Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!
I don’t have a home gym setup. Never did. I saw absolutely no reason to drop 12 Easy Payments of $19.99 a month for some gargantuan piece of machinery that, in all likelihood, would become another clothes rack and hiding spot for the cat.
Yet, 6 years ago, I was 240 pounds. As of this morning, this is what my scale told me:
Yes, I am still a baker. Yes, I still eat my own work, as I’ve brought up before.
I just lost the weight and keep it off without buying some ridiculous workout machine or diet plan.
In the previous articles, I’d mentioned it in the broad strokes, and I mentioned that I use a single, 50lbs. sandbag for weightlifting (or, as the case may be, a sack of flour), and told you all a bit about where and why I run, but I never went to any great detail on my bodyweight exercise routine.
Here we go then!
I AM NOT NOW, NOR HAVE I EVER BEEN, A FITNESS EXPERT OR A PERSONAL TRAINER! THESE EXERCISES ARE PRESENTED PURELY AS SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME PERSONALLY- YOUR ABILITY, RESULTS, AND SPECIFIC HEALTH-RELATED CONDITIONS MAY VARY. DO NOT START ANY NEW WORKOUT ROUTINE WITHOUT SPEAKING TO A FITNESS OR MEDICAL EXPERT. ATTEMPT THESE EXERCISES AT YOUR OWN RISK.
That totally legally-binding disclaimer out of the way, let me introduce you to my Absolute and Complete Set Up For Bodyweight Workouts!
- Yoga Mat (completely optional, but I like it. This one I borrowed from my wife.)
- Deck of Cards (get them from… anywhere really. Just your average card deck.)
- Push-up bars (Again, totally optional- I just like them because it puts less strain on my wrist. These came from a thrift store.)
- Roughly 12-18 square feet of floor space.
Shuffle Up Your Workout
My preferred workout regimen is called “Gotch’s Bible”- after the Belgian wrestler Karl Gotch who developed the workout to condition himself for matches. I first learned about this from my brother-in-law Kevin, who also told me about the Dinosaur Training that led to my sandbag workout. This is honestly a pretty popular and easy workout to do, also called the “Deck of Cards Workout” or the “Cell Block Workout”- I’ve seen plenty of personal trainers and fitness sites recommend it. Yay bandwagon!
Here’s the Basics:
- Shuffle up the deck, including jokers.
- For each suit, pick an exercise. For example, Spades will be Squats.
- Draw up to four cards.
- The value of the card tells you how many reps to do- so the 5 of Spades means you do 5 Squats.
Face cards count as 10, and Aces are 11.
- When you come to a joker, pick an exercise and do 22 reps without stopping.
- Continue for the entire deck, or as far as you can go.
Honestly, that’s all there is to it! The beauty of this is that the cards really just act like a random number generator, changing up the exercise routine every time so you’ll never have the exact same workout twice. While the exercises I’ll go over down below are the “traditional” ones that Karl Gotch suggested, you can pick any four exercises you like- pick ones that focus on different muscle systems and do a rotation throughout the week!
Time To Sweat!
These squats are apparently also called “Hindu” Squats, but I can only guess that’s because of the motions semblance to yoga poses and moves.
Stand with your feet together, fists at your hips, with your core tensed, chest out, and head up. Keeping your weight back on your heels and flexing at the hips (NOT the back) drop yourself down smoothly, and swing your arms behind you. As you reach the bottom of your squat, sweep your arms forward and let your fingertips graze the floor. As you come back up, let your arms rise up in front of you, and then bring them back to your hips. Keep your head up and chest out the entire time.
#2. The Jump Squat
Very similar to the Squat, but this time jump slightly from your heels as you come up. Absorb the landing impact with your toes, and spring again slightly into another squat.
Both the Squat and Jump Squat obviously work out your legs wonderfully- the single largest muscle system in your body. By maintaining proper alignment and posture, however, the flexing motion also exercises your core (abdomen, sides, and lower back)
#3- Hindu/Divebomber Pushups
This one comes by its name a little more honestly, as the starting and ending postures are two poses from yoga- Downward Dog and Snake, apparently?
Besides being a somewhat smoother and more natural motion for a shoulder/arm workout than your regular push-ups, maintaining proper alignment and core tension makes this a great exercise for stretching out your lower back.
#4- The Twist/Half-Moon Pushup
Now this one is a little weird to describe in words, but it’s an excellent exercise particularly for your obliques- the muscle groups in your sides that let you twist and bend sideways.
Start in a typical push-up position, but this time inch your feet forward so that you are on your toes, but with your bottom in the air. Bend your knees, and twist your whole body to one side. This is the beginning position. Straighten your legs, but try to keep low and turn your body toward the other side- letting your legs move your body FORWARD rather than UP. As you turn your body, you chest should sweep a straight line between your hands, finishing on the opposite side. Bend your knees and bring your body back. Repeat.
There we go!
Those are the basic exercises that I first learned with Gotch’s Bible, a.k.a the Cell Block Workout, a.k.a. the Card Deck Workout.
Remember- a solid and regular workout routine is only one part of getting healthy and losing weight! A bigger part is eating well– and I spoke with a good friend of mine about that not too long ago.
So, what do you think? Is this workout worth a shot for you? What exercises would you use?
Let me know in the comments below!