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When it comes to working out, most people only think about lifting weights in the gym. However, working out is not only limited to lifting weights in the gym or doing cardio. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises that you can do and still accomplish a full workout. And unlike free weights or machines, bodyweight exercises are suitable for any age or any fitness level. So, whether you’ve just started your fitness journey or you are an advanced athlete, here are some effective bodyweight exercises that can help to build muscle, strength, and endurance.
As much as they may appear simple, push-ups will activate almost all the muscles in your body. As you lift and lower your body, you will be using most of the body’s major muscle groups such as the triceps, core muscles, biceps, anterior deltoids as well as the lower body muscle groups. Push-ups fall under compound exercises, which means that they will activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
Push-ups will also boost your cardiovascular system. When you activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously, your heart is forced to work harder, so that it can deliver oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to these muscle tissues. As a result, your cardiovascular system will be significantly enhanced. Therefore, doing push-ups every day is a powerful and effective method of improving your heart health and building upper body strength.
Another benefit of doing pushups regularly is that they will improve your posture. In order to maintain the right posture, your entire core should be strong enough. With proper execution, pushups will strengthen the core muscles that are needed to maintain posture. Also, doing pushups frequently will stabilize the muscles around the rotator cuff joint, thus helping to protect your shoulders from injuries. The main benefit of this bodyweight exercise is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. It’s cost-effective, and a convenient means of building strength, endurance and muscle.
Also known as air bodyweight squats, air squats are commonly used in various workout routines and training programs. Unlike other types of squats such as rack squats, air squats are only performed using body weight. Doing several sets of air squats 3 to 4 times per week will help to build power and strength in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Air squats can also help to boost hip extension power, which is vital for vertical jumps.
Air squats can also help to improve flexibility and range of motion in your ankles and hips, which will in turn help to reduce injuries and pain in these areas. Also, if you are planning to introduce weighted squats in your workout routine, then you should start with air squats. Bodyweight squats will help you to master proper form, and then you will apply those techniques when performing weighted squats.
Burpees are an effective bodyweight workout, which combines squat jumps and push-ups into one exercise. Just like push-ups, you can do burpees at home, in the office or just anywhere, since they don’t require equipment. One of the main advantages of this exercise is strength building. To perform burpees, you will need to support your entire body with your hands. As a result, you will end up with bigger muscles and more strength. Burpees can also help to build endurance since they are performed in rapid succession.
Another reason why you should be doing burpees regularly is that they will help to boost your anaerobic capacity. Apart from training your lower and upper body muscles, this bodyweight exercise can also improve the health of your lungs and heart. The high-intensity movements performed within a short duration forces the body to produce lots of energy with minimal oxygen supply. By doing burpees frequently, you will significantly enhance your body’s anaerobic capacity.
Whether you are trying to increase muscle mass, train your lower body, enhancing your hips’ flexibility or building core strength, lunges can help you achieve your goals. And you can modify or adjust them to align with your fitness level. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or you are someone who has been working out for many decades, any person can do lunges.
One of the key benefits of doing this exercise regularly is that it will work your quads and glutes effectively while engaging your hamstrings. Strengthening the glutes and quads can speed up your body’s metabolism and help you to lose weight. Also, lunges can help to tone, firm, and shape your butt. Doing lunges regularly may also help to improve the flexibility of your hip flexors.
Similar to other compound exercises, lunges can also help to improve core strength. When you are doing lunges, you usually use your body’s core muscles, as well as your abdominals and the back. All these muscles are needed to help the body stay balanced and upright. And as you might probably know, having a powerful core is vital, since it eases most of your daily activities. Having a strong core also improves your posture, stability, and balance. It will also improve your athletic performance while helping to relieve lower back pain.
Pull-ups entail lifting and lowering the body from a bar located above the head. It’s arguably one of the hardest bodyweight exercises. This bodyweight exercise offers the following benefits:
- Stronger arms and shoulders: When performing pull-ups, you normally use the arms and shoulder muscles to support and lift your body. By doing this exercise regularly, you will strengthen not only your shoulders and arms but also your entire back.
- Improved grip strength: As noted above, pull-ups involve lifting and lowering your body from a bar. When you do pull-ups frequently, you will definitely end up with a stronger grip. Pull-ups can also improve your performance in sports such as rock climbing, tennis, bowling, and golf.
- Wider and bigger back: If you want to build a bigger, wider back without lifting weights, then you should start doing pull-ups. Pull-ups will also strengthen back muscles.
As much as pull-ups can be extremely challenging and demanding, they are worth the time and effort spent doing them. Furthermore, pull-ups are highly versatile, and you can combine them with various types of cross-training exercises for an effective workout.
If you are tired of running, walking and jogging every other day, then it’s time to switch to something more refreshing and exciting. And this is where box jumps come in. While they might appear simple to do, box jumps are extremely effective when it comes to shaping the body. Since they involve jumping and landing on your feet, they will increase strength in your legs and feet, tone your calves and build upper body strength.
Also, if you are trying to lose weight, then box jumps can help you to achieve your goals within a shorter period. When you are doing box jumps at a high intensity, your body will burn approximately 800 to 1000 calories per hour, compared to around 300 calories that you can burn per hour when walking. Box jumps also require energy to perform them. Therefore, your body will be forced to burn fats before carbohydrates, which will go a long way in helping you to shed excess calories.
Another benefit of including box jumps in your weekly workout is that they will enhance your athletic capabilities. Whether you like to play basketball, or you spend your free time surfing or skateboarding, box jumps can help to improve your speed, endurance, and vertical jump. They can also boost your coordination, thus helping you to excel in a wide range of sports. And besides that, box jumps are fun to do.
Simple yet effective, planks are bodyweight exercises that help to build core strength and stability. It’s also a popular pose in various yoga routines. Planks engage and strengthen various muscle groups in your body such as the rectus abdominus, the transverse abdominus as well as the external oblique muscles. Planks will also activate your glutes to an extent. Strengthening these muscle groups will lead to improved athletic performance as well as increased ability to lift heavier weights. Planks will also help to firm and tone the butt.
Another important reason why you should be doing planks regularly is that they will strengthen the muscles in your entire back, thus helping to reduce the risk of back and spinal injuries. Regular planking will also improve your posture significantly, improve your balance and help you to become more flexible. Therefore, if your work involves standing all sitting the entire day, then you should incorporate planks into your routine.
Advantages of Bodyweight Training
Bodyweight exercises involve using your strength to lift, move, exercise or train different parts of your body, as opposed to using fancy or bulky gym equipment. There are many benefits to doing bodyweight exercises. For instance, if it’s done right, bodyweight training can help to improve strength, power, as well as endurance. Other advantages of bodyweight exercises include:
- Highly cost-effective: Bodyweight training provides an inexpensive method of working out. You don’t need to pay for a gym membership or purchase expensive workout equipment. Planks, push-ups, burpees, and squats don’t require any equipment. You will just need to purchase a good pair of training shoes, and you are good to go.
- Time-saving: When it comes to working out in a gym, you may sometimes have to wait for someone else to finish using some workout equipment. But with bodyweight training, you will not encounter such issues, since you are simply exercising your body. Also, transitioning from one exercise to the other is fast, which helps your body to burn calories faster.
- Convenient: One of the main reasons why some people opt for bodyweight training is that it’s highly convenient. You can accomplish an effective and thorough workout in a hotel room, your living room, or even outdoors when you are camping with your friends.
- Versatile: Most exercise machines that you will find in the gym, tend to have a limited range of use. Bodyweight exercises, on the other hand, don’t have such limitations. You can easily modify them as you wish, depending on your skills, and the muscles that you want to train.
As you can see, bodyweight training is fun, productive and cost-effective. You can train anywhere and anytime and you will still enjoy a full-body workout, without stepping inside a gym. Therefore, just because you don’t have money to pay for a gym membership or you don’t live close to a gym should not be an excuse for not working out.