10 Best Bodyweight Exercises For a Full Body Workout

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There’s no shortage of exercise equipment today that can help you burn calories and build muscle mass. However, the best one comes at no cost: your own body. Whether you’re working out at home, in a hotel room or in a park, your body has everything you need for a total body workout. Bodyweight exercises are also a great way to break from your normal weight training routine. It’s also a great option if you walk into the gym and you see every single bench, machine and other equipment is taken. So here are 20 best bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere without the use of any equipment.

1. Squats

basic bodyweight exercises

Squats are a functional exercise since it mimics a movement we do all day long. The movement works every muscle in your lower body. That includes developing muscle strength in your glutes, quads and hamstrings, and improving flexibility and range of movement of the ankles and hips. And you also get an extra kick for the core and back.

You can change the intensity of the exercise by either increasing the speed for a higher heart rate or by going slower for increased duration of muscle engagement.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Point the toes slightly out. Clasp your hands and hold them in front of your chest. Alternatively, you can straighten them out in front of you and keep parallel to the ground.
  2. Send hips back and start bending your knees. Slowly lower yourself down as if you’re sitting down on an imaginary chair. Keep your knees from going too far forward. They shouldn’t stick out past your toes.
  3. Go down until your hip joint is lower than your knees. You can also go lower.
  4. Keep everything tight, push through your heels and bring your body back to the starting position.

2. Lunges

Forward lunges also make an effective lower body bodyweight exercise. The movement employs your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles. It also involves your abs and lower back, which it uses for stability.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Engage your core and make a big step forward with one leg.
  3. Lower your hips until the front thigh is parallel to the floor. Your front knee should be stacked over the ankle and the back knee should be hovering just above the ground. Both of them should be bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push through the heel of the front foot and return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

3. Push Ups

10 best bodyweight exercises

Push-ups are the best bodyweight exercise for the upper body. It works your chest, back, shoulders, triceps and also your core.

After some time, you might find doing the basic push-ups just too monotonous. But don’t worry, there are plenty of variations that you can do to keep things fresh. For example, you can do one-legged push-ups, elevated push-ups or plyometric push-ups.

How To Do It:

  1. Begin by getting yourself into a plank position. Arms and legs straight with your hands placed directly under your shoulders.
  2. Tense every muscle in your body to keep a straight line for head to heels.
  3. Slowly lower your body to the ground until your chest is almost touching the floor. As you bend your elbows, tuck them in toward your sides. Make sure not to flare them.
  4. Push through your palms to extend the arms and return to the starting position.

4. Bench Dips

best bodyweight workouts

Bench dips are some of the best upper body exercises you can do. It does require equipment, a weight bench in particular, but you can use a chair, a park bench or any other elevated area.

This exercises mainly works triceps and shoulders. If you want to change the emphasis, you can try different grips. A wider grip will target more the chest, while a narrower grip will put more emphasis on the triceps.

How To Do It:

  1. With a bench behind your back, grip your hands onto its edge. Bend your hips and extend your legs perpendicular to your torso, planting your feet flat on the ground about a meter away from the bench.
  2. Slowly lower your body by bending at the elbows, stopping at approximately 90 degrees. Keep the shoulders pulled back, the elbows as close as possible and the forearms pointing down.
  3. Extend the arms to bring your torso up again, returning you to the starting position.

5. Pull Ups

list of bodyweight exercises

Pull-ups are also an efficient way of toning the upper body. You use your arms and back to lift up your body and you also engage your abs to prevent the lower back from arching. Alternatively, if you want to put more emphasis on the arms, you can do chin ups by gripping the bar with your palms facing up instead of down.

You might need to get a bit creative in finding where you can do them since you need something you can pull up on. For example, you can playground equipment in the park or the opening of your house.

How To Do It:

  1. Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip or slightly wider and your palms facing away from you.
  2. Hang with your arms straight and your legs off the floor.
  3. Pull your shoulders blades back, clench your butt and tighten your abs. Pull yourself up until you get your chin above the bar. Focus on pulling the bar down.
  4. Make a slight pause and then lower yourself back down.

6. Burpees

upper body bodyweight exercises

Burpees are a great bodyweight exercise for toning the entire body. It engages both your lower and upper body, as well as your core. On top of that, it also involves almost all the aspects of fitness. It provides endurance, cardio and strength building.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand straight with a shoulder-width stance.
  2. Drop into a squat and place your hands on the ground in front of you.
  3. Kick your feet back and move into a raised plank position.
  4. Lower your body until your chest is touching the floor and then push back up into the plank position.
  5. Jump your feet back toward the hands.
  6. Leap up as high as possible extending your arms straight above you.

7. Plank

home bodyweight workout

Planks are also a whole body exercise. Firstly, it works the muscles of your abs and lower back. And secondly, it engages the shoulders, glutes, hip and arms, which work as stabilizers.

How To Do It:

  1. Start in a push-up position. Then lower your forearms to the floor, positioning your elbows right under your shoulders. The arms should also be parallel to the body.
  2. Keep your feet flexed with your toes on the floor. Your body should maintain a straight line from the heels to the top of your head.
  3. Look down at the floor. Don’t gaze forward or up to avoid straining your neck.
  4. Draw your navel toward your spine, tighten your abs and hold the position.

8. Bulgarian Split Squat

simple bodyweight workout

The Bulgarian split squat is an excellent way to build lower-body strength and improve hip mobility. And it does all that without putting too much pressure on your knees.

All you need to perform this bodyweight exercise is an elevated platform, on which you’ll be able to rest your back foot. It needs to be 12 inches tall, so you can use a yoga block, a step, a bench or any other platform that you can find.

How To Do It:

  1. Place the top of your back foot on top of a platform placed behind you.
  2. Keep your front foot straight and make sure that it’s far enough so that when you lower into a squat, your knee will be right above your ankle. Make sure that it’s not beyond your toes.
  3. Keep your torso upright and the core braced. Bend your front knee and lower your pelvis toward the ground until your thigh is almost horizontal.
  4. Press through your front heel to return to the starting position.

9. Mountain Climbers

best bodyweight workout program

Mountain climbers do a great job at targeting almost every muscle group in your body. It engages your arms, shoulders, quads and your core. It also gets your heart rate up, blasting the calories.

How To Do It:

  1. Start by getting into a high plank position with your hands below your shoulders and your body in one straight line.
  2. Pull your right toward your chest, engaging your core and making sure that your body is not sagging.
  3. Return the right leg to the extended position and switch legs, bringing the left knee forward.
  4. Continue switching knees. If you want to get your heart rate up, keep switching knees as quickly as you can.

10. Bicycle Crunches

lower body bodyweight exercises

Bicycle crunches are one more excellent bodyweight exercise that targets your entire your core. The lifted head and shoulder blades engage your rectus abdominis, the leg movements engage the transverse abdominis and the twisting of the upper body engages the external obliques.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your hips and knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Place your hands behind your head and keep them wide open.
  3. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and gaze slightly forward.
  4. Twist your upper body to the right. At the same time, straight out the left leg and bring the right knee toward the left elbow.
  5. Switch sides and repeat the movement on the left side.

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