We all hear this excuses: I don’t have time! It’s too much of a commitment! It’s too expensive!
We’re barely into the new year and I bet most of you have made some kind of resolution to get in shape and have probably already used one of these excuses. Well, take this time to knock that out! Seriously. Do it right now! Shout it at the screen: “I will no longer make excuses!”
Now, after you’re done calming down your spouse, your neighbors, or any other innocent bystanders who are now giving you dirty looks at the coffee shop, let’s get down to the business.
Working out is not something that has to cost you the arm and the leg you’re trying to make stronger. Yes, it’s true that there are pricey options out there, from gym memberships to expensive equipment that you can order from the comfort of your couch. Of course, then comes the dreaded rut you get into where you’re paying for a gym membership you’re not using (and I’ve been there) or your treadmill or home gym machine is now a glorified coat rack.
Here is the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my goal of improving my physical fitness: DON’T SET SUCH LOFTY GOALS. Start small, and once that becomes too easy or not enough for you anymore, you’ll have it down to a habit, and then springing for the expensive memberships or equipment seems like a better investment.
With that in mind, here are five exercises that work your whole body and require little to no equipment (listed in order of amount of equipment needed):
Seriously, this simple exercise goes back to our middle school days (or junior high depending on where you grew up). The best part about pushups, aside from needing literally no equipment unless you want something, is that minimal variations can work out different parts of your arms, chest, and core. Seriously, check out this article.
Pushups will help improve that upper body so you can take on monkey-bar-style obstacles and other ‘chasm crossing’ obstacles, rope climbs, and carrying obstacles (the Spartan Race bucket carry comes to mind). You don’t need to do 100 a day. Just as many as you need to.
Oh, I could go on for days with the burpees memes. Seriously. There are thousands of them. But all joking aside, burpees really are an incredible workout. For real. Look, every rep works out the arms, the core, the chest, the legs, the glutes, the quads. Not to mention they build endurance. I mean, yes, they are a pain in the glute, and yes, OCR’s big and small (Spartan Race being the big) use burpees as a penalty for not completing an obstacle. But you can’t go wrong with a full body workout that can be done in one exercise. And the best part: you need no equipment to do burpees. No special shoes, no weight belt, no yoga mat. You can literally start doing burpees today! Seriously go!
Actually, finish reading this, then go. (Here’s a great video to show you how to do them right.)
Core strength is often ignored, but it’s so key in OCR. You need it to get through monkey bars and other crossing obstacles, low crawls through mud and under barbed wire, and just about anywhere else. Good core is good for you overall, and planks are a great way to work out your core. Again, the best part about planks is you don’t need to buy any equipment to pull them off. Like burpees, it’s something you can literally do right out of bed.
This one goes back to our pre-teenage years as well. Unlike the other options on this list, you will have to buy equipment: a simple pull-up bar. However, a quick Amazon search finds that you can get an easy setup that hooks onto your door for less than 25 bucks. There are more expensive options available, including many stand-alone setups, but an inexpensive choice will work just fine. We already know that pull-ups help you with your arms, but you can also do ab workouts as well, hanging from the bar and pulling your knees to your chest. (You may consider splurging on some ab straps to hold you up.) Let’s also not forget the ability to improve grip strength, an often-overlooked need of OCR, and build endurance in your ability to hang by your arms for an extended period of time, also important in OCR.
Um…there should be a ‘duh’ here. The last word in OCR is RACE, meaning there is running involved. I put this one last because, believe it or not, this simple exercise could be a little pricey depending on how you go about it. For me, I’ve been a part of a running family. We know the difference between pronate, super-pronate, and stabilize. With that in mind, I know I’m willing to spend a little extra money on a good pair of running shoes. My current pair of Brooks running shoes, which is the 2015 model, cost me about 85 bucks. The 2016 model would’ve cost me about $120. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I prefer a certain wardrobe when running, which requires workout clothes which could run another 20-50 dollars, depending on where I buy them. Again, that’s me. You may be able to run in 30-dollar shoes and in whatever you have in your closets. And if it works for you, then go for it.
Here’s the best part of all these exercises, as suggested: you can start doing all of these right away. Some equipment is needed, but you can still get started on them very quickly. And all of them will help you improve your OCR skills.
Got any other exercises that work? Tell me about them on Twitter! @RyanRunsInMud