5 Essential Bodyweight Exercises & How to Optimize Your Workouts
Bodyweight exercises are extremely common among both newbies and advanced users for some obvious reasons.
They don't require any equipment or weights whatsoever, so they make a cost-efficient way to get into bodybuilding, fitness, or weight loss.
Besides, with right essential fitness exercises, you can transform your body in the comfort of your home. The only weight they rely on is your body's – nothing else. Forget about dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, and other similar things.
Implementing such workouts into your routine will allow you to get fit and reach your goals without needing a gym or spending money on various tools.
Here’s what you need to know to gain as much as possible from this experience – read on for 5 essential bodyweight exercises.
What Is a Bodyweight Workout?
The bodyweight workout is extremely varied and obviously depends on your goals. The purpose is to do everything without investing in equipment. For instance, you don’t need anything for a planche lean or some push ups, do you?
Push ups work on the chest and arms – no dumbbells or barbells required. Most cardio workouts can also be considered bodyweight workouts – just go outside and run for an hour, rather than on a treadmill.
Just because you don’t need weights, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go to a gym. There are certain elements that promote a bodyweight workout, but you may have to purchase them separately.
Take pull ups, for example. They only require your bodyweight. But then, you need a solid bar to support you – if you do it at home, you may need to purchase one of those door frame bars – lots of space in a gym, though.
Top 5 Bodyweight Workouts
Unless you work on a particular muscle group, you want to target every possible muscle when going for bodyweight workouts. Here are some of the most complete exercises.
There are more varieties to the classic plank, and there are some good reasons wherefore they are so popular.
A well-executed plank will target every single muscle in your core – it is a 360-degree workout.
Core strength is critical for your lifestyle – it controls the posture, but it also supports the spine and allows you to engage in all kinds of activities, not to mention, it could be your ticket to building a nice set of 10 pack abs or 12 pack abs if you're out top build the ideal beach body.
While mostly focused on the core, planks will also target your arms and legs.
Here is a video demonstration on how to do planks
You don't necessarily have to go outside and run for cardio. Instead, burpees can sort you out in the comfort of your home. This is a full-body exercise and requires no equipment whatsoever – just a bit of space.
Apart from letting you get in some cardio after your other exercises, burpees will also improve strength and target most of the muscle groups in the body.
They represent a mix of jump squats, push ups and planks – what else can you ask for? Besides, a few sets will most likely cover you in sweat.
Here is a video demonstration on how to do burpees
Squats are among the 5 essential bodyweight exercises you need to include in your workouts. They hit every muscle in the lower body – starting from the waist, building up your quads, and going all the way to your toes.
And the good part is, there's almost no limit to how far you can go with this one, I have previously done squats everyday for 3 months, and at some point bumped things up to hit 1000 squats a day.
There are more variations – make sure that no matter what you choose, you perform the exercise correctly. There are a few steps you need to follow – lift, tuck, and lower.
Basically, the chest must stay up, the pelvis should be tucked in, and the butt goes to maximum 90 degrees from the knees – lower is better.
Here is a video demonstration on how to do squats
This is one of the most common moves out there. Whether you are in a gym or at home, in the middle of your workout, or completing a workout, push ups will never disappoint. Besides, these exercises became the staple workout throughout quarantine. That's what makes push ups different from planks, for example, is almost anybody can do them.
If you think about it, a push up is a moving plank. You basically work on your whole core, but you also target the arms and chest at the same time – what could be better than that?
There are more variations – different positions and movements will most likely target different muscles in your arms.
Even if you go to a gym and use all sorts of equipment, push ups should never be overlooked.
Video: Push Ups
Here is a video demonstration on how to do push ups properly
Mountain climbers represent another top-notch exercise that will strengthen your core and burn fat like there is no tomorrow. If you are looking for a worthy addition to your essential core workouts, this is it right here.
This is similar to the classic plank, but you can turn it into an intense type of cardio plank. Basically, hold a plank while trying to move one knee at a time towards the chest.
Your abs muscles will be engaged straight away. You will start sweating, and your heart rate will go up straight away.
Again, the exercise has a few interesting variations. You can slow down a bit and burn fat in a low impact move, but you can also twist a little and smash your obliques.
Video: Mountain Climbers
Here is a video demonstration on how to do mountain climbers
Still undecided about the best bodyweight exercises?
Can Bodyweight Exercise Help You Build Muscles?
Absolutely. Bodyweight exercises will build muscle in no time if you follow the same gym principles – increase the amount of reps, rest less, bring in some variations, and train to failure before completing workouts. calisthenics can have the same effects as using weights for exercising.
What Is the Single Best Bodyweight Exercise?
The classic push up is probably the single best bodyweight exercise because it fires your core, chest, and every muscle in your arms. It improves balance and endurance too.
In the end, a bodyweight workout is clearly a plus and will work wonders on your body, regardless of your goals. Be it a cardio workout or a muscle building one, there are alternatives to pretty much every machine in a gym.
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