Achieving the physique of a Greek god doesn’t require any sort of equipment, as you can work towards carving a great physique using bodyweight exercises. Not only that, but these workout routines can also help boost your body’s muscular fitness and improve VO2 max.
Aside from all the physical benefits, relying on bodyweight exercises will help save you a ton of time and money since you won’t have to pay for a gym membership. With that mind, this article will help shed light on the best bodyweight exercises that you can start doing today.
Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises
There are numerous benefits that bodyweight exercises can offer you, from a stronger physique to improve balance and mobility. Below are the most notable benefits of bodyweight exercises.
An Extremely Efficient Way to Workout
One of the main benefits of bodyweight exercises is that they’re very efficient, probably more so than most other types of exercise. Plyometrics, for instance, can help develop your strength and cardio in a short period of time, mainly because you won’t be switching between any equipment.
And speaking of switching between equipment, or the lack thereof, you won’t have time to waste between workouts, meaning the intensity of your exercise will be more pronounced and you’ll be able to burn calories a lot faster while getting an effective cardio workout as well.
In order to ensure the best results with bodyweight exercises, we strongly recommend engaging in high-intensity interval training. The thing about this type of training is that it involves no breaks whatsoever, which is why they’re so physically demanding and can yield great fitness gains.
Combines Cardio and Strength Training
Bodyweight training isn’t all about building strength, it can be used for cardiovascular training as well by just combining different exercises together in order to work on both types of training. For example, you can insert some high knees or burpees in between your pushups or lunges.
Some exercises are more effective than others, of course, but there really aren’t any wrongs. To put it differently, you can formulate your own bodyweight training program which consists of both strength and cardio training workouts. By doing so, you’ll be reaping various health benefits.
However, you must make sure that the cardio system you’ll be opting for is a healthy one so that it helps keep your circulatory system in good shape as well as your heart and lungs. It also goes without saying that you need to keep your diet in check to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
Bodyweight Training Is Cost-Effective
As we’ve already mentioned, bodyweight training doesn’t require a gym membership or any sort of equipment whatsoever, which makes it one of the most cost-effective ways to train. And being affordable doesn’t mean the results will be subpar. In actuality, the results are astounding.
We recommend investing in an exercise mat so that your workouts will be comfortable. You also might want to purchase a pull-bar so that you’ll be able to do pull-ups. Of course, these tools are not mandatory to have, but they’ll help make your workouts more efficient and comfortable.
Enhances Your Balance and Flexibility
Certain bodyweight exercises can increase your balance tremendously like 1-handed push-ups and 1-legged pistol squats. Keep in mind that this isn’t the case for all bodyweight exercises. It may not be easy for you to tackle such exercises, but the more your practice, the easier it gets.
Enhancing your balance is all about working out your body’s proprioceptors, which are sensory receptors that dictate how fast your body counteracts, which in turn governs your balance. The more you train your proprioceptors, just like with muscles, the more developed they’ll be.
Also, there are various bodyweight exercises that require you to not only engage your muscles but your joints as well, to go through a full range of motion. Doing these exercises on a regular basis will help improve your body’s flexibility and prevent the lack of range of motion.
One of the best bodyweight exercises that can help you improve your flexibility is Yoga, with its numerous poses that require you to bear the weight of your body while working on flexibility. It’s well-established that people who are flexible are less prone to injuries such as muscle pulling.
It Can Help You Burn Tons of Calories
You don’t have to resort to intense cardio routines to burn calories quickly. Bodyweight training might largely be concerned with strength training, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize it for fat loss. However, be prepared for some really intense bodyweight routines.
You don’t want to rely on bodyweight routines that help you burn calories as you work out, you need to do training routines that can burn calories after you work out as well. A couple that we highly recommend is bodyweight circuit routine training and high-intensity interval training.
Such exercises will help keep your metabolism pumped up as long as 14 hours after you work out, so you’ll be burning a ton of calories and fat post-workout. A pumped-up metabolism helps you achieve a toned physique. It also turns the food you eat more into energy and less into fat.
Bodyweight Training Is Super Versatile
The versatility of bodyweight training is so vast that it offers activity enthusiasts of all levels an appropriate challenge to tackle. Whether you’re a beginner or an avid exerciser, you’ll find lots of challenging workout routines that can accommodate your body’s capabilities.
For example, if you’re a novice fitness enthusiast, you can stick to simple pushups at the start of your bodyweight training journey. If you want it to be a more challenging start, we highly suggest doing advanced pushup exercises like triangle pushups, military pushups, or clap pushups.
The cool thing about bodyweight training is that almost all routines are modifiable, meaning that you can make your exercises easier or harder, depending on your body’s capabilities. Moreover, the number of exercises is enormous, so you won’t have to do the same routine every day.
25 Best Bodyweight Exercises
In this section of the article, we’re going to highlight the best bodyweight exercises for the whole body, back and chest, shoulders and arms, legs, and core. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
Full Body Exercises
To do a tuck jump, you need to stand with your knees slightly bent. Thereafter, you want to jump as high as possible. Make sure you bring your knees in toward your chest and extend your arms straight out as you’re jumping. Also, make sure you land with knees slightly bent, then repeat!
For this full-body exercise, you want to start on your hands and knees. Bring your left foot under the chest and straighten the right leg. Keep both hands on the floor and tighten up your core. All you need to do now is jump and switch legs so that your left leg is the one extended behind you.
As demanding as it may sound, this exercise is pretty straightforward. Start on both knees and hands, rise up onto your toes, and then reach forward with your right arm and knee followed by your left arm and knee while tightening your core. Crawl for 8-10 reps for optimal results.
The inchworm is an extremely effective full-body workout that involves you standing with both of your legs straight and with your knees unlocked. You lower your torso toward the floor then walk with your hands forward. Once in a push-up position, take tiny steps until hands and feet meet.
The prone walkout exercise requires you to start on all fours while maintaining an engaged core. From there, you want to walk slowly, hands forward, staying on your toes but not moving them. It also requires you to walk hands backward to your station position with absolute balance.
Back & Chest Exercises
The standard push-up is a fitness staple that yields great results. Put your hands shoulder-width apart, keep your feet at hip distance, and tighten your core. Now bend the elbows until the chest reaches the floor and then push back up while keeping your elbows tucked close to the body.
This workout’s pose is a bit tricky. Think downward-facing dog with the elbows on the floor. Now, lean forward while lowering your shoulder until your head is over your hands. After that, push up with your arms, returning to your starting position. Check out this tutorial for more insight.
This exercise is just as cool as it sounds. To do it right, you need to lie face down with both legs and arms extended. Then, you must raise your legs and arms in a way that forms a small curve in your body while at the same time keeping your torso still. It may take a few attempts at first.
For this exercise, you need to start in a push-up position with your core tightened and your legs brought together. Then, you want to kick both legs while your knees are bent. This should have you reaching your feet back toward your glutes. Here’s a pretty good tutorial for this exercise.
This exercise requires you once again to start from a push-up position. From there, you want to raise your hips and lower the front of the body using your arms until your chin touches the floor. Then, swoop the head and lower the hips while keeping the knees off the floor. And reverse!
Shoulders & Arms Exercises
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and with the knees slightly bent. Thereafter, bend your body forward until the torso is as parallel as possible to the floor. Keep the elbows tucked in and then extend one arm forward after the other. Hug your arms back in and then switch arms.
Diamond push-ups are some of the most challenging types of pushups that you can do, but it’s pretty simple when it comes to the pose. You begin by getting into a push-up position with your index fingers touching your thumbs, forming diamond-shaped hands, then you do the pushup.
For this exercise, you want to sit close to an elevated surface like a bench or step while having your knees slightly bent. Grab the edge of the bench/step and straighten your arms. Now, bend your arms 90 degrees and straighten them again with your heels pushing into the floor.
This is a very straightforward exercise that requires you to stand with your arms extended to the side in a perpendicular fashion to your torso. All you need to do is make 1-foot, clockwise circles for 20 to 30 seconds. Then, you want to reverse the movement into a counterclockwise one.
The shoulder stabilization series is quite an interesting exercise. It requires you to lie face down with your palms facing one another and your arms extended overhead. From there, you want to move your arms in a way that creates I, Y, T, W, and O letter formations. It’s really fun, actually.
The wall sit, as you may have guessed, requires you to slide your back slowly down a wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. It’s important to keep your back completely straight with the knees directly above the ankles. Do as many 60-second sets as your legs can handle.
Quite a cool name, huh? To do a pistol squat, you need to stand firmly with your arms extended out in front of your body. Raise your right leg, flex your right ankle, and push back your hips. It’s time to lower your body with your right leg raised and hold. Return to standing and alternate.
For this exercise, you’ll need to find an elevated surface such as a bench or step. Found it? It’s time to place your right foot on the surface and step up until the leg is straight. Thereafter, you’ll want to get back to the starting position and repeat with the other legs.10-12 reps is ideal.
To do a lunge jump, you need to stand with your feet together, lunge forward with your right foot, and just jump straight up. As you’re jumping you want to propel your arms forward while keeping your elbows bent. You want to make sure you land with the opposite leg forward. And repeat!
It’s time to work out those calves! For this exercise, you want to stand firmly and begin to rise up on your toes ever so slowly. You must keep your heels off the floor and your knees straight. You must hold for a few seconds then come back down and repeat. Try it on an elevated surface!
For this bodyweight drill, you want to place your arms at your sides and your palms facing down while lying face up. Extend your legs and then lift your heels about 6 inches above the floor and then perform quick up-and-down pulses with your legs. We recommend kicking for 60 seconds.
The Russian twist involves you sitting on the floor with your feet together and lifted a few inches above the ground and with your knees bent. Keep your back at 45 degrees to the floor and then, in a twisting fashion, move your arms from side to side. The slower you twist, the better!
We’re all familiar with the plank, but for this variation of the exercise, you want to lie faceup and roll to the side. Then, rise up onto one foot and elbow. To do this exercise correctly, you need to keep your core engaged and your hips lifted. You want to hang in there for 30 to 60 seconds.
We’re all familiar with this exercise! Simply lie faceup with your hands behind your head and the knees bent. Now, bring the knees in toward your chest and then bring the right elbow toward the left knee while straightening the right leg. Alternate sides as if you’re pedaling a bicycle.
This exercise is an absolute killer! Just lie faceup with your legs forward, arms to the sides, and elbows bent at 90 degrees. From there, you want to sit up and bring your right knee toward your left elbow. Thereafter, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side of your body.
Bodyweight Workout Plan
There are plenty of bodyweight workout plans out there and you can devise your own plan since there are tons of bodyweight exercises that you can use. To help save you the time, we’re going to shed light on two effective workout plans, one for beginners and one for experts.
Beginner Workout Plan (3 Circuits)
- 20 bodyweight squats
- 10 push-ups
- 10 dumbbell rows (use any weight)
- 10 walking lunges
- 15-second plank
- 30 jumping jacks
Advanced Workout Plan (3 Circuits)
- 10 one-legged squats
- 20 walking lunges
- 20 bodyweight squats
- 10 pull-ups
- 10 dips-bar stools
- 10 push-ups
- 10 chin-ups
- 30-second plank
There you have it, fitness fanatics! Hopefully, the information provided in this article has been of great help to you. Feel free to let us know if you have any fitness-related questions.