When picturing getting fit or bulking up, a lot of people’s minds immediately jump to the image of a ripped gym rat pumping iron or going hard on a lot of expensive high-end equipment. But that’s not the only way to get into shape, and pricey gym memberships or home fitness equipment are not a requirement in order to meet your goals. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get into shape using nothing but your own natural resources.
And a bodyweight routine does not have to be something overly complicated or difficult to do. Though there are plenty of effective advanced bodyweight exercises, it helps to start at the beginning with some simpler workouts. So to help you get there, here are some tips, and some sample routines to take you through some beginner workouts, some of intermediate difficulty, and finally some more advanced bodyweight exercises — all requiring nothing except yourself and a willingness to work.
Some Exercises to Master Before You Start Your Bodyweight Routines
When you are first starting your new fitness regimen, it’s important to master a few basic exercises. These are the ones from which you will end up building just about everything else. After all, we would never recommend that you go straight into a handstand push-up in your first workout! Here are some of the best standard exercises to work on.
You knew they were coming; this standard workout exercise is a classic for a reason. And while you might never have done a successful push-up before in your life, don’t let that stop you from working towards what will eventually become second nature to you. Here are some tips for improving your push-ups:
- Start easy, with your knees fully bent, then gradually extend your bodyline until you are able to do full length push-ups.
- You can also help yourself through changing up your stance, such as how far apart your arms are, or by elevating the spot where you put your hands.
Once you master a regular push-up, you will be able to modify it through changing up your stance and body leverage to provide a greater challenge each time.
Squats are a staple because they can be done anywhere, any time, and they also have a lot of variations to keep it interesting. The things to remember here are to make sure that your feet are apart, the heels of your feet stay grounded, and your hip comes nice and low when you are in a full squat. Here is a video demonstrating proper technique.
One of the best ways to work your legs, lunges are an invaluable leg exercise for those who are physically capable. You can do series of quick or long lunges, either taking breaks in between or going straight into the next one. Some tips:
- Make sure your feet are always facing forward, it can become easy to let your foot stick out with your heel turned inward, but you want to keep it lined up with your leg.
- Though this is a leg exercise, you need to be mindful of your whole body, keeping your torso upright, and being sure to lower yourself using your hips rather than just pushing your knee forward.
Sample Bodyweight Routines
Once you get the hang of things, you’ll be able to mix and match your favorite exercises, experiment with modifications, and start to challenge yourself in different ways with routines of your own design. Until then however, it helps to have some help to guide you through the unknown. With that in mind, we have collected a few bodyweight routines of varying difficulties for you to try.
Beginner Bodyweight Routines
Bodyweight Strength for Beginners - Bodybuilding.com
Beginner Bodyweight Workout and Exercises - Nerdfitness.com
Beginner Bodyweight Workout Plan - Neatstrength.com
Intermediate Bodyweight Routines
Intermediate Bodyweight Workout - Globalbodyweighttraining.com
Intermediate Bodyweight Circuit Workouts (one full week of exercises) - Menshealth.com
Advanced Bodyweight Routines
The Bodyweight Gauntlet - Onnit.com
The Advanced Bo-Gym Bodyweight Workout - Greatist.com
5 Advanced Bodyweight Exercises to Build Whole Body Strength - Breakingmuscle.com
As with any fitness regimen, bodyweight exercises are all about a series of progressions, doing as many reps as possible (AMRAP) of the basic exercises, until you are doing advanced bodyweight exercises without thinking twice about it. Hopefully these tips and sample routines give you a good starting off point, and you can experiment and have fun with it from there. Good luck and get repping!