With most people around the world already settling into this new life of self isolation and social distancing we find ourselves in, a lot of sacrifices have had to be made. We can no longer visit our friends and family as we want to, or go out on dates and other social functions. Basically all kinds of gatherings have been outright banned, and establishments that have been deemed as rendering non-essential services shutdown.
One of those establishments unfortunately is the gym. Fitness buffs know the benefit of having an active gym membership: you get access to all the equipment, not to mention the overall motivation you receive from just being there. But the fact that you no longer have access to all that does not mean you still can’t get an effective workout at home. This is where bodyweight exercises come in.
A bodyweight exercise is any in which the primary force of resistance is the performer’s own body weight. This is opposed to exercises that use free weights like dumbbells, bar bells or kettle bells for resistance, or other specialized equipment that can typically only be found in a gym. This is what makes bodyweight exercises easy to perform from anywhere. So here are 15 that you can incorporate into your workout today.
1. Jumping Jacks
Typically reserved as a warmup or cool down exercise, jumping jacks are a great way to get the heart racing and the blood pumping. And that is how you burn those calories, by maintaining an elevated heart rate for a sustained period of time.
2. Running in Place
Not being able to go out on a morning run doesn’t mean you can’t have one in the confines of your bedroom walls. So put on some music and your running shoes, and be sure to bring your knees up high as you run in place, for greater intensity.
3. Step-Ups & Stair Climb
For those that happen to have a flight of stairs in their house, running up and down those steps can prove to be an effective form of cardio. Just think of the iconic training sequence from Rocky and you’ll have an idea of how stairs can be added to your workouts.
Squats are a great lower body exercise that targets the muscles in the quadriceps and glutes. Be sure to brace yourself for some major soreness the following morning though, especially if this is your first time performing the movement in a long time.
Much like the squats, lunges also target your lower body muscle groups, namely the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. It is important to hit these and all muscle groups if you want that perfect symmetry between your upper and lower body.
A full body exercise, burpees incorporate a wide range of movements to target muscles in both your upper and lower body. They also serve as an effective form of cardio, with the transition between movements serving to put the heart and lungs to work.
7. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are yet another full body exercise that doubles as a form of cardio. The primary muscles worked include those in the arms, shoulders and the muscles in the abdominals, for that nice, chiseled look most people are after.
Speaking of chiseled abs, no other exercise targets them as intensely as crunches do. An evolution from the classic sit-ups, crunches place constant pressure on the muscles surrounding your stomach, and can over time contribute to the development of a six pack.
Planks are another great exercise that targets the abdominals, with several variations that work everything from the obliques to the abs themselves. And unlike sit-ups or crunches, they don’t place a demand on your back and spine, which can help you avoid injury.
10. Wall Sit
Similar to the plank, the wall sit has you holding one position for a set duration. You execute it by placing your back against the wall in a sitting position, and holding that position as your thigh muscles are engaged, as though you were sitting on an invisible chair.
11. Chair Dips
Speaking of chairs, chair dips are a great way of building your triceps. And as the name suggests, the only piece of equipment you need to execute them is a very sturdy chair. Chances are you have one of those sitting in a corner somewhere in your house.
12. Inverted Rows
Another bodyweight exercise that requires a bit of improvisation is the inverted row. These target the muscles in your back and arms (primarily your biceps), and can be performed with either a strong table, or any other piece of furniture that allows you to pull yourself up while under it.
13. Pull-Ups & Chin-Ups
And speaking of pulling yourself up, pull-ups (and its closely-related variation, chin-ups) are another great way of developing your biceps. If you don’t have a pull-up bar at home, you can still execute the move by using a wedged door or a sturdy door frame.
14. Farmer’s Walk
You can build strong-looking forearms with the farmer’s walk, one of the most straightforward exercises on this list. To perform the move, all you have to do is hold the heaviest objects you can carry in each hand, and walk for as long as you can. You’ll feel the burn and have those veins popping in no time.
The push-up is one of the most recognizable bodyweight exercises, and for good reason; not only is it great for working the muscles in your chest and arms, but it also has many variations that can offer additional challenges for all fitness levels. Now, “drop and give me 50!”
Hope you’ve found our list of bodyweight exercises helpful. How far along are you on your overall fitness journey? Do you already perform any of these exercises or are there any other ones you’d like to add to our list? Let us know in the comments section below.