We’re always trying to find ways to increase our strength with the biggest and baddest movements that involve barbells and dumbbells in the weight room. How can we improve our bench, how can we squat more, and how can we possibly throw more plates on that curl bar? These are all the popular goals when it comes to lifting. What if I told you that there were ways to improve all those lifts as well as your overall level of fitness without even leaving your bedroom? I’m going to share three bodyweight exercises: one for the core, one for the lower body, and one for the upper body. Let me be clear. This isn’t new information but it should be a reminder and a motivator for you to actually apply them if you’re not already doing so.

Core: A Different Plank

The Shoulder Tapping Plank is a step up from your traditional plank and it will challenge your core much more. Get into a locked out push up position. Without rotating your body, lift one hand off the floor and touch the opposite shoulder. Don’t do this quickly either because that takes the challenge out of it. Once you return your hand to its original position, repeat with the other hand and opposite shoulder. You goal should be to do this for up to 25 reps per side for 50 reps total. Once you make it to this point, try to do it for two sets of 50. This will help you improve coordination, stability, core strength, and endurance.

Lower Body: Deep Bodyweight Squat (DBS)

If a toddler can do this, so can you, right? You might be surprised. Stand straight and tall with your feet pointed slightly out at shoulder width. While keeping your knees behind your toes, squat down so your butt is as close to the floor as possible. Your thighs should be well below parallel to the floor. Once you get into position, your goal is to hold it as long as you can. You should feel it in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and even your calves. Time yourself and try to beat your time tomorrow. Eventually you should shoot for 5 consecutive minutes in this position. This will help your overall leg strength for squats or leg presses, flexibility, maximize hip flexion, and if you’re a runner or biker, you may notice an improvement on speed and endurance.

Upper Body: 60 second pushups

We can all bang out pushups at a good pace but can you control your bodyweight enough to do a pushup over the course of a minute? Get into the locked out pushup positon. Lower yourself down to the floor but do it as slow as you can up to 30 seconds. If you give out before you hit the 30 second mark, its okay. Just write down your time and try to beat it by at least one second next time. Once you reach the floor, immediately try to go back up but maintain your slow pace until you are back at the starting position. Try to make your time the same as you did going down up to 30 seconds. Once you can complete a single push up over a course of 60 seconds, you should shoot for a goal of five pushups. The perks of doing this will be improvement in muscular endurance, hardness, coordination, body control, and you may even see your bench go up a few pounds.

If you give each of these a try, let me know in the comment section below how you do. Good luck and happy training!

About the Author

roger rockridgeRoger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.

Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.