Top Ten Exercises You Can Do At Home
Ever found yourself in a pinch for time and wanting to get an effective workout in at home or anywhere outside of a gym? Bodyweight exercises are the core of resistance training and some of the most effective movements you can do to improve your fitness and physique.
Bodyweight exercises are, quite plainly, exercises that utilize your bodyweight as resistance instead of equipment like free weights or machine. Using your bodyweight as resistance is actually the foundation of strength training, which is often why physical education teaches things like push-ups and sit-ups throughout childhood.
The great thing about bodyweight training is that it ’ s easy to learn, effective, and can be done pretty much anywhere; at home, at work or while traveling – much like a portable gym. Moreover, bodyweight training is highly functional an d carries over to everyday movements and activities.
Bodyweight Exercises Explained
It may seem obvious to seasoned gym goers and athletes, but many forms of resistance training and exercise regimens incorporate the use of an individual’s own bodyweight. For example, programs such as Pilates, yoga, calisthenics and plyometrics all use bodyweight to enhance strength, power, agility, flexibility and fitness to some degree. Furthermore, bodyweight exercises are great for developing better muscle tone and enhancing overall body shape. In the context here, bodyweight exercises use a recognizable strength and resistance training model of concentric, eccentric and isometric movements to achieve fitness and strength goals.
Top Ten Bodyweight Exercises
The following 10 exercises form the core of an ideal bodyweight workout program. Many other variations and modifications of these movements are also possible, so don’t be afraid to get creative and improvise.
The push-up is a classic bodyweight exercise that demonstrates quite clearly the principle of bodyweight resistance training. If you can perform 20 o r more push-ups consecutively you are rather strong.
• While facing the floor and propped up on hands and toes, push the body to and from the floor. One “up-and-down” comprises a repetition.
• Don’t go too fast or too slow, each rep should be done in a controlled fashion.
• Do as many as you can in one minute; rest, then try a gain.
• Rest your knees on the ground if you find the exercise too difficult when first starting out.
Squatting without weights may not seem like a challenge initially, but once the reps get higher it gets tough so don ’ t underestimate it. The squat develops legs and butt muscles and, over time, may strengthen knee joints.
• Squat down by bending hips back while allowing knees to bend forward, keeping back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet.
• Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor.
• Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.
The lunge is a fundamental bodyweight exercise that provides strength, balance, and flexibility training. Variations exist to make the movement more challenging, such as having arms raised at the sides and the 45-degree angle side lunge.
• Lunge forward with first leg. Land on heel, then forefoot.
• Lower body by flexing knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor.
• Return to original standing position by forcibly extending hip and knee of forward leg.
• Repeat by alternating lunge with opposite leg.
• Completing a lunge with each leg constitutes one re petition.
Crunches are the most basic exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles. Many different types of crunches exist for added difficult y, such as reverse crunches and knee- raised crunches. Start by mastering the basic crunch, which is detailed below.
• Lie supine on your back with hands behind your head. Flex waist to raise upper torso from mat.
• Keep low back on mat and raise torso up as high as possible.
• Return until back of shoulders contact mat. Repeat as needed.
The dip is hands-down the best bodyweight exercise for developing the triceps. All you need is a bench, chair, couch, etc.
• With a bench or chair, push up from a chair with arms behind and legs out front.
• Lower your body back to the starting position with elbow s bent 90 degrees. Repeat as needed.
• You can also use a special machine at the gym that makes i t easier. These are called “assisted dips.”
6. PULL-UPS & CHIN-UPS
These exercises are variations of the one movement in which you haul yourself up off the ground so that your face is more or less level with a high bar. Although pull-ups and chin-ups are good examples of bodyweight exercises, you may not h ave access to a pull-up bar at home, but you can improvise at home with a beam or bar mean t for other things.
• Using either an underhand or overhand grip, grasp a bar that is overhead and fully extend your arms so you ’ re hanging from the ground.
• Pull body up until chin is above bar.
• Lower body until arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.
7. WALL SITS
The wall sit is arguably one of the most challenging isometric movements you can perform with your bodyweight. It ’ s fantastic for developing core strength and lower body strength.
• Stand against a wall and slowly bend the knees while supporting your back with the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor (as if you ’ re sitting in a chair). Keep your arms at your sides or in front of you.
• Hold the position with your thighs parallel to the floor for 15-20 seconds, then return to the standing position.
• Hold it for as long as possible to increase the intensity.
Step-ups are a great way to intensify your exercise regime n and develop the lower body. They are also a superb form of cardio when done in higher repetitions.
• Place foot of first leg on bench, chair or other sturdy platform just above the knees.
• Stand on bench by extending hip and knee of first leg and place foot of second leg on bench.
• Step down with second leg by flexing hip and knee of first leg. Return to original standing position by placing foot of first leg to floor.
• Repeat first step with opposite leg, alternating first steps between legs. Completing a step with each leg constitutes one repetition.
9. THE BRIDGE
The bridge exercise has you on your back and pushing up with the legs (through your heels) while maintaining balance with arms flat on the floor . This move is superb for building the glutes and lower back.
• Lie on floor or mat. Bend legs towards chest with feet flat on floor or mat. Place arms down on mat to each side of hips.
• Raise body by extending hips off the floor, keeping legs extended and hip straight.
• Return to original position by lowering body back to starting position. Repeat as needed.
10. CHAIR STANDS
You can do most of them at just about anytime and any p lace, and additional equipment is not necessary. For complete fitness, add in some running or fast walking, or even interval training as well.
• Sit on a chair that is braced against a wall.
• Sit and stand 10 times then rest. Do three sets.
These 10 bodyweight exercises will build good strength in a fitness program. Be sure to add in other forms of training such weightlifting and cardio.