By Hesham Khalil
Bodyweight exercises increase self-awareness and improve body movement. They can be progressed and regressed to fit everyone. The best part about it is they can be done everywhere. You can use them for strength gain and muscle gain, and you can put them together to form a circuit for conditioning and fat burning. They translate well from the gym to real life, as you’ll increase your ‘relative strength’: how strong you are relative to your own body weight.
Using your body weight for workout will guarantee benefits like:
- Increased strength
- Increased muscle
- Increased self-esteem
- Increased energy
- Increased athleticism
- Increased coordination
These are some of the best exercises using your body weight for workout:
Walkouts build strength in your anterior core.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly (or more if needed) and place both hands flat on the ground.
- Keeping your legs extended and your feet planted, walk your hands away from your body, as far past your shoulders as you can, until you are in a full plank position.
Hold for one count at the furthest point, and then walk your hands back to your feet and slowly return to standing
2-The Bodyweight Squat
This is a lower body strengthening exercise that can be performed virtually anywhere with no equipment and limited space. It’s a highly functional movement working all the major muscles of the legs.
- Keeping your entire foot pressed into the floor, push through the outside of each foot as you lower into your squat.
- When you have lowered down into the bodyweight squat, your kneecaps should hover over the tops of your feet. Your torso should lean forward slightly, creating a 30 to 45 degree angle with your thighs.
- When you start to rise from the bottom of your squat, actively push your knees out. Your thighs should stay in line with your feet.
- Instead of just dropping down and standing back up, focus on feeling your glutes throughout the entire bodyweight squat. As you lower, feel them stretch. As you stand, forcefully contract them.
3-Plank with Arm Lift
- Start in the same plank position (photo 1) as above.
- Carefully shift your weight to your right forearm.
- Extend your left arm straight out in front of you.
- Hold 3 seconds while keeping your core tight.
- Slowly bring your arm back to starting position.
- Switch arms and repeat.
Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps
4-Bodyweight Walking Lunge
Walking lunges are great for lifting and shaping your backside. They are a great way for you to tone the butt and get that kind of shelf butt. Normally you can’t really spot reduce and it’s hard to really tone specific muscle groups, but this exercise works for just that.
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and place your hands on your hips. This is the start position.
- Step forward with either leg in a long stride. Keep your other foot in place behind you.
- Bend your knees as you do this so your body is lowered towards the ground. Keep your back straight throughout the movement.
- Continue down until your front knee is just above the ground. (Your front leg should be bent 90 degrees at the knee)
- Hold for a count of one.
- Push down through your front heel and extend both knees to return to the start position.
- Pause then repeat with your other leg. When you have lunged with both legs that is one repetition.
5-Bird Dog Abs Exercises
The bird dog is a great overall core exercise that, not only strengthens the abs and back, but also mainly involves back rotators/multifarious muscles and also engages the glutes, improves balance and stability.
- Begin on hands and knees with the back straight and the abs pulled in.
- Lift the right arm up until it is level with the body and parallel to the floor.
- At the same time, lift the left leg up and straighten it until it is also parallel to the floor.
- Hold for a moment, lower and repeat on the other side, this time lifting the left arm and right leg. Continue alternating sides for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.
- Keep the move slow and controlled and try to keep your body straight throughout the movement.
6- Bodyweight Triceps Exercise
Toning your triceps — the muscles that run on the backside of your upper arm, from your shoulder to your elbow — is one way to easily tone your arms. A basic body-weight exercise, triceps dips don’t require much equipment: if you don’t have a bench, you can always do them on the ground.
Here’s how to do this move:
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.
- Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
- Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. You can bend your legs to modify this exercise.
Do 15 to 20 reps per set and aim to do two to three sets
The Bicycle Crunch is the best abs exercise according to research done to uncover the best exercises you can do to activate the rectus abdominus, the external oblique and internal oblique.
- Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and contract your core muscles.
- With your hands gently holding your head, lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle.
- Slowly, at first, go through a bicycle pedal motion.
- Alternately touching your elbows to the opposite knees as you twist back and forth.
- Breathe evenly throughout the exercise.
Intensifies work on upper body and core.
- Do a normal pushup, but with your feet elevated on a stable platform like a box or bench.
- The higher the platform, the more you’ll work your shoulders, chest, core, and scapular stabilizers.
- The muscles that connect: your neck, midback, and shoulders.
- Mountain Climber
This is a full body work out and here are a few of the muscles that are worked: deltoids, biceps, triceps, pectorals major, obliques, rectus abdominals, lower trapezes, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip adductors, and hip abductors.
- Get into a plank position. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees. Extend your legs out behind you
- Pull one knee up and in toward your midsection. Lift one foot and begin bending the knee as you pull it up between the front of your body and the floor. Bring the knee forward in one smooth, controlled motion. Don’t let either of your knees sag or come into contact with the floor. Once you’ve raised your knee as far as you can, contract and hold your abs briefly but forcefully.
- Repeat the action with your other knee. Relax your midsection and push your knee back toward your other foot slowly. Straighten your leg and set your foot back on the ground behind you. Then, bring the other knee forward, moving fluidly and squeezing your abs.
( Add short bio of Hesham Khalil as per last issue)