Going to the gym is too far away. A gym membership is too expensive. The weather is not nice enough to exercise outside. I work all day long. These are all common excuses that people use for not making time for exercise. Even though we know that exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many of us don’t exercise nearly enough.
If you’re looking for an exercise routine that doesn’t require a lot of space, money, or equipment, bodyweight exercises may be the perfect fit for you. We will discuss some of the best bodyweight exercises, their benefits, and which ones are best suited for you.
What Are Bodyweight Exercises?
There’s no need for free weights, exercise machines, or other fitness equipment. Remember all the push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and lunges that you had to do in high school gym class? They are all a perfect example of a bodyweight exercise.
Much as the name suggests, your body uses its own weight as a form of resistance, and the exercises also provide an excellent source for strength training.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), most adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week, 25 minutes of vigorous exercise at least three days per week, or a combination of each for optimum cardiovascular health.
While many people make sure they are getting enough cardio each week, they may overlook the importance of strengthening exercises and making one’s core and body stronger overall; exercises that use your own weight as resistance are excellent for core strength.
These types of exercises aren’t “gimmicky” or a fad. They are simple and effective exercises that anyone can do in the comfort of one’s home with little to no training or experience.
The Benefits Of Bodyweight Exercises
Before we take an in-depth look at specific exercises, we will discuss some of the benefits. A bodyweight exercise routine costs you little to nothing, and you can do most of the exercises anywhere you feel comfortable, such as at home or at a park on a beautiful day.
Many exercise routines that require the use of equipment can put you at higher risk for an injury. As long as you have the right form when doing a bodyweight exercise your chances of getting hurt due to overexertion, misusing equipment, or lifting too much weight is nearly impossible.
It’s important to remember that results of any type exercise may vary for every individual and factors like existing health and frequency of exercises can affect results that you feel or see.
Some other benefits of strengthening exercises, like a bodyweight exercise routine include, but are not limited to, a reduction in stress, an improved mood, more energy, a better quality of sleep, reduction of joint pain, healthier blood pressure and cholesterol, and a lower risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Special Things To Consider When Performing Bodyweight Exercises
A bodyweight exercise routine is a great option for people of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels, especially since there are ways to modify each exercise to make it easier or more challenging. Before you start exercising, it’s always a good idea to talk with your health professional to make sure it’s the best and safest form of exercise.
Even though your risk of being injured while doing bodyweight exercises is low, it’s important to pay attention your body and its limitations. As with any form of exercise, you should always allow time for stretching and letting your body warm up.
While a bodyweight routine may not seem to work up a sweat as cardio does, it’s essential to stay properly hydrated during your workout.
As we mentioned earlier, a bodyweight exercise routine is easy to modify if you’re a beginner; it’s also easy to make it more challenging by adding more repetitions.
While it’s natural to want to challenge yourself, start out with a routine that you can build on rather than making it too difficult from the beginning. The more you change it up, the more likely that you’ll stick with your routine.
A majority of exercises that use your bodyweight don’t require any special gear or fitness equipment. If you plan on doing pull-ups at home, you may benefit from investing in a high-quality pull-up bar that you can put in a doorway.
Some people find that their workouts are enhanced with a non-slip yoga mat or a fitness ball; keep in mind that these are not necessary to do the exercises. You should wear comfortable clothing that is suitable for exercise and wear shoes with good support (unless a specific exercise notes otherwise).
Having the ability to workout alone, in the privacy of your own home, with confidence is one of the major draws to a bodyweight exercise routine. If you want to get more out of your routine or just make sure you are doing the exercises correctly, you can always talk with a fitness expert at your local gym or do some of your own research.
Bodyweight Exercises For Your Back, Legs, and Biceps
While there are dozens of exercises that use your bodyweight to tone and strengthen specific parts of your body, we will give you a few of the best exercises that focus on the back, legs, and your biceps.
As we mentioned earlier, you can add a little variety by talking with a personal trainer or looking for specific exercises on the Internet. Remember, you can start out with smaller repetitions and modify to your own comfort level; you can always increase your reps as you continue.
Best Bodyweight Exercises For Your Back
When people think about strengthening their core, they might not think about their back as part of the core. A strong and healthy back is essential to being active and living without lower back pain. Here are a few bodyweight back exercises to try out:
This back strengthening exercise is all about keeping your body in a straight line. When you get into a push-up position bend one leg at the knee and put it behind you (at a 90-degree angle). Holding that pose, slowly lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows (like a push-up) and keep your back straight. Push yourself back up and do 8 to 10 reps on each side twice.
V-Sit Kick Combo
This exercise uses the popular bodyweight exercise, the plank, but in reverse. With your body in a reverse plank, be sure to keep your arms steady and your back stable. Kick each leg into the air, alternating for 12 reps. After your reps, get into a “V” position and hold for 30 seconds. Do three to four sets.
Leg Exercises Using Your Own Bodyweight
We rely on having strong legs much more than we think we do and bodyweight leg exercises can help to keep your legs strong without the bulky muscle of weightlifting. While there are plenty of exercises designed to strengthen your legs, lunges and squats are some of the most popular and effective leg exercises to try, especially if you’re a beginner.
The key to a successful lunge or squat is all about having the right form and making sure your movement is slow. With these types of exercises, it’s more about the quality than the quantity. Once you master the basics, you can look for variations such as side lunges or squats that incorporate a jump.
Strengthen Your Biceps With Your Bodyweight
Some people are hesitant to work on their biceps out of fear of looking too bulky or muscular. Remember, when you do bodyweight exercises for biceps (or any other part of your body) you won’t end up looking disproportionate because you’re only using your body’s weight.
Push-ups, pull-ups and other basic exercises that focus on toning and strengthening your biceps are great starting points. Not only do you probably already know how to do them, but they are easy exercises to motivate and challenge yourself by adding more reps each week.
A Few More Tips For Bodyweight Exercise Workouts
People who do cardio and weightlifting need to take breaks (such as every other day) to avoid burnout and injury. Since bodyweight exercises are a different form of exercise and are relatively safe, most fitness experts believe that they are safe to do seven days a week (if you want).
As with all kinds of workouts, you should make sure to add a little variety and change up your focus area as doing the same exercise every day might not make you stronger faster or even hold your interest. When you begin to notice your core, and other parts of your body strengthening you will need to make adjustments to your workout.