Categories
Strength Workouts

14 Bodyweight Core Exercises You Can Do From Home

Today we’re going to go over some core abdominal exercises you can do from home. Like the previous articles, we’re going to focus on bodyweight exercises that don’t need any equipment. Ab exercises are hard but easy to master. Like anything else in the gym, it takes practice and consistent intensity to get better at it. I recommend training abs at least 2 or 3 times a week. Depending on the intensity/adding weights to exercise, you need to give your abs time to recover before training them again, just as you would with any other muscle.

Disclaimer: doing ab exercises will not give you abs (shocker), abs are made in the kitchen! Ab workouts build the abs, diet reveals them!

Baseline Rules Before Starting

Before you begin on your new work-from-home exercise regimen, take these four pieces of advice to heart in order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout.

1. Form matters more than anything else. If you’re not performing the exercise well, there’s an increased risk of injury. For example, while doing bodyweight exercises like dips, push-ups, and pike push-ups, controlling the movement is very important. It’s not a priority to go as fast as possible. Remember, quality over quantity.

2. It’s ok to be a beginner. We all have to start somewhere. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t make it to 30 seconds on certain exercises, 20 is just fine. Now you have something to work towards.

3. Exercising is a never-ending process. There is no end, which means you will have a lifetime of accomplishments ahead of you.

4. Consistency is key. As long as you keep consistent, you will see progress. Not feeling sore does NOT mean you didn’t have a good workout. Don’t let it fool you.

1. Plank
3 sets, each for 60 seconds or more, depending on your level
FaZe Jasper

The plank is one of the most tried and true core exercises around. To complete this exercise, you’ll need to get on the floor. That will be the case for most of these core exercises. Get into a push-up position, but with your elbows on the ground. Make sure to keep your back straight and your core tight. It’s important to activate your abs throughout to ensure your back is not arching and to ensure that you’re getting the best activation. It would be best if you held it for as long as you can; start with 30 seconds and build up as you improve.

2. Spider Plank
3 sets, each for 30 seconds or more, depending on your level
FaZe Jasper

This is a variation on the traditional plank. Rather than the traditional push-up position, this variation requires you to pull one of your knees up close to your elbow as you hold the plank. This will also help target the obliques, so it’s a good plank to add to your core regimen. Like with the above plank, you can do this for time or reps.

3. Side Plank
3 sets, each for 30 seconds or more, depending on your level
FaZe Jasper

The side plank is a great variation of the traditional plank that’s a little more accessible than the spider variation. This version will really activate your obliques—if it’s your first time doing it, you’ll be burning tomorrow. This variation also requires a bit of balance, so you may have to work your way up to really extended holds. To complete this exercise, get in your traditional plank position, but then lean your weight onto one of your arms with your chest perpendicular to the floor. You can keep your other arm raised into the air to aid with balance. Do it as long as you can (you’ll figure out a good length you’re comfortable with), and then switch to the other side and repeat.

4. Mountain Climbers
3 sets, one minute each
FaZe Jasper

Now let’s get into some of the more dynamic exercises. You should get into a push-up position (on your hands this time, not your elbows), and then alternate pulling your knees up to your chest. Make sure you keep your hips down and your core activated throughout. You want to be pulling your legs up with your core, not just leg strength. Repeat the exercise in rhythm for a minute. Once you get better at the exercise, you can add tempo to make it harder.

5. V-Ups
FaZe Jasper

3 sets, 15-20 reps
FaZe Jasper

The V-Up is a slightly more advanced core exercise, and it really requires good form to avoid injury. To begin, lie down on your back facing the ceiling with your arms extended on the ground behind your head. Then, while keeping your core tight, raise your upper body off the ground while simultaneously lifting your straightened legs into the air. You’ll form a V-shape (hence the name), then slowly return to fully horizontal. Make sure to keep your back and legs straight throughout the exercise; it’ll be easier if you focus on activating your core throughout the entire rep. You can progress overtime by further straightening your legs.

6. Bicycle Crunches
3 sets, 20 reps each
FaZe Jasper

Bicycle crunches are a great variation of the traditional crunch, but the traditional crunch can be really strenuous on your back & neck. If your neck has ever hurt from crunches, then consider the bicycle crunch instead. For this, lie face up with your legs extended and your hands curled behind your head. Then, pull one of your knees up to your chest with the other leg extended (and held off the ground). Lift your upper body slightly off the ground, leaning towards the knee. Alternate and repeat.

7. Russian Twists
3 sets, 10 reps each side
FaZe Jasper

Another dynamic exercise, the Russian Twist is a great addition to your core regimen. To begin, get into the position that you would conclude a crunch in—knees bent with your feet off the ground (or gently on the ground if you’re having trouble with the balance) and your upper body tensed up off the ground. Maintain your V shape with your core tightened, and then use your abs to twist to the right, then the left, etc.

8. Toe Touches
3 sets, 20 reps
FaZe Jasper

Toe touches are a great crunch variation for the lower abs. To complete this exercise, lie on your back and lift your legs and upper body off of the ground, with arms and legs outstretched. Lift your upper back off the ground and pull your arms toward your toes, while lifting your legs up towards the ceiling. Your legs should be static and straight up while moving your upper body and arms towards and from the toes.

9. Heel Touches
3 sets, 10 each side
FaZe Jasper

Heel touches are a great exercise for activating your obliques. To perform this exercise, lie down with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Your arms should be at your side. With your shoulders lifted slightly off the ground, use your abs to rotate your right hand down towards your right foot and then back up. Alternate to your left hand and repeat.

10. Laying Leg Raise
3 sets, 15 reps
FaZe Jasper

This is another great exercise for your lower abs and for stretching your hip flexors. It’s also pretty simple, so this is a great one to incorporate into your routine if you’re just beginning to work your core. To complete, lie on your back with your legs extended and hands at your side (or you can put your hands underneath your lower back). Slowly lift your legs up towards the ceiling, maintaining a straight leg throughout with your thighs tight together. Go until you can’t go any higher (without bending your legs) and then slowly return. How high you can go will be determined by your hip flexibility, so the more you do this exercise, the easier it will become. Try to keep the tension in the abs by making sure to never touch the ground with your feet!

11. Static Leg Holds
3 sets to failure
FaZe Jasper

This is a static variation of the above leg raises. Follow the above instructions, but rather than repeating the motion, you should keep your legs in their lifted position with your core engaged. Hold for as long as you can and then repeat.

12. Laying Windshield Wipers
3 sets, 10 reps each side
FaZe Jasper

Windshield wipers are a little more complicated than the leg raises, but are foundationally pretty similar. To begin, lie on your back with your arms laid out diagonally towards your hips (for support). Lift your legs into the air; depending on your flexibility level, you can do it with either straight legs or bent at the knee. Engaging your abs, rotate your hips to one side, bringing your legs over. Alternate to the other side and repeat. Your feet should not touch the ground.

13. Side Plank Crunch
3 sets, 10 reps on each side
FaZe Jasper

If the side plank is just too easy, then you can make it more dynamic by doing a side plank crunch. To begin, get in your side plank position (explained above) with your right hand behind your head and the elbow bent. Then pull your right knee up towards your right elbow until they connect and return to the initial position. Make sure you’re engaging your core throughout the motion. Do a full set on one side, then switch to the other side, then rest.

14. Flutter Kicks
3 sets, 30 secs or more, depending on your level
FaZe Jasper

For this exercise, begin by laying down on your back with your legs extended up to a 45 degree angle off the ground. You should also lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly off the ground. With your core engaged, lower one of your legs below the other. Make sure to keep your toes pointed and legs totally straight. Then, begin to bring the lowered leg back up to its starting position while simultaneously lowering the other leg. Then just continue to repeat this alternation. Your toes never touch the ground. Try to increase the tempo to the exercise to make it harder and more dynamic!

Categories
Strength Workouts

The 13 Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises

As remote work remains the norm for many of us, exercising has been relocated to the home. With that in mind, I wanted to share some great bodyweight leg workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home, with nothing more than your body and some motivation. You should never underestimate the importance of your legs in cultivating overall strength. From squats to calf raises, here are the 13 best bodyweight leg exercises that you can do from home—or anywhere.

Baseline Rules Before Starting

Before you begin on your new work-from-home exercise regimen, take these four pieces of advice to heart, in order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout.

1. Form matters more than anything else. If you’re not performing the exercise well, there’s an increased risk of injury. For example, while doing bodyweight exercises like dips, push-ups, and pike push-ups, controlling the movement is very important. It’s not a priority to go as fast as possible. Remember, quality over quantity.

2. It’s ok to be a beginner. We all have to start somewhere. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t make it to 30 seconds on certain exercises, 20 is just fine. Now you have something to work towards.

3. Exercising is a never-ending process. There is no end, which means you will have a lifetime of accomplishments ahead of you.

4. Consistency is key. As long as you keep consistent, you will see progress. Not feeling sore does NOT mean you didn’t have a good workout. Don’t let it fool you.

1. Bodyweight Squats
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

For these traditional squats, you’ll want to keep your feet shoulder width apart with your toes slightly facing out. Make sure to keep a straight back and have your shoulders retracted. It’s a good idea to hold onto an item or extend your arms to maintain better balance. 

2. Bodyweight Pulse Squats

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

These are very similar to the above exercise, but with an additional pulse. To complete this exercise, slowly do the squat, but before you go back up to complete the squat, pulse back down momentarily. 

3. Bodyweight Jump Squats
FaZe Jasper
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

The description is in the name! These are similar to traditional bodyweight squats, but at the top of your squat you should maintain some explosive energy to jump up into the air. These hit all the same muscles as the traditional squat, but the dynamic addition can improve range of motion and overall athleticism. 

4. Assisted Pistol Squats

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

This version of the squat is great for making sure you execute the motion with proper form and perform a full rep of the motion. You’ll want to hold onto something sturdy, keep your core tight as you press through your heels down into the squat. This one will take some coordination, so make sure to really engage your core as you lower your body. 

5. Close Stance Squats
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

This variation is the same as the traditional squats above, but with one alteration. Rather than keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, for these, you should have a slightly narrower stance. These are more difficult and require more flexibility, making them a great variation to add to your regimen. 

6. Lunges
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

Lunges may seem straightforward, but we could all always use a refresher. Begin by keeping an upright position with your chest up. Take a big step forward and press back with the heels as you lower your knee. It should almost (emphasis on almost) touch the floor. Return to upright and alternate your feet. 

7. Reverse Lunge
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

The reverse lunge is similar to the above regular lunge, but this time you step backwards into the dip. You’ll begin the same with an upright position, making sure your chest is up. Then step backwards and lower your knee until it almost touches the floor. Return to upright and alternate feet. 

8. Jumping Lunges

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

Jumping lunges are certainly more difficult than the other iterations, but they include the explosive action of jumping, making them a great way to vary your leg workouts. You should get into a lunge position by following the steps above, and then jump and alternate your feet mid-air. It’s a more difficult exercise which will take some getting used to, but give it a try as it’s certainly a beneficial way to amp up your lunges. 

9. Bulgarian Split Squat
FaZe Jasper
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

This is another killer exercise. For the Bulgarian Split Squat, you’ll want to place one of your feet up on an elevated surface behind you (bench, chair, bed) and take a step forward with your other foot. Then, press through your heels and lower your body, maintaining an upright position. Return to standing and repeat. 

10. Glute Bridge
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

For this exercise, you’ll need to start by lying down on the floor, facing up. Place your heels firmly on the ground and then bring your hips up towards the ceiling while squeezing your glutes. Your heels should not rise from the ground. Lower your body back to the ground, then repeat. 

11. Hip Thrust

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

This exercise is pretty much the same as a glute bridge, but you’ll want to get your shoulders leaned on an elevated surface. Then lift your hips up towards the ceiling as done above. 

12. Calf Raise
FaZe Jasper
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

This is a classic for a good reason. Step up on a slightly elevated surface so that your heels hang off the back a bit.  Then, fully extend your calf muscle by stretching it (as you lower your weight) and squeeze your calves by standing back up on your toes.

13. Single Leg Stiff Leg Deadlift (assisted)
FaZe Jasper

Sets: 3 – 5

Reps: 10 – 15

For this exercise, you can begin by holding onto something—a pole, cabinet or anything sturdy in your house—to help with balance. Balance on one leg and then keep a slight bend in your knee as you bend at the hips and lower your upper body as far forward as possible. Use your other leg as a counterweight as you raise back up, making sure to keep your back flat. 

Categories
Sports Strength

6 Ways to Upgrade Your Holiday Sports Experience

This year more than ever, sports have acted as a much-needed form of escapism for enthusiasts nationwide. And with a wide array of events on the docket for the end of this month, it’s a good idea to plan ahead to ensure you catch every moment you’ve been anticipating. To make sure you create the best sports viewing set-up this holiday season, we compiled six tried-and-true ways to elevate your holiday sports experience.

1. Remember: Everything Tastes Better in Glass

There’s just something about a chilled glass bottle. Whether you’re drinking a beer, soda or seltzer, opt for the better choice of a glass bottle. It may not seem like much, but when you pop open a crispy one and settle in for kickoff, you’ll thank us. You can’t beat the effect of sipping from a chilly bottleneck, letting the beverage pique all of your senses as you relax on your couch.

2. Hit the Kitchen and Chef It Up

Although the temptation to order takeout is totally understandable, use this extended time at home as great opportunity to put your cooking skills to the test. I mean, you could order some wings, but wouldn’t it be more gratifying to do it all yourself? Regardless of your expertise, there’s no beating the satisfaction of something you made yourself.

3. Watch with Friends, Remotely

You may not be able to go to a friend’s house for the big games this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to watch alone. Using Zoom, FaceTime or any of the video conferencing services (Houseparty, anyone?), set up a call with your fellow sports fans so you can talk trash, mourn your team’s loss or celebrate their victory—all from the safety of your own pod. Social distancing can be isolating but there are ways to feel connected, especially on game day.

4. Ensure You Have the Best Setup

For this, you’ll have to plan in advance. With all the holiday deals going on, now’s as good a time as ever to cop a new viewing chair, TV or anything else you may need to optimize your viewing setup. This might look different for everyone. Maybe all you need to create the perfect viewing experience is a cozy blanket. Whatever your preference may be, make sure you spend a little time getting your home viewing layout positively perfect for the lengthy viewing sessions ahead.

5. Plan Your Schedule

From the NFL to the NBA, there are a lot of games on your agenda for the holiday season. If you’re a die-hard fan who wants to see everything on your docket, it’s a good idea to build out a schedule ahead of time to make sure you don’t miss a beat. You’ll have to make some tough decisions—prioritizing certain games over others—but you can always call an audible on the day of. Regardless, make sure you have an idea of what channels your TV will be tuned to and when so you can catch every second of the action.

6. Practice Gratitude

This one is easily overlooked. 2020 has been a tumultuous year, unlike anything we’ve seen before. However, from the UFC to the NBA Bubble, sports have been a pseudo return to normalcy through it all. It may seem obvious, but remember to be grateful for the opportunities we have to live life how we used to. Even something as simple as flipping on the TV to watch the “Greek Freak” dunk from the free-throw line can provide an immense amount of comfort. 

Categories
Culture News

Go ‘Down the Hatch’ with Barry Flavors and 6 Types of Yogurt

It’s Flavors Friday and Barry’s still home, so you know what that means. That’s right folks, it’s another Work From Home edition of Down the Hatch, with Barry taking on some more snacks accessible from home. This week, yogurt is on the tasting table, with the king of flavor trying six different varieties, ranging from deluxe options like Noosa to candy-yogurt duos like YoCrunch.

The first item on the tasting table is Siggi’s Key Lime flavor, which is a variety of Icelandic yogurt. Barry isn’t crazy about Key Lime, but he’s a good sport for the show and sends the tart treat down the hatch. He follows the sour Icelandic yogurt with something a little more straightforward: Noosa’s Vanilla Bean yogurt. On Noosa, Barry says, “This is the fucking Cadillac of yogurts.”

The Cadillac of yogurts is quickly followed by Brown Cow’s coffee-flavored yogurt. This is the least thick of the bunch, fortifying the fact that yogurts come in all shapes and sizes. Barry gets a little off track here, noting: “I don’t really think there’s anything that funny about yogurt actually. Why are we even doing this episode?” He pauses and then adds, “Because there’s nothing else to do,” before laughing.

Next on the table is a classic, Fage’s honey greek yogurt. The honey comes in its own little attached cup, allowing the yogurt-user to choose their own flavor adventure. Barry loves Fage’s choice of honey, invoking David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play (and movie) Glengarry Glen Ross: “That’s the Glengarry of honeys.”

He follows the Greek yogurt with a french yogurt, Yoplait’s Oui blueberry-flavored edition. This option comes in a convenient glass jar, ready to reuse for whatever your heart desires. He fires the Oui down the hatch before moving onto the final yogurt, YoCrunch Strawberry Yogurt with M&Ms. This is the most dessert-centric yogurt on the tasting table, and Barry is sure to note some of the product’s more cryptic ingredients.

If you loved this episode and want to watch Barry try some more treats from home, check out last week’s episode, when he took on a slew of breakfast cereals. 

Categories
Culture News

Go ‘Down the Hatch’ with Barry Flavors and Breakfast Cereal

It’s Flavors Friday, and that means Barry’s back with another Work From Home edition of Down the Hatch. In this week’s episode, Barry takes on one of the most classic breakfast foods of all: Cereal. From Lucky Charms to Fruity Pebbles, all of the iconic varieties are up on the tasting table before they inevitably go “down the hatch.”

Barry makes his overall take on cereal pretty clear early in the episode: “Cereal is for children.” Nevertheless, he gives each sugary morsel its time to shine on the tasting table. First up is Lucky Charms, arguably one of the sweetest cereals of them all. A couple of charms and a few ounces of milk later, Barry moves on to an all-time favorite, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

Next up on the table is a two-part tasting. He dives into a bowl of Fruity Pebbles before filling up a second bowl with Cocoa Pebbles. Which Flintstones cereal is better is a much contested question, and Barry serves up his take. Once the Pebbles have gone down the hatch, Barry moves on to another classic, Frosted Flakes. “Doesn’t really get more classic than that,” he says, before putting the sugary corn flakes to the test. 

He closes the episode with another favorite, Kellogg’s Corn Pops. A lot of this episode is spent discussing each cereal’s classic TV commercial, and Pops is no exception. Mr. Flavors quotes the famous 80s commercial (“Gotta have my pops!”) before feasting on the popped-up corn cereal. 


If you loved this episode and want to see Barry try more classic treats (from the comfort of home), make sure to check out last week’s episode when he took on classic candies.

Categories
Culture News

Go ‘Down the Hatch’ with Barry Flavors and Dips Galore

It’s Flavors Friday, and that means it’s time for another episode of Down the Hatch. This week’s episode is a special “Work From Home” edition, featuring Mr. Flavors in his apartment taking on an assortment of dips. Despite the change of scenery, it’s a classic episode. Barry tastes, jokes, rates and, of course, sends a few tasty snacks “Down the Hatch.”

There are five dips up on the tasting table in this week’s episode and all of the options are available on Amazon! So you can have a little Down the Hatch recreation of your very own. Barry commences his review session with a classic Onion & Herb dip, before moving on to something a little more indulgent: ButterMilk Ranch. 

He follows with a dip reminiscent of one of last week’s items: Pimento Cheese. Last week featured Bobwhite Counter’s famous pimento mac and cheese, so the stakes are high. The king of flavor follows up with a Red Pepper Dip, before closing the episode with a veggie dip (it’s for your veggies, not made of veggies), which is humorously titled, “Dip Shit.”


If you loved this episode and want to watch Barry take on more exciting snacks, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when the king of flavor put Bobwhite Counter to the test.