No gym and no weights doesn’t mean your fitness has to suffer. Bodyweight exercises can provide an intense workout, wherever you are. These movements may seem simple, relying on just gravity and the weight of your own body, but bodyweight exercises can deliver some serious results. Many of these exercises simultaneously improve strength and endurance levels. Plus, variations keep the movements exciting and continue to challenge the body as you grow stronger. Here are 9 of the best bodyweight exercises to start trying today.
9 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
Many fitness experts say that even if you don’t have time for anything else, squatting is essential. So what makes the squat so wonderful? First of all, squats are great at building quad, hamstring, and calf strength. Plus, they help develop force and power for activities like jumping and sprinting, enhance mobility, and improve joint health. On top of all that, squats are a very functional movement. Once you conquer the air squat, try adding in jump squats for some added HIIT-style training. You can also move your way up to the pistol squat, as CrossFit Games athlete Scott Panchik demonstrates in this video.
Burpees are a dynamic and intense full body movement. They build strength in your arms, chest, glutes, core, quads, and hamstrings, and are very effective at getting your heart rate up. Burpees can also have carryover benefits to other sports and activities you participate in. For example, see what happened when this runner did 30 burpees for 15 days. There are many variations of the burpee, but here you can learn how to do burpees like CrossFit Games athlete Noah Ohlsen.
3. Single Leg Bridge
Single leg bridge is a variation of the traditional bridge exercise that uses one leg at a time to add difficulty and balance out strength on each side of the body. It’s a great movement to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. Additionally, the bridge position opens up your hips and activates glutes, which is great for people who sit for most of the day. Prolonged sitting leads to glute deactivation and shortened hip flexors, bridge helps balance that out. You can also add a resistance band or weight as you progress with the exercise. Pro triathlete Heather Jackson shares how to do a single leg glute bridge.
4. Jumping Lunge
Jumping lunges are an elevated version of the standard lunge. They may take a few tries to master, but the benefits are well worth the effort. While jumping lunges are very similar to the standard lunge, it’s done explosively, which makes it useful for improving dynamic stability, coordination, agility, power, and strength in the lower body. With all the jumping, this exercise will also quickly elevate your heart rate and breathing, giving you benefits of a HIIT workout. Also, jumping lunges are a unilateral movement that helps minimize asymmetries in leg strength. While working out at home, you may not have the luxury of adding in weights, but incorporating plyometrics is a great way to add more intensity.
Push-ups continue to be a staple in fitness for a reason. This exercise is almost synonymous with upper body strength. But, not only do push-ups strengthen your shoulders, arms, back, and chest, when done correctly they also strengthen your core, since a lot of stability is required to hold the position. What you may not know is that push-ups help strengthen your bones and can improve your posture, since the movement doesn’t rely on your traps or neck muscles. Instead, push-ups activate underused midback muscles. There are a ton of variations you can utilize to target specific muscle groups or make the exercise more intense. Here you can learn how to correctly do push-ups and learn some variations of the movement.
The superman exercise is a great way to work your lower back and glutes. As an added bonus, it will also improve flexibility in your low back. You can use one of these variations to concentrate on building strength in specific areas of the back and upper body.
Whether you do it for the looks or the functionality, planks are an effective way to build core strength. Unlike many other core exercises, the plank actually engages all major core muscles, not just one. When you have a strong core, your abdominal muscles take stress off of the opposite side of your core, meaning your back doesn’t have to do all the work to support your spine and upper body. For that reason, planks are helpful for decreasing back issues and injuries and improving posture. Like most other bodyweight exercises, there are numerous variations. If you’ve already nailed the standard plank, try doing side plank, star plank, or incorporating shoulder taps into your plank.
Grab some chairs, do them on the ground, or use your kitchen counters; however you choose to do dips is up to you. Dips are a compound exercise that build triceps, chest, and shoulder muscles. Check out this page for some helpful ideas on what you can use at home to develop your dip.
9. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers will work your body from top to bottom, including your deltoids, biceps, triceps, chest, obliques, abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hips. With just a few of these, you can expect your heart rate to get going pretty quickly. They are also great for improving agility, coordination, and flexibility. Mountain climbers are perfect for building your full body strength and cardio fitness. Learn how to do mountain climbers correctly here.
Recovery from Bodyweight Exercises
Workouts and recovery go together like pen and paper. One without the other just doesn’t make sense. When you work out, your muscles break down. During the recovery process, your body rebuilds itself and grows stronger. Both components are needed to make the other more effective.
Most people focus on researching the best training techniques, but neglect researching the best recovery techniques. Did you know that active recovery is one of the best ways to recover? Active recovery (ie. light movement such as a walking) drives each stage of the recovery process, and no other method can say that. Marc Pro perfects the process of active recovery making it non-fatiguing, easy, and versatile. Marc Pro’s patented technology allows you to target specific muscles or muscle groups and experience all the benefits of active recovery, but without the fatigue or extra effort.
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