You don't have to go to the gym to get in a great workout. When it comes to strength training, your own bodyweight is a tool that's available 24/7 - anywhere you are. Check out these workout ideas to get fit and strong - using only your bodyweight.
NOTE: We recommend you consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any new fitness program.
What are bodyweight workouts?
Bodyweight workouts are generally synonymous with home strength training for weight training enthusiasts and involve using your own body weight to build muscle. No other additional weights, like dumbbells, are used. You can also use certain accessories, like fitness bands, to work your endurance differently (more on that below).
Why do bodyweight workouts?
Bodyweight workouts are great for many reasons. First, bodyweight exercises rely on polyarticular movements. That means they work several muscle groups at the same time. For example, when doing core work, you'll strengthen your arms, core muscles and legs because these muscles all work together to support your body in the movement.
Bodyweight exercises also require “functional” movements such as running, jumping, stretching and contracting your muscles, etc. These exercises will improve your ability to do many other movements, whether for a specific sport or just your everyday life! You'll improve your posture and physical endurance as well as develop a more balanced silhouette.
It's important to start slow and build up. Begin with 10 to 15 minutes of exercises, then ramp up the time as you gain strength and endurance. Lastly, bodyweight exercises are great for everyone. This type of training is the perfect complement to any other physical activity, like running.
Bodyweight Workouts: With or without equipment, it's up to you!
Bodyweight workouts may use certain equipment, although you won't be using any machines like those you find at the gym where you add on weight. The dip bar training station and pushup grips can take your workouts to the next level.
While you don't actually need any equipment at all, using accessories can help you work your muscles harder and differently.
If you don't want to use any equipment, but still want to make your workouts harder, you can simply change your range of movement when doing the exercises: for example, bring your hands closer together when doing push-ups and you'll feel the difference.
6 Bodyweight Exercises We Love
To give you an intro to bodyweight workouts, we have six exercises for you: three without equipment and three with equipment.
Bodyweight exercises without equipment (1-4 sets each):
1. Press-ups (10 reps)
From an all-fours position, make sure your feet are as wide as your hips. Straighten your arms. Keep your hands flat on the floor, just wider than shoulder-width apart. Now, do a press-up: bend your elbows to lower down to the floor without touching it, keeping your arms at a right angle. Keep your back and neck straight without arching your lower back and look at the floor between your hands.
For a harder version, take your knees off the floor and stretch out your legs!
2. Squats (10 reps)
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your back straight and bringing your hands together in front of you, lower down as though you were going to sit in a chair. Stop when your knees are at a right angle. As you come back up, push down into your heels. Be sure to keep your knees wide and don't let them lean in as you do your squats!
3. Hollow holds, AKA “bananas” (hold for 30 seconds)
Lie down on your back, and bring your knees towards your chest. Raise your shoulders off the floor and stretch out your legs to create a 45° angle from the ground. Stretch your arms out by your ears at the same angle, bringing your hands together. Now all you have to do is hold for 30 seconds!
Bodyweight exercises with equipment (1-4 sets):
1. Push-up wheel - one arm roll (10 reps)
With the push-up wheel, extend out with both hands on the wheel. Start in a vertical, diagonal or horizontal position.
2. Dip bar station (10 reps)
Stand with your hands on the grips, forming a right angle with your knees. Slowly dip your body down until your arms reach a 90 degree angle, or to your personal ability level. Your back and hips should be in alignment as you lower. Straighten your arms, returning to your starting position using the strength of your arms and support of your core muscles.
3. Knees to elbow + push-up with the push-up bar (10 reps)
Start with lowering yourself into a pushup with your hands on the push-up wheel, once you've pushed back up, drive your knees towards your chest using the push-up wheel without the hand grips.
Bodyweight workouts are a great way to get some exercise at home because you can do them anywhere and don't need any equipment. All our best in achieving your fitness goals!