Do you want to lose weight? Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Do you want to improve your health? Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Do you want to reduce pain, ward off injury, and feel stronger and more confident? Yep, you guessed it: Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly!
Bodyweight workouts are an excellent way to add strength training to any fitness regime, whether you are just beginning out or more advanced. Concentrating on strength moves, in addition to routine cardio training, will support you build muscle, decrease your risk for diabetes, enhance your overall mood, and help you burn calories more efficiently.
Bodyweight exercises are also effective in promoting bone health. Weak muscles can contribute to weakness and a greater risk of injury. When you strengthen the muscles in your body, and particularly those encompassing your joints, it can reduce pain and improve your overall stability. The National Osteoporosis Foundation also notes the benefits of weight-bearing workouts to help build and maintain bone density.
The Best Bodyweight Workouts
The benefits: Works your lower core and lower body
How to do a Squat
- Start standing tall with a chair or an exercise bench behind you.
- Feet should be lined up below hips, with toes pointing out slightly.
- Push hips back and bend knees to lower butt until it touches the chair.
- Make sure the chest stays lifted.
- Push through heels to return to standing.
- Try to do 2 sets of 12 reps.
When that gets easy: Ditch the bench and aim to get low! Try to bring thighs parallel to the floor without allowing the knees to push too far over your toes.
The benefit: Improves your total body conditioning through this cardiovascular and strength move
How to do a Burpee
- Start standing.
- Bend knees and place palms on the floor.
- Step or hop feet back until you’re in a plank push-up position. Pause for one second, then step or hop feet next to hands and stand up.
- Try to do 2 sets of 6 reps.
When that gets easy: Add a jump when you stand up.
3. Mountain Climbers
The benefits: Works your abdominal muscles (abs) with an added element of cardiovascular conditioning, too. Strong abs are essential for good posture and help with balance.
How to do Mountain Climbers
- Kneel on the floor, with palms on the ground directly below shoulders.
- Keep arms straight and extend legs behind body, creating a long line from head to heels (your starting position).
- Lift right foot off the floor and bring your right knee underneath your chest. Pause, then return right foot to starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Try to do 2 sets of 12 reps, alternating sides with each rep.
When that gets easy: Remove pause and pick up the pace. Imagine that you’re running in place but in a plank position.
The benefits: Strengthens your triceps and shoulders
How to do Dips
- Sit on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Place hands behind the body, with palms on the ground, fingers facing toward butt.
- Lift hips a few inches off ground. Bend elbows to lower body toward the ground.
- Make sure elbows are pointing directly behind the body, not flaring out to sides.
- Straighten arms to press back up.
- Try to do 2 sets of 12 reps.
When that gets easy: Use a sturdy bench or chair! Place hands on the raised surface instead of the floor. This will help you move through a deeper range of motion. Aim to bend your elbows until they create 90-degree angles, and make sure your back stays close to the bench.
The benefits: Strengthens your entire upper body — abs, arms, back, chest
How to do a Push-up
- Place palms on top of a sturdy bench and walk legs behind body, creating a long line from head to heels.
- Shoulders should be directly over wrists.
- Keep core tight and bend arms to lower chest toward the top of a bench while keeping elbows close to the torso.
- Push through palms to straighten arms.
- Do 2 sets of 12 reps.
When that gets easy: Ditch the bench and try this on the floor. Start in a plank position with arms straight. Lower knees to ground while keeping shoulders directly above wrists—this is your new starting position.