ONCE THE SEASON hits peak summer status, there are plenty of days you’ll look out the window or at the forecast and wish that you could skip out on your gym-bound workout to spend the time outside. Thankfully for those sunny days, most training can be adjusted fairly easily, even if you’re planning to leave your fitness gear at home. Bodyweight workouts at the park, pool, or beach are a great fit for summer.
That said, there are some splits that are easier to shift to your gear-free setting than others. Your leg days and upper body pushing sessions are fairly simple to translate to bodyweight-only movements—but once it comes time to train your back, you might struggle to get much going if you’re short a pullup bar. Don’t panic, though—there are options. Case in point: This deceptively effective bodyweight back exercise from trainer Faris Khan, C.S.C.S.‘s Summer Strength Challenge program for Men’s Health MVP.
The lying back press might not look like much, but if you’re giving it your all, you’ll get a wicked scapular squeeze. Even better, your core will get some attention too.
●Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your arms extended on either side of your torso. Squeeze your glutes and abs to create tension.
●Press your forearms and elbows into the floor to elevate your back. Keep your neck in a neutral position; you shouldn’t be straining up with your neck to raise up.
●Hold the elevated position for 2 to 3 seconds, keeping your upper back muscles and core engaged. Lower back down slowly.
●Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps.
For more innovative bodyweight workouts from Khan, check out the full Summer Strength Challenge program, available through Men’s Health MVP.
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
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