Who needs the cumbersome weights and fitness gear when you can get a solid workout with just your bodyweight? Working with your own body weight is not only effective and will show physical results, it’s also a surefire way to banish excuses around exercise; money, time, lack of equipment, and so on and get to feeling and looking better. When you do bodyweight exercise routines you streamline and tone your muscles to their truest form, while also elongating your muscles and working from the inside out.
Below are a series of bodyweight fitness routines you can try from home, while on the road, or when you’re craving something a little different than the gym. Get help staying fit for life because these workouts are available to you whenever you need an extra push and will make you feel strong by simply using your weight and determination.
Fire up the Core
Having a solid core is the foundation for all aligned and strength. While you may find that you’re getting to it reluctantly, you can learn how to make the time for 10-20 core exercises at least three times a week and you will see and feel a result.
Plank Pose: Plank can be held for 30 to 60 seconds, (or longer if you’re feeling strong… make it a mini-competition with yourself to see if you can hold plank longer than you did a week ago!) While holding plank, ground down through the L shape of your hands and keep your gaze forward in front of you, to release tension from the neck and spine. Keep your hips lifted and press your heels to the back of the room, keeping your legs straight and strong. Now breathe, keep your navel locked and engaged, no sagging in the hips.
L Seat Lifts: Sitting with your feet out in front of you, place your hands to your sides. Shift any “extra padding” from your glutes, now using your hands press up lifting your hips up and off of the earth. You’re working out your lower abdominals and strengthening your arms. Once hips are lifted hold for five seconds, then repeat 5-10 times.
Flutter Kicks: Lower down to your back, palms facing down. Keep your gaze down the midline of your body and bring your feet to hover up and off the earth while sealing your lower back to the ground. Beat your feet up and down or back and forth to fire up your inner thighs. Try kicking for 30 seconds to a minute.
Shoulders and Arms
There’s always a classic pushup that is effective; however, it can get boring. Try a couple variations to access all parts of the arm muscles and to strengthen your shoulders and back.
Tricep Dips: Going into a reverse table top position, fingers spinning forward. Lift your hips and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. Now bend both elbows to a 90-degree angle, dip down, then up and repeat. Try to keep your core engaged and hips lifted, sculpting your triceps and glutes.
Arm Circles: We once read once that Jennifer Aniston was the master “arm circling,” using her own bodyweight to get her beautifully sculpted, yogi-arms. Who knows if it’s true, but we like the idea. We digress. Extend your arms to a T at shoulder height. Engage all of your muscles, so nothing is loose or hanging then with arms straight make tiny clockwise circles for twenty to thirty seconds. Then reverse.
Diamond Pushups: For a modification you can release your knees to the ground. Make a diamond shape with your hands and as you would lower in a regular pushup extend down, then up. Repeat 10-15 times.
Superman: Lower yourself to your belly, gaze is down. Extend your arms in front of you while extending your legs straight behind you. Keep your torso still, then lift both arms and legs simultaneously, keeping your muscles engaged. Release and repeat.
Cobra Pose: Stay belly down and bring your arms to “Grasshoper” wings at your side. With little to no weight in your hands peel your chest up and off of the ground, using the strength of your lower back. Little to no weight in your hands. Keep wrinkles out of your neck, long straight spine. Repeat 10-15 times.
Donkey Kicks: You may not be ready for a handstand yet, but you can get a solid arm, ab, shoulder workout with small donkey kicks. Start in a push-up position, press your hands into the ground in-line with your shoulders, core engaged, kick both feet up towards your glutes, knees bent. Gently release back to the starting position and repeat.
Now it’s time to learn how to get the trunk and lower extremities strong.
Lunges: Stand with the hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step the right leg forward and lower your body until the right knee is bent at least 90 degrees, hovering over the ground. Keep your knee stacked over your ankle for alignment. Return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg. You can also do tiny pulses while in the lung for a deeper workout.
Lung Jumps: With the same alignment as above, add a little cardio-burst by jump-switching from left to right leg. Stabilize at the bottom of each switch. Repeat 10-20 times.
Squats: Feet come hip distance apart, slowly bend hips and knees to thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep heels pressed to the floor. Press back to standing position. Repeat.
You can also try squat variations to work into different parts of the legs and glutes. Variations include; squat jumps, pistol squats- bring one leg straight in front of you, testing balance. Finally, plie squats, heels come to touch, toes out (like a Ballerina,) continue on as you would a regular squat.
Wall Sit: All you need is a wall! Press your back/shoulders into the wall and slide your back down the wall as if you were going to sit into a chair. Knees are directly stacked over the ankles. Hold each set for 60 seconds. You can also extend your arms outward, engaging your triceps to add some extra heat to the body.
As you can see there’s a wide variety of bodyweight workout routines that can be used to ramp up your fitness. Try out the prompts above and add in variations. You can also combine some of the work outs to feel the exercise from head to toe. For example; lunges with arm circles. Or punches, boxer-style. When you engage all of your muscles you’re able to fully tone the body without any props needed. Remember always to keep your core fired up, which will also improve your posture. When you start to feel tired come back to your breath, which will help you work through the internal/mental or physical storms that may be daunting when you’re working out solo!