If you’re looking to get in shape and lose weight, you’ve probably tried every kind of workout under the sun. But do you remember your last hand workout?
Hand exercises are a great way to burn calories without even realizing it. When you’re doing hand exercises, you’re not just working out your arms—you’re also working out your core and legs. Plus, they’re fun! In this post, we’ll show you how to do some simple exercises that will help you get rid of those extra pounds and feel great about yourself.
Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on freehand shoulder exercises to build broader muscles, best strength training exercises for beginners, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
Free Hand Workout For Weight Loss
Free hand exercises are those exercises that are done without the help of any special equipment. These are also known as callisthenics. You perform these exercises without equipment and fuss, only using your bare hands. While doing free hand exercises, you rely on your body weight. These exercises are effective to strengthen and tone your muscles and internal organs, relieving stiffness and pain through hand movements.
Free Hand Exercises
There are multiple free hand exercises for weight loss and muscle toning that you can perform at home, such as:
1. Push ups
This exercise builds the upper body and strengthens your core, including the chest and spinal cord. Push ups are a great free hand exercise for the chest. It’s good for the triceps, back and shoulders. It also helps in improving and enhancing the blood flow in your body.
Instructions to Perform:
- Come into the plank position and put your hands on the floor at shoulder-width distance.
- Straighten your back and tighten your core
- Lower your body by bending your elbows in an outward position
- Your back should not be arched, and avoid touching your knees to the floor
- Push against the floor and bring your body up
- Repeat 10-20 times
- As a beginner, you can perform push ups with the support of the wall
It makes your glutes strong and burns side and thigh fat.
Instructions to Perform:
- Stand straight and keep your feet flat on the floor 12-15 inches apart
- Bend your knees and sit as if you’re sitting on a chair
- Keep your thighs parallel to the floor, and don’t extend your knees beyond your feet.
- Put your body weight on your feet entirely
- Begin with 10 squats. You can then go through 3 sets of 10 squats each. Gradually increase the number
It’s an abdominal and core exercise, also known as Hover exercise or Front Plank. Planks make your core strong and stable.
Instructions to Perform:
- Come into the ‘cat’ posture by getting on your knees with your forearms on the floor
- Tuck in your toes and get on the balls of your feet
- Then pull up your body weight
- Relax your head and glance at the ground
- Draw your navel towards the spine, and keep your torso straight and rigid
- Keep your body in a straight line. Don’t bend or sag
- Keep breathing and hold this position as far as you can
- You may start with holding the position for 10 seconds. With time, increase this duration
4. Ab Crunches
It tones up your stomach and strengthens it.
Instructions to perform:
- Lie on the mat with your back against the ground
- Bend your knees without removing your feet off the ground
- Keep your hands behind your head to avoid tension on the head and neck
- Make sure to keep your elbows to the side and a little inward
- Pull in your chin
- Breathe out while moving up your neck, upper back and head off the mat
- Ensure that your neck and shoulder are in the correct posture to avoid pain
- Breath out and release the position
- Begin with at least 10 repetitions
5. Side Bends
It balances your entire body and strengthens and brings flexibility to your spine.
Instructions to perform:
- Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart, and look forward
- Keep your hands behind your head
- Bend to your left while maintaining the straight back
- Repeat this on your right side
- Perform 10 repetitions on each side
6. Leg Lifts or Leg Raises
This exercise helps build the core and calf muscles.
Instructions to perform:
- Lie down flat on your back on the mat with legs stretched out straight
- Inhale slowly
- Slowly exhale while lifting your legs high up to make 90 degrees angle
- Gently bring your legs down and repeat
- Do this exercise 20 times, and gradually increase the count
- You may also do this exercise by alternatively lifting your leg
- Ensure to keep your back flat on the floor to avoid back pain
It is a full-body exercise that is used in strength training. It not only helps in muscle toning but also aids in weight loss.
Instructions to perform:
- Come into a squat position
- Place your hand on the floor in front, and with all your weight on your hands, kick your feet back and come into the push up position
- Perform a frog kick by jumping back at the starting position
- Stand straight and bring up your arms above your head
- Jump quickly into the air and land back where you started
- As soon as you land, get into a squat position and do another repetition
- Do at least 10 repetitions of burpees for effective results
8. Freehand Skipping
It’s the easiest cardio exercise to get the heart rate up.
Instructions to Perform:
- Stand straight and keep your hands in a position as if you are holding a skipping rope
- Start skipping with your imaginary skipping rope
- Start skipping for 30 seconds and gradually increase the time
It’s a high-intensity exercise involving short bursts of energy that targets your hamstrings.
Instructions to perform:
- Position yourself in a standing position
- Inhale and exhale
- Simply start running as fast as you can for a short distance
- You may begin this by running for 20 to 30 seconds at your highest speed
- Increase your speed with time
10. Calf Raises
In this exercise, your body weight is used to strengthen and tone the gastrocnemius and soleus.
Instructions to Perform:
- Stand near a wall to balance yourself
- Keep your feet hip-width apart
- Raise your heels together and slowly bring them down
- Repeat 15-20 times
- Ensure to keep your ankles, knees and hips in a vertical alignment to protect your joints
This helps strengthen the gluteal and abdominal muscles, which relieves excessive tension in your lower back.
Instructions to Perform:
- Lie flat on your back
- Bend your knees without your feet leaving the floor
- Keep your hands on your sides
- Your palms should be facing the floor
- Now, lift your hips by engaging the core and buttocks muscles
- Your buttocks and lower back should be in the air
- Stay in this posture for 5-10 seconds and lower yourself
- Repeat at least 10 times
Free Hand Exercise Benefits
Here are some benefits of free hand exercises:
1. Aid in Weight loss
Free hand exercise is a great way to shed extra flab. They reduce fat and prevent obesity. Such exercises help in weight loss and result in leaner muscle mass. A combination of free hand exercises may help in raising HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol).
2. Maintain Your Heart Health
Exercising daily minimizes the risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, etc. It improves blood flow that results in lowered blood pressure and improved heart rate.
3. Balance Sugar Levels
It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by maintaining the sugar level in your body. If a person already has diabetes, freehand exercises help control their blood glucose.
4. Build Musculoskeletal Health
Free hand exercises also involve stretching your body and muscles. This increases your flexibility. They manage cramps, joint pain and other muscular problems. These exercises also help in maintaining stability and preventing falls that can cause injuries.
5. Reduce Stress and Tension
Such exercises increase the quantity of norepinephrine (a chemical that moderates the brain’s response to stress and stressful situations) in your body. They boost your ability and strength to deal with any existing mental tension and also prevent depression.
6. Improve Memory
Free hand exercises improve your memory and thinking. They increase the production of cells in the hippocampus (the elongated ridges on the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain), which is responsible for memory, emotion and learning.
7. Increase Your Productivity
Exercising regularly gives you more energy and prevents fatigue and tiredness. It delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. It keeps the momentum of your body going and improves workplace productivity greatly. It also keeps you alert while you do your daily chores.
8. Works as a Mood Booster
These physical activities stimulate chemicals, such as serotonin, stress hormones and endorphins, in your brain and make you happier and calm. Free hand exercising daily helps you sleep better. Good sleep improves your mood by relieving stress.
9. Strengthen the Immune System
Free hand exercises enhance the immune system functioning in your body, thereby helping your antibodies and white blood cells fight any bacterial infections. It improves your body’s overall disease-fighting mechanism.
10. Improve Self-Confidence
They improve your sense of control, coping ability and self-esteem. This leads to improved self-confidence, boosting your outlook, body posture and overall personality.
Disadvantages of Free Hand Exercise
There are very few disadvantages of free hand exercises:
1. Over-exercising May Lead to Injuries or Diseases
Carelessly doing free hand exercises, overdoing them or neglecting to rest at regular intervals may leave you injured, feeling weak, tired and dehydrated.
Overexercising can also cause health issues like:
- Heart problems, osteoporosis and arthritis
- Problems in conceiving or menstrual cycle dysfunction in women.
2. Limited to Meet Certain Specific Needs
Free hand exercises are performed without any equipment or machines. So you might not get a muscle build like a bodybuilder by doing them.
Is Free Hand Exercise Better Than Gym?
Every style of exercise has its pros and cons. No style or type is better. It depends on the body type of the individual, their preference and response to the training method. Below are a few points in comparison between the gym and free hand exercises:
- Free hand exercises are accessible and inexpensive for anyone, whereas you need to pay a certain amount to exercise in the gym.
- You can perform your combination of free hand exercises anywhere. On the other hand, for doing gym exercises that involve equipment, you need to go to the gym.
- There are fewer chances of injury with free hand exercises, but while doing exercises on machines, you’re more exposed to the risk of getting injured.
- Free hand exercises are functional movements and improve core strength. In gyms, you may get a variety of equipment to build muscles and strength.
- You may increase your strength with free hand exercises, but high-speed weight training for power is nearly impossible to do without a machine. Gyms provide such machines to you.
Is Push Up a Free Hand Exercise?
Yes, push ups are free hand exercises. It’s the most effective exercise to build up your chest and arms. In the beginning, you may try doing push ups against the wall, as it is a bit difficult to raise and lower your whole body using only the arms from the start.
Summing Up On Free Hand Exercise
Free hand exercises are performed with bare hands and without any equipment. So, there are no excuses for you to skip your exercise routine! However, while doing these exercises, keep in mind the following points:
- Be aware of your posture.
- Stay active.
- Wear comfortable clothes and low-heeled shoes with arch support to avoid injury.
- Perform some stretching exercises.
- Have a nutritious diet, as exercise alone is not sufficient for a healthy body. A balanced diet is required.
Free hand exercises for beginners may cause muscle pain. If the pain persists for a longer duration or you see any redness or inflammation on your joints, contact your health expert.
Except for some minor issues, hand exercises are risk-free, affordable and the easiest workout routine that everyone should do regularly to stay fit.
Freehand Shoulder Exercises To Build Broader Muscles
Shoulders are one of the primary areas of muscle gain in the bulking up process. Once the shoulder muscles have widened, it automatically increases space for the chest and wings to broaden. Freehand shoulder exercises, sans the weights or dumbbells, aid in bulking as the weight lifted is more often than not, your entire body weight. While the stock/popularity of freehand exercises shot up during the lockdown, if you wish to continue the process – or are a newbie with delayed motivation, here are a set of exercises that will go a long way.
7 freehand shoulder exercises to get bulkier shoulders in quick time
1. Plank toe touch
From the plank position – one hand at a time – try and touch your toe by bringing it forward. You could do a cross (right hand, left toe) or straight touch (right hand, right toe). Make sure the toe does not come beyond your thighs, or hips if you are a beginner.
2. Forward lean push-up
For this variant of freehand shoulder exercise, start with the regular push-up. Now move your palms back to create a V-shape with your body. Lean forward and try to touch the ground with your nose, as far as you can, now back to the V position. Try to get 20-30 repetitions on this one. Also, this is a great way to kick start the shoulder workout and heat up the muscles.
3. Plank hand raise – forward and lateral
From the plank position – one hand at a time – try and reach as far straight as you can, and then back to the plank position. Now, stretch the same hand sideways, as far as possible. Repeat for the other hand.
4. Wide-grip pull ups
Along with being a recommended workout for the wings, wide-grip pull ups are effective in strengthening shoulders too. However, reduce the space between your arms, having your planks in-line with your shoulders – or slightly wider – is the ideal position. While pulling up, try to focus on your shoulder muscles and use them to maneuver the body upwards.
5. Hand-stand push ups
The toughest variant of freehand shoulder exercises, hand-stand push-ups will need you to be in a head-down position from the wall. Lean against a wall and try to rest your toes against it in a downward position. It is ideal to get help for this routine in the early stages. With palms placed on the floor, move your head downwards and bring it back up.
Along with pressurising the muscles with these complex weight-lifting movements, stretching and extending them is equally important. Hence, the next two simpler versions should help you out.
6. Arm Circles – forward and backward
One of the best ways to warm up the shoulders, 30 arm circles forward and 30 arms circles backward should get you in the groove for a nasty workout.
7. Upward stretch
While this should be part of your static stretching routine post your workout, it can be done after the plank hand raise too. If you are continuing the plank, hand raise for a couple of sets, back-to-back, an upward stretch can help in adding the much-needed extension.
Best Strength Training Exercises for Beginners
Strength training can be intimidating for beginners, but the benefits can’t be beaten: more muscle, higher calorie burn, stronger bones and joints, better endurance, and reduced risk of injury during another workout.
Remember to pair strength workouts with cardio as you plan your exercise routine, and try these tips and top-tier strength training exercises for beginners when you’re ready to kick-start your journey to being stronger.
Start with body weight to learn basic movement patterns.
Personal trainer Annie Brees says bodyweight exercises are a great place to start if you’re new to strength training.
Pro Tip: Do yourself a favor and get these bands. It’ll be a game changer.
“Mastering the various movement patterns before you add an additional load, like dumbbells, should always be a top priority, as it helps decrease your risk of injury and will help you lift more weight down the road,” she explains.
“There are five basic moves: squat, hinge, push, pull, and core work. There are many variations of each of those movements, but for beginners, I tend to gravitate toward a bodyweight squat, glute bridges, push-ups (on an incline if needed), inverted rows, and planks.”
Jeffrey Siegel, a personal trainer based in Boston, breaks it down a bit further. He says there are five primary maneuvers, in addition to movements, such as throwing, crawling, and climbing:
- Hip-dominant (deadlifts, hinges, and swings)
- Knee-dominant (squats and lunges)
- Pushing movements (pushups, dips, and presses)
- Pulling movements (rows and pull-ups)
- Gait patterns, such as walking and running
“Body weight allows you to focus on form first, so you can set yourself up with a solid, safe foundation and address any muscle imbalances,” says a top trainer at Drive Train Hustle. “A lot of clients want to jump right into advanced tactics, but it’s better to start small and build off that momentum than to be out of the gym for a few weeks with a nagging injury.”
“We all have imbalances and weakness that prevent us from moving optimally,” Siegel says. These bands will help with that as well.
“It is important to address these before adding a significant external load to your workouts or else you’ll just be layering strength on top of dysfunction. Working with a trained professional who can take you through some basic assessments will help you determine what muscles might be over/underactive and how to begin correcting these issues.”
Building a certain type of strength may also serve as an asset to your regular physical activity. “If your chosen sport or activity demands a particular strength, then work backward from the desired movement patterns you’ll be using,” Siegel suggests.
“If you’re an avid hiker, then exercises like step-ups or lunges with added weight can be a great way to develop single-leg stepping strength.”
Then, prioritize five key strength training exercises for beginners.
After you’ve built up strength using the power of your own body weight, move on to these five strength training exercises for beginners that work your entire body, with room for modifications or levels of intensity.
Our experts agree: Squats are the best strength training exercises for beginners in terms of bang for your buck.
“Squats not only work your legs but your core and upper body, too,” says personal trainer Jillian Bullock.
“Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips, feet facing forward. Look straight ahead with your arms out in front of your body. With chest out, shoulders back, and abs tight, slowly lower your butt down as far as you can. Make sure your knees do not push forward past your toes. Weight should be in your heels, not your toes. Return to starting position, without rounding your back as you stand, and complete 15-20 reps.”
To amp things up, add a dumbbell at each side or heart center for more resistance. You can also use a stability ball to test your form and stability, experiment with sumo squats, or incorporate lunges.
Luckily, there are a million push-up variations to meet any beginner at their comfort level.
Bullock says to start in a plank position with arms extended, and then lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Keep your body in a straight line, with elbows close to your sides, and then push yourself back up. Strive for as many reps as possible.
Planks: Some of us love to hate them, but they accelerate strength throughout your body whether you do them from your hands, sides, or forearms. Place your body in a pushup position, arms shoulder-width distance apart.
Hug your belly toward your spine to engage your core, so it doesn’t drop down or stick up in the air. Stack shoulders over wrists and heels over ankles. Hold for 30 seconds, working up to a few minutes over time.
This move is preferred by trainer Natalie Carey, who says, “If you can’t hold a plank for one minute, your body will have a lot of trouble properly completing any other exercises. Master this move, and you’ll have a strong, stable core that will keep you injury-free and ready for more challenging exercises.”
Deadlifts, either single-leg or from a standing position, help keep your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back happy, Carey says. They also allow you to increase strength for heavier lower-body lifts down the road.
“Almost everyone sits at a desk for their job, and our back muscles weaken as we hunch over our computers,” Carey says. “A row of some sort—cable row, body weight, bent over—will give you better posture and prevent upper back and shoulder tightness in the long run.”
Want to see results? Try to hit every major muscle group at least once a week and set reasonable goals.
“General guidelines suggest adults should strength train two times a week at a moderate to high intensity for health benefits,” Brees says. “But when it comes to a good lifting program, something is usually better than nothing.
As a trainer, I see individuals online and in person fall into the harmful mindset of, ‘If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all,’ and that keeps them from doing anything! Although strength gains may take longer to achieve, they can still be made lifting even one day a week.”
Carey recommends setting small goals to focus on consistent progress and checking in with yourself every couple weeks. If you’re able to do more reps or lift more weight, you know you’re stronger and ready to switch it up.
Siegel also likes to remind people to find their “why” in light of all other elements related to physical fitness.
“Ask yourself: What do you want to be doing three months from now? Is that realistic? How much time are you willing to commit to strength training? What obstacles do you see getting in the way? What structures and supports will help you stay on track? How will you respond if you’re not making the progress you want? Answer these questions first before getting into the nitty-gritty of setting specific movement or weight goals,” he says.
“Strength is important, but it is only one component. Don’t forget to also think about your cardiovascular endurance, flexibility with a good stretch, power, speed, coordination, agility, and balance.” Protein and supplementation are important too!