10 Best Bodyweight Exercises
These 10 best bodyweight exercises allow you to work the entire body with a minimal amount of equipment and using only your bodyweight as resistance.
- Dips. This bodyweight exercise works your chest, shoulders, triceps and back. Stand between a set of parallel bars, grip the bars, and hoist yourself up until your arms are completely extended. Slowly lower your body weight until your upper arms are at a 45 degree angle from your forearms. Pause in the bottom position before pushing back up to the starting position.
- Pull-ups. Pull-ups work your upper back, biceps, shoulders and forearms. Grip the pull-up bars with an overhand grip about 18 to 24 inches apart and lift your feet off the ground. Slowly pull yourself up until your chin is level or just above the bar, pause and slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
- Pushups. Pushups work your chest, shoulders, triceps and abdominals. They can be performed on the floor, face down, with your hands 18 to 24 inches apart and your lower body supported by your toes. Slowly lower your body, keeping your back straight and toes pointed into the floor, until your nose touches the ground. Pause in the bottom position before extending your arms and returning to the starting position.
- Bench dips. A variation on real dips, this bodyweight exercise focuses more on your triceps and shoulders than your chest and back. With your feet propped up on a bench and your upper body supported on another bench by your hands behind your back, slowly lower your upper body until your upper arms are at a 45 degree angle from your forearms. Pause in the bottom position before slowly raising yourself back to the starting position.
- Crunches. Crunches work your upper and lower abdominals. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Cross your arms over your chest and slowly raise your body upward and toward your knees. Do not perform a complete sit-up, simply raise your upper body about six inches off the ground, pause and then lower yourself back to the starting position.
- Knee raises. Knee raises work your upper and lower abdominals with emphasis on your lower abdominals. This bodyweight exercise can be done either on the floor or by using parallel bars. Slowly raise your knees in unison toward your chest until your thighs are at a 45 degree angle from your upper body. Pause at the top of the movement and then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.
- Wall squats. Walls squats focus on your quadriceps (front thighs), hamstrings (back thighs) and hip flexors. With your back flat against the wall, bend at the knees and slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Keep your back flat against the wall and hold the position for at least 30 seconds or longer if you can.
- Lunges. This bodyweight exercise works your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and inner thighs. In a standing position, extend one leg as if you were taking a half a step. With the one leg out in front and keeping your upper body straight, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel with the ground. Pause at the bottom and then slowly raise your body up and step back into the standing position. Repeat the movement by stepping the opposite leg forward.
- Standing calf raises. Standing calf raises work your calves. Begin by standing on a two inch block or any raised surface that allows your heels to drop below your toes. With your toes at the edge of the block and your knees only slightly bent, lower your body until your heel drops below your toes. Pause at the bottom and then slowly, using only your calf muscles, raise your body until your heel rises above your toes.
- Planks. The final bodyweight exercise works your abdominals, obliques and lower back. Assume the pushup position, only with the weight of your body on your elbows rather than your hands. In this position, make sure to keep your back straight. Hold this position for 60 seconds or longer if you can.
Posted on: Mar. 14, 2010