Bodyweight Workout: Top 10 Bodyweight Exercises For Beginners

No Gym? No Problem! 

Here Are The 10 Best Bodyweight Exercises Every Beginner Needs To Be Doing….

Bodyweight Exercises For Beginners

Why Bodyweight Workouts/Exercises Are A Great Alternative To The Gym

 
The pros of bodyweight exercises are obvious. You need nothing but your own body (and maybe one or two pieces of equipment), can choose your own workout location and train whenever you want. A good bodyweight workout routine will get you in shape while building muscle and losing fat. However, in order to create an effective workout that safe and appropriate for your skill level, you need the right exercises otherwise you will see little to no results and quickly lose motivation.
 
Compound vs. Isolation Movements
 
If you read my Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Building Muscle you know that if you want to see results at the gym, compound exercises are the way to go. They work several muscles at once, giving you the best muscle engagement measured by the time you spend training. The same applies to bodyweight exercises. Fortunately, most of the traditional bodyweight exercises – like the push-up – qualify as compound movements and share the same benefits. 
 
What A Bodyweight Workout Should Look Like
 
Depending on whether you want to build muscle or lose fat, your bodyweight workout will look more like a traditional gym routine, where you target one or two muscle groups with different exercises from different angles (for more muscle growth), or like a high intensity cardio session, where you complete a circuit of exercises with short pauses in between them (to burn more calories). 
 
 

The 10 Best Bodyweight Exercises

(in no particular order) 

 
 

1. Push-Up 

Targeted Muscle – Chest (Upper and lower pectorals)
Other Muscles – Triceps, Shoulders
Force – Push
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
 
 
Push-up
 
 
 
Probably the most common bodyweight exercise out there. It will help you develop more upper body strength and there are variations for all strength levels from very easy to difficult.
 
 
Here is how to do a perfect push-up:
 
Position
1. Lie on the floor face down.
2. Place hands somewhat wider than shoulder width and hold torso up at arm’s length.
 
Execution
3. Keep your back straight and bend your elbows until your chest is about to touch the floor. Inhale during this motion.

4. Exhale and push upper body up back to starting position. Squeeze your chest while doing this. 

5. Pause at starting position and lower yourself downward again. Repeat.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
Wide Push-Up:
Same as normal push-up, but with your hands few inches wider apart. This variation will target your chest more and your triceps less. 
 
Exercise Ball Push-up:
Position your feet on top of a normal exercise ball or a flat bench, allowing your body to be elevated. The higher the elevation of your feet, the higher the difficulty of the exercise.
 
 
 

2. Bodyweight Squat 

Targeted Muscle – Quadriceps
Other Muscles – Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes and Lower Back
Force – Push
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
 
Bodyweight Squats
 
 
 
Here is how to do a perfect squat:
 
Position
1. Stand up straight. Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
2. Put your hands to your sides or behind your head.
 
Execution
3. Slowly lower your upper body bending your knees while inhaling. Stop when your thighs are a little more than parallel to the floor.
4. While exhaling, straighten your legs and raise your upper body to the initial position. Repeat.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
One-legged Squat:
Same as the normal squat but you’ll be standing on just one foot. This variation can be difficult for beginners. 
 
Jump Squat:
When going up, add a jump at the top of the movement and go into another squat as you land on the ground. This will work you calves and train for explosiveness.
 
 
 
 

3. Pull-Up 

Targeted Muscle – Back (latissimus dorsi)
Other Muscles – Biceps
Force – Pull
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
 
Pull Up
 
 
Here is how to do a perfect pull-up:
 
Position
1. Grasp the bar using a wider than shoulder width grip. Your palms should be facing forward. 
2. Hold the bar (arms extended) and stick your chest out. Your torso should be leaning back around 30 degrees.
 
Execution
3. By using mainly your back muscles, pull your upper body up until your chin is above the bar. 
4. When raising your body, draw your shoulders down and keep your elbows in a vertical line to the bar. 
5. Pause for a second and return to the initial position. Repeat.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
Different Hand Placement:
– Palms facing away (Pronated)
– Palms facing you (Supinated)
– Mixed grip 
 
Uneven pull-up:
Grab a towel hanging over the bar with one hand and the bar with the other. This variation stresses the arm holding the bar more than the other.
 
 
 

4. Lunges 

Targeted Muscle – Quadriceps
Other Muscles -Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes
Force – Push
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
Bodyweight-lunges
 
 
Here is how to do perfect lunges:
 
Position
1. Stand up straight. Your feet should be shoulder width.
 
Execution
2. While inhaling, take a large step forward and flex your knees to drop the hips. The rear knee should almost touch the floor and your front knee should be above the front foot. 
3. Now, extend both knees and push through the heel of your front foot to raise your body back up. Exhale during this motion. Step forward and repeat with opposite leg.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
Split Squats:
Same motion, but your body remains in one place. This variation is more suitable for beginners.
 
 
 

5. Crunches 

Targeted Muscle – Abdominals
Force – Pull
Type Of Exercise  – Isolation
 
 
 
Ab Crunch
 
 
 
Here is how to do a perfect abdominal crunch:
 
Position
1. Lie flat on your back. Your lower legs should be resting on a bench or some other elevated surface and your hands positioned on either side of your head.
 
Execution
2. Flex your waist to raise shoulders off the floor. Make sure that your lower back remains on the floor and contract your abdominals hard at the top of the motion.
3. Maintain the contraction for a moment and lower your shoulders to the initial motion.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
There are countless variations of the normal ab crunch. Popular ones include performing it on a decline bench or on top of an exercise ball.
 
 
 

6. Dip 

Targeted Muscle – Triceps
Other Muscles – Shoulders, Chest
Force – Push
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
Dips
 
 

Here is how to do perfect dips:
 
Position
1. Hold your body above the bars. Your arms should be almost locked.
 
Execution
2. Begin to lower your upper body downward until you create a 90 degree angle between your forearm and upper arm. Inhale during this motion and keep your elbows close to your body.
3. Raise your body back to the initial position by contracting your triceps. Exhale during this motion. Repeat.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
Normal dips can be difficult for beginners. If you are having difficulties, try Bench Dips, which target the same muscle groups, but place less weight on your arms (and thus your triceps). Instead of using parallel bars, you will place your legs on a bench and hold on to the edge (hands at shoulder width) of a second bench parallel to the first. Your legs should be extended forward and bent at the waist. 
 
 
 Bench Dips
 
 
 

7. Burpee 

Targeted Muscle – Quadriceps
Other Muscles – Hamstrings, Calves, Triceps, Shoulders
Force – Push
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
Burpees
 
 
 
Here is how to do a perfect burpee:
 
Position
1. Stand up straight with legs shoulder-width apart.
 
Execution
2. Bend over, squat down and position your hands on the floor.
3. With your upper body in place, kick both legs back. Your thighs and stomach should now be on the floor and your elbows bent.
4. Now, press up your upper body as if you were doing a push-up. Use the momentum and bring your feet under your hips and stand.
5. Rise up to the initial position.
 
 
 

8. Body Row 

Targeted Muscle – Back
Other Muscles – Biceps
Force – Pull
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
 
Body Row
 
 
 
Here is how to do a perfect body row:
 
Position
1. Lie on your back underneath a horizontal bar. Grasp the bar with a wider than shoulder-width grip. Your palms should be facing forward. Make sure to keep your back straight and your arms fully extended. Both heels should be on the ground.
 
Execution
2. Now flex your elbows and pull your chest towards the bar. Exhale and retract your shoulder blades during the motion.
3. Pause for a moment at the top and lower yourself back to the original position. Repeat.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
In case you can’t find a horizontal bar at the correct height, try holding on to the edges of a table.
 
 
 

9. Supermans 

Targeted Muscle – Lower Back
Other Muscles – Glutes, Hamstrings
Force – Pull
Type Of Exercise  – Compound
 
 
 
Supermans
 
 
 
 
Here is how to do perfect supermans:
 
Position
1. Lie prone on an exercise mat or the floor. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you.
 
Execution
2. Slowly raise your legs, arms and chest off the floor, while exhaling. 
3. Hold this contraction for 2 seconds, while squeezing your lower back.
4. Slowly bring down your legs, arms and chest back to the original position. Inhale during this motion. Repeat.
 
 
Possible Variations: 
 
You can also do supermans using only one arm and leg at a time. Start by elevating only the right arm, leg and side of your chest. Lower them back to the original position and do the same with the left side. 
 
 
 
 

10. Glute Bridge

Targeted Muscle – Glutes
Other Muscles – Hamstrings
Force – Push
Type Of Exercise  – Isolation
 
 
Glute Bridges
 
 
 
Here is how to do perfect supermans:
 
Position
1. Lie on your back with your arms to each side of your hips, your knees bent and both feet around shoulder width apart.
 
Execution
2. Raise your hips off the floor, pushing mainly through your heels. Exhale during this motion. Make sure to keep your back straight and hold the contracted position for a moment. 
3. Inhale and return to the original position 
 
 
Possible Variations: 
The glute bridge can also be done keeping one leg straight and the other bent (called the single leg hip bridge). 
 
 
 

Feel Free To Ask Questions And Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Below!

 

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