known for performing leader-directed group calisthenics as a form of physical training and group cohesion. Some of the most common exercises in this category include sit-ups and crunches, planks, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, lunges and squats or their variations. They can be done anywhere, can be modified to accommodate your arthritis, and can be made harder or easier depending on your fitness level.

Modifications

Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.

  • Push-ups or planks can be modified by changing your position to bear weight on the forearms rather than hands and wrists, or the position can be changed to bear weight on the knees rather than the feet.
  • Plyometric exercises can be made low-impact by keeping one foot (or hand depending on the exercise) on the ground at all times.
  • Exercises can be modified by doing a partial range of motion rather than the full range (quarter squat instead of a full squat, for example).

Tips

  • Bodyweight exercises require good core muscle strength. Most of these exercises recruit a lot of muscle groups at once, making them hard but effective.

Progression

  • Begin with isometric holds at different positions until the full exercise can be achieved.
  • Slowly increase the number of repetitions and sets you do.

This is general body weight exercises information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.