Do you want to start getting fit, but can’t find the time to hit the gym? Maybe you can’t start getting a workout program because you lack access to equipment? Well then, worry not, because you can still get your dream body without the need for gym memberships and equipment! All you need is yourself, a decent place to work out (but anywhere works) and of course, consistency, dedication, and discipline. How you may ask? It’s through bodyweight exercises.
Bodyweight exercises generally do not use free weights, machines or any form of equipment. Rather, those who do these use their own body’s weight as the resistance for the workout. Since most of them only require the body, you can actually undergo bodyweight training virtually anywhere. Also, it’s not something new. People have been using bodyweight exercises to train themselves since ancient times, from modern military to the warriors of old.
Read more A Beginner’s Bodyweight Workout
There are many bodyweight exercises you can choose from. There are those that target specific muscle groups, and there’s a full-body routine. Here are some, arranged according to the target muscle area:
Lower Body Exercises
- Bodyweight Squat – set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Pull in your lower abs, and keep eyes forward. Slowly bend at knees and drop your hips to lower your body. Keep your heels flat on the floor. At the bottom of the exercise pause for a moment and strongly push back up to starting position, mirroring the descent. Repeat.
- Pistol Squat – begin with your feet together and parallel. Extend one leg in front of you, as straight as you can, with your heel hovering off the floor. Raise your arms straight out in front of you. Brace your abs and keep your back straight, then bend your standing leg and lower your body, extending your other leg in front of you. Keep the foot of your standing leg flat on the floor. Continue to bend as far as you can while aiming to get your extended leg parallel to the floor. Straighten your standing leg to return upright, and keep your extended leg straight. Switch legs and repeat.
- Lunges – Stand with right foot forward, left foot back about 3 feet apart. Hold weights in each hand if desired, and bend knees to lower body towards the floor. Keep the front knee behind the toes and be sure to lower straight down rather than forward. Keep the torso straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position. Don’t lock the knees at the top of the movement.
- Single-Leg Deadlift – begin standing with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Hold down some weighted object, like a kettlebell or dumbbells in your hands down in front of you. Lean forward in your hips shifting weight into one leg while your other leg engages and starts to extend straight behind you. Lift extended leg and pitch body forward until your body forms a T shape. Your arms should be hanging straight down, holding onto the weight. Keep a slight bend in your standing leg. Slowly bring in your extended leg and return to starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
- Hip Bridge – start lying flat on your back, knees bent and arms in low V by your hips. Your feet should be about hip-distance apart with heels a few inches away from your butt. Push through your heels to lift hips up while squeezing your glutes. Try to create one diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then lower back down. Take it slow for best results.
- Calf Raise – stand up straight, then push through the balls of your feet and raise your heel until you are standing on your toes. Then lower slowly back to the start.
- Step Up – place your entire right foot onto a bench or chair. Press through your right heel as you step onto the bench, bringing your left foot to meet your left so you are standing on the bench. Return to the starting position by stepping down with the right foot, then the left so both feet are on the floor. Do desired reps then repeat with the left foot as a start.
- Box Jump – stand in front of a box with feet shoulder-width apart. Swing arms and hinge hips back with a tall chest, flat back, and braced core. Swing arms forward, using momentum to jump up and slightly forward, landing softly with both feet completely on the box. Stand up, locking out the knees and extending hips. Carefully step back down to the ground. Repeat.
- Knee Push-up – place your knees on the floor or a mat. Position hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Slowly lower torso down towards the floor. Pause, then pull your torso up to the starting position. Repeat.
- Elevated Push-up – begin in the pushup position with your hands elevated on any stable surface higher than the floor. Keep the body in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes and keep your abs and butt braced. Lower yourself to the floor by bending your elbows until your chest almost touches the surface. Drive through the palms of your hands to push yourself back up until your arms are locked out. Repeat
- Push-up – get on the floor on all four, with hands slightly wider than shoulders. Extend legs back such that you are balanced on your hands and toes. Keep the body in a straight line from head to toe, and avoid sagging in the middle or arching your back. Keep your abs braced, and lower until your chest touches the floor, keeping thighs off it, then push back up.
- Decline Push-up – kneel down with your back to the bench, chair or any elevated surface. Put your hands on the floor, shoulders over your wrists and elbows at 45 degrees. Place your feet on top of the bench. Brace your core, glutes, and quads. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor, keeping your back and neck straight. Push into the floor to return to the starting position, extending your elbows. Repeat.
- Side-To-Side Push-up – get in a push-up position and lower yourself down to your left and then push back up. Lower yourself down to your right hand and then push yourself back up. Repeat.
- Dip – place arms shoulder-width apart and grab a sturdy surface. Bend your elbows and lean your chest slightly forward as a balance for your dips. Your wrists should be barely behind your shoulders at the depth of this exercise. Extend your elbows, pushing your body back up. Then, completely straighten your elbows for the height of the exercise. Repeat.
- Handstand (Wall Walk) – start in the “up push-up” position with your feet against the wall behind you. Start walking your feet up the wall, while at the same time walking your hands back towards the wall. Walk up until you are in a complete handstand position as flat to the wall as you can. Keep your core tight and back straight. To finish, walk your hands away from the wall and your feet down the wall until you are back in the push-up position.
- Inverted Bodyweight Row – set up for the inverted row by lowering the bar on the smith machine and positioning yourself under the bar, or anything sturdy enough to support your weight. Grasp the bar with arms slightly wider than shoulder-width. Put your feet out in front of you so that your upper chest is directly under the bar. Keep your body straight and pull yourself up as far as possible. The bar should come to around upper chest/neck height. Pause, and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
- Bar Hang – use a secure overhead bar. Use a step or bench so you can easily reach the bar with your arms. You don’t want to jump straight into a dead hang. Grip the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Aim to keep your arms shoulder-width apart. Move your feet off the step or bench so you’re hanging on to the bar. Keep your arms straight. Don’t bend your arms and stay relaxed. Hang for 10 seconds if you’re new to the exercise. Work your way up to 45 seconds to 1 minute at a time. Slowly step back onto the step or bench before releasing your arms. Repeat.
- Pull-up – grab a bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your hands facing away from you. Hang all the way down. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Pause slightly then lower yourself all the way back down.
- Reverse Crunch – lie on the ground in a traditional crunch position, your feet flat on the floor and hands underneath your head. Press your lower back into the floor and pull in your belly button to lift your feet off of the floor. Keep your knees together, bent at 90-degree angles. Using your core, pull your knees into your chest so that your tailbone raises off of the ground, and simultaneously perform a traditional crunch, lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor. Use your abs, not your hands, to lift your head and shoulders. Your hands are just there to protect your neck. Slowly lower your shoulders, hips, and legs to return to the starting position. Stop when your feet are just above the floor. Repeat.
- Knee Plank – lie face down on the ground with your legs together and your arms at your sides. Position your hands beneath your shoulders. Tighten your core and elevate your upper body off the ground, stabilizing yourself with your forearms. Your feet, shins, and knees will remain on the ground. Do not allow your hips to drop down
- Plank – assume a push-up position. Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together. Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising your form.
- Side Plank – Lie on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other, then prop your body up on your hand or elbow while keeping feet stacked.
Full Body Exercises
As for the full-body version, these are some of the exercises you may consider:
- Walking Jacks
- Jumping Jacks
- Star Jacks
- Burpees with Pull-up
And those are some of the routines that you can do if the gym is not an option. Coupled with consistency, discipline and a healthy diet, you are sure to get results.
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