Train Anywhere, Anytime With These 5 Bodyweight Exercises
Over the last few years, bodyweight exercises have had resurgence.
No longer just a school gym staple, bodyweight exercises have made it into the rotation of many mainstream fitness programs.
Experts in fitness realise that bodyweight exercises can comprise an intense, calorie-burning workout.
Among the fitness programs that frequently include bodyweight exercises are CrossFit, Boot Camp, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata.
Here are 5 of the best bodyweight exercises to train your entire body…
1. Push Ups
Push Ups is the old military favourite for dishing out punishment. And Push Ups can give you a punishing, but highly productive, workout.
Push Ups target the chest, specifically the middle area. The exercise also builds the triceps, shoulders and the abdominal muscles which have to remain tight throughout its execution.
You can perform different versions of Push Ups to target specific areas in your chest.
One of the most challenging versions of the Push Up is Decline Medicine Ball Push Up.
Place your feet on top of a flat bench and position the medicine ball directly under your chest.
Take a secure grip on the medicine ball. Slowly lower your upper body until your chest comes in contact with the medicine ball.
2. Pull Ups
Pull Ups remain one of the most difficult exercises to master. Many consider it the best way to build width in your back; even better than using machines or free weights.
Pull Ups build your back, rear shoulders, biceps, forearms and your core which has to stabilise your upper body.
You can shift the focus of the Pull Up simply by changing your hand position and grip width.
A wider grip with overhand position targets the upper, outer lats but offers a limited range of motion.
A close, underhand grip develops a wider section of your lats plus the middle back and because you can pull your elbows farther in your torso gives you a stronger contraction.
The Dips exercise is popularly associated with gymnastics because it requires a great amount of balance.
You have to stabilise your upper body first before starting the dip.
Dips build the lower chest area, triceps and front deltoids. You can shift the focus of the exercise simply by changing the angle of your upper body or the position of your legs.
A slightly forward angle will focus on the chest while an upright position will work the triceps more.
By keeping straight legs in front of the upper body, you increase the degree of difficulty of Dips.
Squats are a favorite among bodyweight exercise proponents because these work the large muscles of the legs and the glutes effectively.
Squats are also a great warm up; it elevates your heart rate within the first few reps.
The “3rd World Squat” which is performed by holding the bottom position of the Squat for 30 seconds, will improve hip stability and mobility which are crucial for minimising injuries.
Other versions of the Squat are the Jump Squat, Split Squat and the Pistol which is a one-legged squat.
The Plank is widely considered as the best abdominal exercise.
It places your core at its strongest contracted position, hits every muscle in the abdominal region and is very safe to do.
The Plank is also a compound exercise. While the abdominals remain the primary stabilisers, the chest, shoulders, lower back and legs act as secondary stabilisers.
120 seconds is the fitness standard for the Plank. If you cannot maintain the Plank for this duration, slowly work your way up by doing several sets of 10 second planks.
Bodyweight exercises are great because you can do them anywhere, you don’t need specialised equipment and they utilise different neural pathways.
Bodyweight exercises give you another way to build muscle.