List of Bodyweight Exercises
Just because you might not have access to a gym or other exercise equipment doesn't mean you can't get a good sweat in. Bodyweight training is an excellent way to work out while using minimal equipment. Here's a list of some of the best bodyweight exercises out there.
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Butt kicks
- Push ups
- Tricep dips
- Wall sits
Whether it's before or after, stretching is essential to ensuring you get the most out of your workout. Stretching has shown to help improve flexibility, prevent injury, release tension in the body, and much more. Here are the stretches that you can do either before or after a workout.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
This stretch is an easy one for loosening up the back of your legs, preparing you for anything that works your lower body. To execute it, simply stand tall and then lower your upper body while keeping your legs as straight as possible. Wrap your hands around your ankles while bent over and then rise up when done.
Opposite Hand/Toe Touches
If you need to warm up and loosen your legs a little more, this exercise will surely get your blood flowing and prepare for your workout. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, hold one arm out, and kick up with the opposite foot. Keep alternating feet and hands until you're warmed up.
Chest and Side Stretch
These two stretches are fairly similar and should help open up the entirety of your upper body. For the chest stretch, clasp your hands together behind your back and push your arms back until you can feel some tension in your chest. For your side stretch, raise one arm above your head and lean to the opposite side. Repeat for the other side.
Every exercise serves a different purpose, whether they're meant to work a specific body part or be done at a certain intensity. These exercises are most commonly performed to help get the body ready for a workout.
There are few better exercises for getting warm than jumping jacks. It works all your muscles and gets blood flowing almost immediately. To do a jumping jack, start upright and then jump. When you jump, spread your legs about shoulder-width apart and raise your arms up. Jump back into an upright position to finish the movement.
This cardio exercise is a simple yet effective way to warm up at a high intensity. When performed at a fast rate, it can help burn fat while also working your core and hip flexors. To do high knees, stand hip-width apart and lift one knee up to your chest. Alternate legs at a running pace.
This workout is more than just a funny name. Butt kicks are another great cardio workout that activates your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. It can be done at a running pace as well like high knees. To do butt kicks, stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise one heel until it hits the back of your butt. Alternate between legs to stay warm.
Upper Body Exercises
Strengthening your arms, chest, and shoulders isn't something that can only be done with weights. There's a wide spectrum of workouts one can do that work all the muscles in your upper body. Here's a few to get you started.
This is one of the most commonly done bodyweight exercises. This workout is great for strengthening your core and your upper body, working muscles in your chest and arms. To do a push-up, start with your palms on the ground shoulder-width apart and your feet next to each other. Slowly lower your body to the floor and then press upward with your arms until they are fully extended.
This exercise is similar to a push-up, but is adjusted slightly to focus more on your shoulders. In order to do a pike push-up, start in the push-up position and scoot your feet forward until your hips are in the air. Once you are in position, do the same motion as you would in a regular push-up.
An exercise that does require a flat object to rest your hands on, like a box or stair step, tricep dips are a great arm workout that you can do almost anywhere. To do a dip, find an elevated flat surface and place your hands behind you on the surface, fingers toward the body. Rise off the floor and then bend your elbows so you lower yourself to the ground, stopping right before you hit it. Lift yourself back up to finish one rep.
Lower Body Exercises
There is an age-old saying that one should never skip leg day, and there's a good reason for that. It strengthens muscles beyond just the legs, helps you earn a higher calorie burn, and improves the balance in your body. Here are some exercises to ensure you never miss a leg day again.
This is one of the most compact lower body exercises one can do, working the majority of the muscles in the legs and even back and core. To do a proper squat, set your feet shoulder-width, "sit back" by moving your butt backward until you're parallel to the ground, tense your abs, and then rise up.
Lunges are another essential lower body exercise that tones and strengthens your legs and backside. To do a lunge, step forward and lower your hips until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. While keeping your upper body straight and engaging the core, rise back up.
For this exercise, all you need is a flat surface to put your back against and soon enough you'll be putting your legs and abs to the ultimate test. To perform a wall sit, simply put your back to the wall and adjust until you are in a sitting position. Hold yourself in that position and rise up when done.
Exercising your core muscles, which include your abdominal muscles (abs), lower back, and oblique muscles, is an essential thing to do for your body. Your core is something that is both extremely important for overall health and also easy to exercise. Here are some exercises to help you get started.
Planks are an excellent way to exercise your core muscles and can be easily adjusted based on your skill and fitness level. Most often, when people refer to planks, it's when your arms and forearms are on the ground facing forward. To do a plank, put your forearms and knees on the ground and then extend your legs. Adjust your body until it's straight and parallel to the floor, activating your core muscles. Hold until you're done.
This is simply a variation of planks, which we just touched on above. To do a side plank, you'll put one forearm on the ground, turn your body to one side, keep your feet together on the ground, and then raise your hips so your body is straight. This will help engage and strengthen your oblique and ab muscle strength.
A classic in the training world, crunches help strengthen your inner core. Lay down on your back, bend your knees, and cross your arms across your chest. Tighten your core and lift your upper back and then slowly lower back down. While this is a solid exercise, most doctors and trainers recommend you do it carefully if you suffer from lower back pain.