Gymless Workout

Questions about the Gymless Workout

My name is Jason Cameron, CPT. I have been a personal trainer, specializing in Strength & Conditioning for 16 years.  I have worked with everyone from beginners to advanced and collegiate level athletes.  For the last six years I have worked as a fitness model, consultant and spokesperson for Men’s Fitness & Men’s Health Magazines.  I was a Fitness Model and Consultant for the Men’s Health book “Home Workout Bible”.  I am currently the Fitness Representative for the Men’s Fitness/Ford “Get Fit Tour“.
1.  Can you do an effective lower body workout without gym equipment?

Yes, most definitely!  In fact, a lot of my personal as well as client’s lower body routines use only body weight.  Depending on the exercise, I will occasionally incorporate Resistance Bands and an Exercise Ball.  I like to encourage fitness enthusiasts to occasionally steer clear of the weight room in favor of more sport specific exercises such as Sprints, Split Squat Jumps and Walking Lunges, just to name a few.  The key to a successful Lower Body Routine is Variety.  You most always strive to challenge yourself and the more varied your routine is, the easier this becomes.  Remember, your muscles will in time adapt to every exercise you do, when this occurs that exercise fails to have the same impact.  

2.  What are the benefits of Squats and Lunges?

A major advantage to performing Squats and Lunges is that they engage all of the major muscles of the lower body and to a certain extent the muscles of the torso.  Performing a proper squat or lunge teaches you how to properly engage your abdominal muscles for support.   In addition to the muscles being worked, these exercises put your body in an unbalanced state, which is more beneficial to your overall conditioning.  Machines like the Smith Machine force your body to move in a pre-determiner path, straight up and down, with no lateral or back and forth movement.  By forcing your muscles to adapt to moving through an exercise like a squat, you unknowingly work all the small supporting muscles of the ankle, knee and hip joints.

3.  What are the benefits of using the stairs for cardio?

Using the stairs for your cardio is a great way to mix it up!  Compared to walking or running, stair climbing is unique, and in some respects superior, because it forces the muscles of the lower body to work harder.  When you climb or run steps you force your leg muscles (quads, hams, and glutes) to lift your body weight, which creates greater stimuli and forces a greater contraction.  Walking or running (especially on flat terrain) has less effect on the lower body muscles because the momentum of your stride does not create the stimuli needed to effectively work the muscles.  So running or climbing stairs gives you the best of both worlds, a great aerobic and anaerobic workout.

4.  What are the benefits of interval training while doing a lower body strength workout?

A great way to take you out of your norm and challenge yourself is with Interval training.  Interval exercises involve short bursts of intense exercise (all out effort) followed by a period of low intense exercise.  If you’re not use to this type of training, ease into it because it can kick your butt.

The major benefits of this type of training are:
  • Your workout is quicker and more intense.
  • You work through a fuller range of your Target Heart Rate.
  • Your body uses all three energy systems during Interval Training, ATP and Lactic Acid (anaerobic) and oxygen (aerobic).

Get use to keeping track of your Heart Rate.  You should know your Resting Heart Rate (RHR), & your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR).  The best time to check your RHR is right after you wake up. Your MHR is 220 - your age.  Your goal is to work within your Target Heart Rate (THR) which would typically be 60 - 80% of your MHR depending on your fitness level.  During Interval training you will hit the higher range of your THR during your sprints and the lower range during your recovery.  The point is, use your heart rate as a tool to keep track of your progress.