There is an increasing number of people working out in the safety of our own homes due to the pandemic. However, not everyone owns every gym equipment.
Luckily, adding bodyweight exercises into your routine can still do wonders. This includes blocking common running injuries and building strength.
Moreover, expensive machines and heavyweights aren’t always required for a great workout. In fact, there are a lot of bodyweight programs that can help you sculpt your body and take your fitness to the next level.
All you need is your body weight, the force of gravity, and a few simple pieces of equipment.
What is Bodyweight Exercise?
Bodyweight exercises are strength-training workouts that utilize the person’s weight to resist gravity.
It can improve a range of biomotor abilities, including the following:
This explains why various strength training has become popular among athletes.
Bodyweight training uses simple skills such as pushing, pulling, squatting, and more. Movements such as the push-up, the pull-up, and the sit-up are some of the most traditional bodyweight exercises.
While a few exercises may require some type of equipment, the majority of bodyweight exercises require none. For activities that require tools, everyday household items would suffice.
You can use bath towels for towel curls or a tree branch to perform pull-ups). Therefore, bodyweight exercises are convenient when traveling or on vacation.
Another advantage of bodyweight training is that there are no costs required.
What makes bodyweight training regimens so much more effective? Here are just some of many other benefits:
Works the Full Body
Bodyweight movements work out different muscle groups simultaneously, helping you tone and strengthen your body from head to toe.
While you might think of a push-up, for instance, it can also help develop core strength as an upper-body exercise. More so when combined with squat.
And a good core strength is vital to good posture, correct movement patterns, and injury prevention.
Builds Balance and Flexibility
Your body must stabilize itself while doing bodyweight movements. Doing so strengthens the muscles and stretches the ligaments and tendons.
These help you stay balanced while walking, running, doing household chores, or taking part in any other physical activity. Body control is necessary to ward off injury, especially as we age.
Gives You Freedom
You can acquire the many benefits of bodyweight training, which includes not making excuses.
You can have bodyweight training in a cross-training class, personal training session, or at home.
Whether you’re traveling or just squeezed for time, bodyweight circuits demand very little space or time. It can be done in a hotel room, parking lot, the beach, or conference room.
It’s Not Boring
Doing the same type of workout every day will get wearisome. But there’s no end to the number of different exercises you can do, just by connecting a series of bodyweight movements.
Modify the movements, the repetitions, and the time domain to have things exciting and fun. Improve the movements’ speed and intensity, and you can get in a heart-pounding, fat-blasting workout in just minutes.
There’s no doubt lifting weights, using cutting-edge cardio equipment, and taking advantage of unique gym services will help you get in great shape. But mixing in a bodyweight training routine can help you maintain a well-rounded fitness regimen that never gets dull.
As bodyweight exercises use the individual’s weight to produce movement resistance, the weight lifted won’t exceed a person’s body weight. And this can restrict new muscle growth.
Another disadvantage is that bodyweight training may be daunting to beginners.
Women, in general, also find it more challenging to do bodyweight exercises concerning upper body strength. They may restrain them from undertaking these exercises in their fitness regimens.
Meanwhile, athletes may regard it as too easy.
Bodyweight Exercises That You Can Do at Home
Bodyweight exercises will help you target your legs, core, and even your upper body.
Try incorporating five or more of the exercises below into your workout at least three times a week. Do 10 to 15 reps of each exercise for three or more sets. The list is ordered according to body part: lower upper body, lower body, and core.
You can opt for five exercises per muscle group. For example, one week might include a leg-day workout, a core-focused routine, and an upper body session. You can mix specific movements to target your entire body.
To help get you started, here are some bodyweight exercises that you can do at home:
Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core, glutes, and legs engaged.
Bend the elbows to lower chest to the floor. Elbows should point back at a 45-degree angle. Push back up to starting position, making sure to keep hips in line with the rest of the body.
If you can’t push up without dipping hips or get the chest to the floor, drop to knees to build strength. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Sit down on a chair, bench, or box with feet planted on the floor. Place hands behind you on the edge of the seat. Lift hips up to slide off the chair. Bend elbows to lower butt to the floor. Push back up and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Crawl Out to Push-Up
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Reach down toward toes and walk hands out to a high plank position. Bend elbows at a 45-degree angle as you lower chest to the floor. Push back up to plank. Walk hands back to feet, then slowly roll back up to stand. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Start in high plank position, with arms straight, wrists directly under shoulders, body forming a straight line from your head to heels.
Bend right elbow to lower right forearm to the floor. Lower left forearm to the floor. Extend the right arm, then the left arm to return to the starting position.
Continue to repeat, alternating which arm you start with each time.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place hands down in front of feet, then jump feet back to a high plank position, keeping hips up and in line with shoulders and heels.
Drop chest to the ground. Push back up, without arching back, as you jump feet back to hands. Stand and jump up. Repeat from the top for 10 to 15 reps.
Start standing with feet just wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out, clasp hands at the chest for balance. Send hips back and bend at knees to lower down as far as possible with the chest lifted. Press heels back up to starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step forward with the right foot, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Drive through the right heel to stand while stepping left foot forward and dropping into a lunge on the left side.
Continue walking forward, making sure back knee hovers just off the floor with each step. You can perform this move with bodyweight or holding two dumbbells or kettlebells for an added challenge.
Do 10 to 15 reps per side.
Start standing with hands-on-hips. Shift weight to the left leg and bring the right knee up so hip, knee, and ankle form 90-degree angles. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.
Stand with feet together. Step right leg back, lowering down, so both knees form a 90-degree angle, with right knee hovering just above the floor.
Drive through the left heel to stand up to starting position. Repeat on the left side. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side.
Lie faceup, and knees bent, feet planted, arms down by sides on the floor.
Lift the right leg up toward the ceiling so that both knees are aligned. Engage glutes as you lift hips up, driving through the left heel.
Lower back to the floor, then repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Start standing. Place the top of your right foot on a yoga block, bench, or chair behind you.
Step left leg out far enough to create a 90-degree angle without the knee reaching past the toes. Squeeze inner thighs together as you lower straight down. The left knee should hit 90 degrees, while the right knee points straight down to the floor.
Press through the left heel to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.
Lie faceup, knees bent, and feet planted on the floor. Drive through heels, contracting the glutes to send hips toward the ceiling. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step left foot back and lower into a lunge, knees forming 90-degree angles.
Drive through your right heel to jump up, switching legs in the air. Land in a lunge position with left leg forward.
Continue alternating lunges with a jump in the middle, aiming to increase time in the air and decrease time on the ground. Do 10 to 15 reps per side.
Single-Leg Half Squat
Start standing and shift weight to the left leg as you lift the right knee, so shin is parallel to the floor.
Send hips back and bend your left knee to lower halfway down into a squat as you raise arms out in front of you for balance. Keep weight in the left heel.
Stand back up to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.
Straight-Leg Calf Raise
Stand with feet hip-width apart on the edge of a step or box, legs straight. Push through to come up to your toes. Pause for a second, then lower heels back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Lie faceup, and knees bent, feet planted on the floor. Place arms down by sides. Contract glutes and lift hips toward the ceiling as high as possible so you draw hands together below. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Bent-Knee Calf Raise
Stand on the edge of a step or box with feet hip-width apart, knees bent about 45 degrees. Shift weight to the right leg and let the left foot hang. Push through the right forefoot to come up to toes. Pause for a second, then lower heels back down. Perform 10 to 15 reps, then repeat on the other leg.
Stand with left foot on a step and right heel hanging off the edge. Bend left knee to lower right heel below the step, then press back up. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then repeat on the other leg.
Eccentric Calf Raise
Stand on your toes with feet hip-width apart on the edge of a step or box. Slowly and with control, lower heels down below the edge of the step. Pause for a second, then slowly lift back up to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists. Step feet back and engage glutes and thighs to keep legs straight. The body should form a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels.
Think about pushing the ground away from you and pulling the belly button up toward the spine to keep back flat. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged, so the body forms a straight line from shoulders to hips to heels. Engage glutes and thighs to keep legs straight.
Drive left knee in toward chest, then quickly step it back to plank position. Immediately drive the right knee in toward the chest, then quickly step it back into plank position.
Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side.
Lie faceup, legs straight, arms by sides with hands positioned below glutes for support. Lift legs just six inches off the mat. Draw the belly button to spine to keep low back from lifting up off the mat. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Sit on the floor, knees bent, heels resting on the mat. Lean your upper body back about 45 degrees. With elbows bent and hands together, rotate torso to the right, then rotate torso to the left. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side. To make it harder, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell or lift heels off of the floor.
Lie faceup, legs straight, hands under glutes for support. Keeping low back flat against the mat, lift legs up toward the ceiling, maintaining knees as straight as possible. Slowly lower legs back down toward the floor. Continue to press low back into the mat. When legs hover just an inch off the floor, lift back up and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Lie faceup with both hands behind head, elbows wide, and legs in a tabletop position with knees over hips. Peel the right shoulder off the mat to bring the right elbow toward the left knee as you extend the right leg straight. Reverse to draw the left elbow to the right knee as you extend the left leg straight. Continue alternating for 10 to 15 reps per side.
Lie face-up on the mat with arms straight out, so the body forms a “T” and extends legs straight up toward the ceiling.
Keep your abs braced and lower your legs to the right as far as you can without lifting your shoulders off the floor. Swing legs to the left and lower as far as possible without lifting shoulders.
Continue alternating from side to side with control.
Lie facedown with legs extended and hands placed on the mat in front of the forehead. Lift arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Contract the glutes and thighs and relax the shoulders and neck. Lower back down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
Start on all fours, knees under hips and shoulders over wrists. Keeping back flat, extend right arm and left leg straight out. Draw the right elbow and left knee toward each other, hovering just above the floor. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps. Then switch sides.
Lie facedown, arms and legs extended. Contracting back, glutes, and legs, lift arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Holding the elevated position, raise your arms and legs up and down, one side at a time in quick succession like you’re swimming. Hold and continue alternating legs and arms for 30 to 60 seconds.
Lie facedown, legs straight and arms out to the sides in a T and thumbs pointing up. Bend left leg and reach heel toward the right hand. Try to keep shoulders on the ground. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.
Bodyweight Exercises for Older People
Interestingly, there are bodyweight exercises that are deemed beneficial for the elderly. This includes improved muscle mass, mobility, bone density, reduced depression, and better sleep.
It is also believed that bodyweight training may reduce or even stop cognitive decline as people age. Also, the heightened risk of falls seen in older people can be prevented by bodyweight training.
Exercises concentrating on the legs and abdomen such as squats, lunges, and step-ups are suggested to increase leg and core strength. Thus, helping reduce fall risks among elderlies.
Luckily, there are bodyweight exercises that produce a multi-directional movement that simulates daily activities.
Bodyweight exercise has seen a resurgence in popularity in the past decade. But there are many ways to modify an exercise to suit your needs. This means that you don’t have an excuse not to work out.