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Illustrated bodyweight exercises: Fast, effective fitness

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

You are your own gym

Mark Lauren, author of You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercise for Men and Women (Ballantine, 2011), doesn’t train movie stars. The certified Military Physical Training Specialist and Special Operations combat controller trains those who defend our country, whose lives depend on being fit. Now, for the first time, Lauren makes U.S. Special Ops fitness exercises available to fit anyone’s schedule, wallet and fitness level. Here’s what Lauren says about the benefits of bodyweight exercises, along with a five-exercise workout to kick your butt into shape – without fitness equipment, using only your own bodyweight.

You are your own gym

2Tricep Leg Lift

Start position: Get into push-up position. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest is just a few inches off the ground.

Movement: Keeping your legs straight, raise one leg until you get a good contraction in the glutes. Lower the elevated leg and repeat with the other leg. Return to start position. Alternate legs with each rep.

Perform: 10 repetitions

Exercise variations:
This exercise can be made easier by elevating the hands and harder by elevating the legs.

Up next: More exercises for a full-body workout >>

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