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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

3Hip Raisers

Start position: Sit on the ground with your knees bent in front of you and your feet flat on the ground. Place your palms flat on the ground underneath your shoulders, with your fingers pointing towards your feet.

Movement: Raise your pelvis until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle above your feet. Squeeze your glutes at the top, forming a bridge.

Perform: 10 repetitions

Exercise variations:
To make this exercise harder, keep one leg off the ground throughout the movement, as in the photo.

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

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