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11 Easy & Effective Free Hand Exercises with Benefits, Tips, More

8 min read
11 Easy & Effective Free Hand Exercises with Benefits, Tips, More

In today's era, most people lead a sedentary life stuck to their screens. However, your body requires physical movements to stay fit and healthy. Free hand exercises are the best option if you have no time to visit a gym or invest in equipment. Read on to find out more about them.

What Is Free Hand Exercise?

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

2. Squats

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

3. Plank

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

7. Burpee

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

Also Read: How Many Skipping Per Day to Lose Weight?

9. Sprinting

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

11. Bridges

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:

  1. Free hand exercises are accessible and inexpensive for anyone, whereas you need to pay a certain amount to exercise in the gym.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Free hand exercises are functional movements and improve core strength. In gyms, you may get a variety of equipment to build muscles and strength.
  5. 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.