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Men's Health

Beat the Dad bod without using weights

The gyms are closed, the couch has been calling you and gradually your exercise routine has gone out the window. While you may not be fortunate enough to have a home gym – or plenty of weights at your disposal – it doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.

Shifting a few extra pounds is sweaty work, we’re not going to lie! But what better way to rid that extra fat than with your own bodyweight?

From Dad-bod to “dat-bod” at home without weights

Getting your body into shape isn’t necessarily about looks or ego (although taking pride in your appearance isn’t a bad thing!). Instead, shifting those extra pounds can give you more vitality, energy, productivity and the ability to move and chase around after your kids. All while avoiding injury! Focusing on your fitness and being mindful of your health is a great role model attitude to have as a father.

Try this 3-day split weight-free workout for that Dad-bod transformation

For any guy looking to transform their Dad bod and get recognisable results, it’s not about training all through the night, it’s about training smarter. This three-day workout split will give you a full body workout, with no need for the gym or weights.

Monday: Upper body

High plank: Repeat 3 times

Starting position:

Start on all fours, with your hands shoulder-width apart directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your elbows slightly bent to avoid your arms locking.

How to do it:

Extend your legs out, resting the balls of your feet against the floor. Keep your body diagonal to the floor, keep your core engaged and maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. Try to avoid letting your lower back from lifting too high or sagging down. Hold for a minute or for as long as you can!

Bridge: Repeat 3 times

Starting position:

Get down on the ground and lay on your back with your head laying flat. Keep your knees bent, so your heels are sat directly underneath your knees. Arms at the sides with palms downward.

How to do it:

Keep your pelvis tucked under, ensuring your lower back stays flat. Pull your shoulder blades in and down, while raising your hips upward until fully extended. Hold for 10 seconds while keeping your glutes tightly squeezed, then lower – ideally without touching the floor – then repeat.

Superman: Repeat 3 times

Starting position:

Lay on the floor, on your stomach with your arms extended and palms flat on the ground.

How to do it:

Raise your upper body and then your legs an arch, allowing the middle part of your body to remain on the floor. Keep your chest and knees off the ground and your head/neck in a neutral position. Don’t overextend your neck, and keep your chin tucked. As you extend your arms, bend your arms slightly if you prefer.

Change the level of tension by slightly raising your upper body/legs simultaneously.

Bird dog exercise: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Start on all fours in the tabletop position. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart, underneath your shoulders. Align your knees with your hips and maintain a neutral spine by engaging your abdominal muscles.

How to do it:

Draw your shoulder blades together and raise your right arm and your left leg, while keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Hold this movement for 3 to 10 seconds and lower back. Repeat!

Push-up: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Get down on all fours, placing your hands at shoulder width. Keep your elbows bent slightly to prevent your arms from locking and extend your legs. Allow your legs to be propped up on the balls of your feet. Keep your core engage and a straight line across your body from head to your toes.

How to do it:

Ensure you lower your upper body and hips simultaneously, maintaining that straight line across your back. Your core needs to be engaged throughout and your elbows tucked close to you. Be sure to inhale as you lower and exhale as you push your weight up!

Tricep dip: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Place your hands behind you on a sturdy surface – the bottom of your stairs is great for this. Keep your feet together and flat on the floor, with a bend in your knees.

How to do it:

Once you’re in position, start by bending your elbows. Dip your body down until your arms reach a 90-degree angle, pause for a count or two and press up strongly. Keep your core and glutes engaged and tight to prevent your legs moving. When you push back up, stop your arms from lockin – keeping that slight bend works the triceps harder!

Wednesday: Lower body

Calf raises: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Stand up straight, keeping your core engaged and your back flat. You can either keep your hands by your sides, out in front of you, or use a wall for balance.

How to do it:

Press your weight up onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels and stretching your calves. As you raise your body upwards, push down on your thighs for extra resistance. Hold the movement for a second or two, continuing the push and slower lower.

Bodyweight squat: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Start by standing with your feet a little wider than your hips, turning your toes outward slightly to maintain balance. Keep that core engaged.

How to do it:

As you inhale, start the movement by hinging at the hips. Bend your knees to lower yourself into a squat position. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Your heels will lift off the floor slightly, while you flex your torso forward. Exhale and press your weight down into the mid-foot to straight and raise your hips and torso simultaneously.

Bodyweight lunges: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.

How to do it:

As you step forward with your right leg, allow your left leg to bend and your knee touch the floor. Push your weight through your right foot and extend the knee as you return to the starting position. Resist the urge to drive the movement via your shoulders by hyperextending at your spine – instead, drive the power through your lower body.

Lying L Sit: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

 

Starting position:

Lay down on the floor on you back. Bend your knees and shuffle your feet up close to your butt. Keep your arms extended at your sides with your palms facing down. To keep your lower back flat to the floor, tuck your tailbone under slightly. Take a deep breath and keep that core engaged!

How to do it:

Extend your legs overhead, pulling your toes back towards your head. Feel that stretch in your hamstrings! Continue the stretch for around 30 seconds. Make sure your lower back doesn’t break off the floor.

Day 3: Core

Bodyweight sit-up: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Sit on the floor, bend your knees and tuck your feet under something secure or heavy – such as your couch or a step.

How to do it:

Keep your hands either behind your head or on your chest. Slowly bring your body up and hold for a moment – return and repeat. Imagine each vertebra folding as you raise your body up. Keep those abs working, try to avoid bouncing your body back up with your shoulders.

To make these feel a little more challenging, try sit-ups that are slow and controlled. Count from 5-10 seconds on the way up, and repeat on the way down.

Plank: Repeat 3 times

Starting position:

Lay on your front with your elbows beneath your shoulders, keeping your hands flat. Get that core engaged!

How to do it:

Keep your forearms and knees on the floor, before slowly raising yourself upwards. Your body should keep a straight line between your feet and head. Hold this position and feel that burn! Hold for 60 seconds, or longer if you can. Repeat.

Reverse crunch: Repeat 6-8 times for 3 sets

Starting position:

Lay down flat on your back with your legs extended. Keep your arms by your sides, palms down. Move your legs up, keeping your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Feet together.

How to do it:

Breathe in as you pull your knees towards your chest. Roll your pelvis backwards and raise your hips and upper back from the floor. Hold for 1-2 seconds, exhale and return to starting position. Then repeat!

What’s the perfect resting time between sets?

The time you rest is up to you, but I’d suggest 1 minute.

Why are rest days between bodyweight workouts important?

Bodyweight workouts might not seem as strenuous as lifting heavy weights in the gym, but your body still needs to rest, repair and build muscle.

How long should I do this workout program?

You can use this program for as long as you like! Try at least four weeks to get the most out of it.

What if my bodyweight isn’t enough to make the workout tough?

If you feel as though your bodyweight isn’t enough, try adding a weighted vest to your workout. If you don’t have one, no problem, simply fill a backpack with bottles of water or other heavy items!

Can bodyweight exercises alone get you ripped?

Bodyweight exercises can help you transform your Dad bod and get ripped if you add variations into your program. Try increasing the reps, decreasing downtime, perform variations of the exercises themselves and increase time under tension.