Everyone is looking for the perfect exercise to do when we are at home or on a trip. I get asked all the time what is the perfect program and I always tell them, “The perfect program for you, is the one that you will do on a consistent basis.” Seriously, though, I truly believe one of the best ways to work your body is to perform bodyweight exercises to strengthen your body and keep your joints and muscles flexible.
In this article I will describe bodyweight exercises, and why we should incorporate them into our routine, what some specific exercises you can do and a little guidance in choosing a program.
What are Bodyweight Exercises?
Basically, bodyweight exercises are exercises that are done without weights or machines, and you are using just your body weight as resistance to build muscle mass.
Why You Should do Bodyweight Exercises
There are a lot of different types of fitness programs, from those you do at the gym, to
at-home workouts. Each of these varies is intensity, type, and benefits. If you are
interested in something you can do at home without equipment, bodyweight might be for
you. Here are some of the top benefits of doing bodyweight exercises.
You Can do it Anywhere
This is definitely one of the top benefits of bodyweight exercises. You don’t have to
leave your home or find a gym. There is no equipment you need to purchase and find a
place for, plus it costs you nothing. Bodyweight exercises rely only on your own weight
and the intensity you bring to each move. You can do them at home, in the office, at a
park or the beach, just about anywhere. While traveling, it is easy to do them in your
hotel room or on your balcony, without having to look for a gym or go for a run.
It Works Out Your Entire Body
Another reason to start incorporating bodyweight exercises into your fitness routine is
because it can workout your entire body. Most bodyweight moves will target one
specific area, but also benefit others as well. For example, elbow planks are often done
for your core and abdominal muscles, but your arms, shoulders, and even your leg
muscles are also getting a fantastic workout. Moves like jumping jacks, wall sits,
burpees, and mountain climbers are similar; they are working multiple muscle groups at
the same time.
There is Cardio and Strength Training
Many people believe bodyweight is just for strength training, but a lot of moves provide
high-intensity cardio as well. If you don’t like boring cardio workouts, do the jumping and
high-intensity bodyweight moves instead! This is when you do the moves that require
lifting your body from the ground and doing jumps. There are many different types of
jumps aside from just jumping jacks. Plank jacks, punches, and skaters are some other
moves that provide an excellent cardio workout.
Bodyweight is Perfect for Lean Muscles
Since you aren’t adding in any weights with these moves, you are working on long, lean
muscles. You don’t have to worry about bulking up, though you will be able to lose
weight and tone your body with bodyweight exercises. You can still do some weights,
but incorporating more bodyweight moves really focuses on those long muscles.
At-Home Workouts That Include Bodyweight Moves
Just because you want to add bodyweight exercises to your fitness routine, doesn’t
mean you can’t do your normal workout as well. There are actually many popular at-
home workouts that incorporate bodyweight moves. Here are some of the top ones to
The first type of workout that often incorporates bodyweight moves is yoga. There are
different forms of yoga, so you probably want to go for the moderate or advanced
varieties to really do a lot of bodyweight moves. For example, the downward dog is
done in yoga, which can be considered bodyweight. It is similar to a plank, except
instead of being flat, your buttocks is up in the air. Many times, downward dogs go down
to a full plank, along with many other bodyweight movements.
Pilates is another good workout that doesn’t use weights or equipment, but can be done
at home and incorporate a lot of floor moves. This is similar to yoga, but really
incorporates more of the core movements. You will learn plenty of difficult bodyweight
moves to strengthen your core, improve your flexibility, and work on those abdominal
muscles. Mixing it in with other bodyweight moves is a great way to add more to your
High-Intensity Interval Training
Also known as HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training is an excellent way to get started
with bodyweight exercises. This is really going to increase your cardio, endurance, and
strength all at the same time. This will use more jumping and high intensity moves of
bodyweight, like your jumping jacks, jumps, and burpees, along with many other moves.
Another great thing about HIIT is that it is done in less time, so even the busiest person
can get a good workout.
There are also some well-known brand workouts you might have heard of that use a lot
of bodyweight workouts. For example, if you are familiar with the BeachBody programs,
you may have heard of PIYO. This is definitely one of the top workouts that uses only
bodyweight movements, working out your entire body. It was created by Chalene
Johnson, and will do everything from multiple plank variations, to intense yoga and
Pilates-inspired strengthening moves. Crossfit is another type of workout that
incorporates bodyweight along with the weight training, but this is usually done in a gym
and not suitable for home workouts.
At the end of the day, adding in any sort of bodyweight moves is going to benefit you, strengthen your body and keep you flexible whether you are working out at home or in the gym.
- Do a little research online and figure out what will work for your schedule.
- Make sure you choose an activity that is fun and that you will do.
- Put it your schedule and actually follow through with the activity.
- Get a workout buddy and show up.
- Don’t stop. Keep on moving no matter what! Your Body Will Love You!!
Kathy Denise Hicks is a Personal Trainer/Corrective Exercise Specialist, and author. She currently inspires clients to incorporate habits which alleviate joint and muscular pain, increase energy, and attain their ideal weight. Kathy’s mantra “No Pain, More Gain” is truly exemplified through her coaching technique and expertise.
I am ready to help you if you want to get to the next level in your health journey. Give my Free 14 Day Workout a try and you will notice the difference. Cardio/Strength, Pilates, Body Rolling and Brain Health. Full body attention to create a fit life.