Best Bodyweight Exercise Workouts
Bodyweight exercises are a very effective way of improving strength and fitness. It is possible to put your body through an intense workout by just using your own bodyweight. This is perfect for people who don’t go to the gym or may be too busy to complete longer workouts. With a list of bodyweight exercises you can try at home, this guide will show you how easy it is to get in shape by just using your own body. Some of these exercises may seem ‘too easy’ but the truth is, exercising and strength training doesn’t have to involve heavy weightlifting. Remember, it’s about training smart. By following this list, you can create a workout plan suitable for yourself and mix and match different exercises based on your abilities and ambitions.
You don’t need to adopt a 100% bodyweight routine, however, by including some of these exercises in your training program, you’re sure to see the benefits.
Getting fit with bodyweight exercises is the perfect answer for busy professionals, people who travel a lot, or anyone who wants to vary up their normal workouts. The ability to do these exercises anywhere means you don’t need to worry about getting to a gym or worry about when you can squeeze in your workouts.
Strength and fitness is often associated with lifting heavy weights but bodyweight exercises help you progress naturally and evenly. It’s no good being able to bench press twice your weight if you can’t do 5 pull-ups. Unfortunately, this is common in many gyms. Body weight exercises offer functional strength. This type of strength is very useful in the real world and help build up strength in a way that is useful in everyday life. Being able to move comfortably and confidently and support your own body will ensure you find everyday tasks easier. This is what being fit is all about – making your life easier.
Every bodyweight exercise utilizes multiple muscle groups, gets your heart rate pumping, and burns tons of calories. This is the simple formula to getting fit with exercise. If you’re workout has those 3 elements, you’re sure to see results quickly.
Who should be doing bodyweight exercises?
There isn’t anyone who wouldn’t benefit from bodyweight exercises. They are very useful for rehabilitation and recovering from injuries as well as for building strength and losing weight. Whatever your fitness goal, bodyweight exercises should certainly be considered.
This list is split up into different body parts. Over a week, you should be targeting every body part. How you do this is up to you. You could isolate different areas on different days. This is a common bodybuilding approach and works well. Conversely, you could easily incorporate a full body workout 3 times a week. Depending on how much time you have and what your fitness goals are will impact how you want to structure your workouts.
Looking for an alternative way to get fit and strong instead of spending hours in a commercial gym? Well, you’re in luck! I’ve analysed what bodyweight workouts and exercises you can do anywhere and with minimal equipment. That means getting fit on your own terms. Using your own body weight to increase your strength, agility, and fitness. It’s a match made in heaven.
The Principles of Bodyweight Workouts
There are 2 main principles to follow in bodyweight training that you should understand.
Time under Tension – Try to increase the time under tension during your workouts. If the muscles are forced to work for longer, then they will grow and strengthen faster. A simple way to do this is to perform exercises at a slower pace.
The Amount of Tension – Try to distribute weight unevenly across your body so certain muscles are put under increased tension. A good example of this is a one armed pull-up or a one armed push up. You’re still using your body weight but its challenging your muscles in a different way. This is something to experiment with once you feel confident with the fundamental bodyweight exercises.
How Long Do Bodyweight Workouts take?
Bodyweight exercises and workouts can be completed quicker than more traditional weight lifting training programmes. 30 minutes is enough time to give your muscles a full body workout. Some workouts will take longer as you may need to rest longer between sets, however, bodyweight training plans are designed for a quicker pace and minimal resting. This makes such training plans very effective at helping you get fit with spending minimal time training.
Similar to Crossfit workouts, you need to focus on form and technique as opposed to pure speed. Bodyweight training is about performing the selected exercises as perfectly as possible to help grow your strength and fitness. Sacrificing good form so you finish slightly quicker will only result in injury and won’t yield the results you hope for.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different though and the best place to start is working alongside a qualified personal trainer and learning how far to push yourself.
How Many Days a Week Do I Train For?
Most Bodyweight workouts and training plans include 3 or 4 days of training. This gives time for your body to recover and repair, ensuring you don’t get injured.
Should I Warm-Up First?
Like any type of exercise or workout, warming up first is a must. You want to get your heart rate up and get the blood pumping through the muscles. A combination of traditional stretches, alongside including some quick reps on the exercises included in the workout is a good way to get yourself ready for your full bodyweight workout.
How Many Weeks Should I Train For?
Bodyweight training can be used as your primary workout routine or as a supplementary training plan alongside other training. For best results, try to follow a 3 week bodyweight training plan instead of your regular fitness routines and see if you notice the difference.
Body weight training is a fantastic way to test your body and force your muscles to adapt to a different force. Many athletes find a bodyweight training plan a great way to ensure they develop adaptable fitness and strength.
What Exercises Should I Include in My Bodyweight Routine?
Bodyweight workouts are more than just press ups and pull-ups. There are hundreds of options and so many variations. Even something as humble as the press up has a whole multitude of variations to keep challenging you and make sure you continue to build strength.
Bodyweight Chest, Shoulders and Tricep Workouts
Bodyweight chest, shoulder and tricep workouts focus on pushing movements. We are trying to push our bodies by activating these muscles.
Push ups offer a good starting point, but there are lots of variations and things to do to focus more on more specific areas of these muscles. It’s certainly possible to train all the parts of the chest with bodyweight movements. Upper, lower, inner and outer can all be targeted with slight adjustments in how you position your body.
You could easily put all the tension from a push up from your chest to your triceps by moving your hands into a diamond shape while executing the movement.
Due to this workouts offering very functional movements, they also help injury recovery. You aren’t in danger of lifting heavy weights that put certain muscles under unnatural tension and pressure.
Upper Chest Movements – Raise your feet and decline on an angle that suits you. The higher the angle, the higher up the chest the tension is felt. If you go too high, then it puts more tension on the shoulders.
Lower Chest – Raise your upper body. Push against something that provides an angle for you to work with.
Outer Chest – Place your hands further away from your body.
Inner Chest – Place your hands closer to your body. This will also train your triceps.
There are literally 100s of variations of the humble push up, illustrating its ability to hit the chest at every angle possible and targeting different aims.
Wall Handstand Push-Up
Assisted Handstand Push-Up
Bodyweight Back, Biceps and Forearm Workouts
Bodyweight workouts are perfectly suited to building a strong back. Exercises like pull-ups help develop functional strength in your back muscles. These exercises often work other muscles at the same time. That’s the beauty of body weight exercises as you train in a functional manner.
These types of exercises also widen your back in a V shape. This ensures you develop your back into an athletic shape.
Due to the size of your back in relation to the rest of your body, you should be looking to develop this strength to help support the rest of your workouts and exercises. People with strong legs and backs will have a big advantage when they attempt other exercises as these drive the most force for your body.
Grip is important for back exercises and your arms will need to strength to accommodate these workouts. Often, bodyweight back workouts can actually be the most effective arm workouts too. Chin ups and pull-ups (along with all the variations) are fantastic at strengthening your biceps and forearms.
Our focus for the back is concentrating on pulling movements. If you’re pulling your body weight (as opposed to pushing it), you’ll most likely be working your back.
Pausing and squeezing during pull-ups and other pull exercises will make your body work even harder and force them to adapt further.
Wide grip Pull-Up
One Arm Pull-Up
Gymnastic Rings Pull-Ups
Bodyweight Leg Workouts
Building big strong legs are fundamental for overall fitness. Bodyweight workouts are great for achieving this through the following movments:
• Lifting up your leg (Hip Flexors)
• Pull your leg back (Glutes)
• Extending your leg (Quads)
• Bend your knee (Hamstrings)
• Flex and extend your ankle, respectively (Calves & shin muscles)
• Moving the legs close and away from each other (Adductors & Abductors)
Russian Leg Curl
Bodyweight Core Workouts
There’s a difference between having a strong core and having a six pack. The latter is all about having low body fat around your abs. Even without having a strong core, you could end up with a six pack simply due to low body fat. So if a six pack is your goal, focus on your diet.
If you want to strengthen your core, then there is a plethora of body weight exercises that you can use. These focus on functional movements that will help you in day to day life. A strong core is also make lots of other exercises easier. For example, you’d be surprised how much easier you’d find a pull-up if you develop your core strength.
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Bodyweight exercises are a great example of primal movements. These primal movements are the types of movements humans are designed to do. Regardless the benefits of certain bodybuilding exercises, they don’t offer the natural functional strength of some of these primal movements. Bodyweight workouts and exercises are the perfect answer for people wanting to feel fitter and see results quickly.
You don’t need to invest in equipment so there are no excuses for not giving bodyweight training a go!