Did you know it’s possible for to reach your fitness goals with nothing but your body-weight? All it takes is consistency and proper form. I’ve done body-weight exercises for a couple of years and got great results, and they would have even been greater if I was more consistent with my workouts. Eventually I started weight training, but I still do body weight exercises now and then.
Whether you are a beginner or you are making a return to body-weight exercises, there’s a lot to learn from this article. Body-weight exercises are great for building a strong fitness foundation, strengthening ligaments, developing muscle coordination and overall body strength.
You can do the exercises as circuit routines (no breaks between exercises) or normally, where you take short breaks between exercises. For a beginner I would recommend the latter unless you are already fit.
Body-weight exercises work for both men and women. You only need your body, a little space and maybe some equipment. This makes it convenient for regular travelers or those who can’t afford to pay for gym membership.
Before we discuss various body-weight exercises for beginners let’s look into some of the things that will give you great results from these exercises.
Good form is necessary for any workout; it makes an exercise more effective. And bad form can cause injuries or make you hit a plateau.
Perform each exercise in full range motion and in the correct form. It’s difficult for a beginner to maintain good form when doing advanced exercises, so stick to simple exercises until your fitness improves. I might also note that reaching your limits can lead to bad form even without realizing it. Always stay conscious of form from beginning to end.
Change exercises every session
This idea is also discussed in article on 7 Healthy Ways To Boost The Rate of Muscle Growth. Alternating exercises will grow muscles faster and improve overall body strength.
Don’t repeat the same exercises in every workout. If you do push-ups and bridges today, the next workout do something different like squats and sit ups.
Breaks between sets
The rest period between sets should be 1 to 2 minutes. This will improve your strength and endurance. Short rests between sets is also a time-saver.
Breaks longer than 2 minutes will slow your progress because it gives the body more recovery time, and it hinders consistency between sessions.
Start every workout with a 10 minute warm up. You can warm up by skipping rope or doing a little cardio.
Warming up helps heat up blood and increase flow of blood in muscles and ligaments; this reduces the risk of an injury.
Order of exercises
There is no particular order you should follow in your workout. Just try out different routines and find the one you are most comfortable with. If you can perform 4 reps for an exercise you are good to go.
Don’t be discouraged if the exercises seem complex at first, they’ll become easier as exercise more. When your fitness improves you can gradually increase the number of reps.
Remember to apply these tips every time you exercise. They will make a big difference in your results.
Now let’s see the body-weight exercises that will be best for you as a beginner and how you should perform each one of them.
Leg exercises are the best for burning fat, and squats are the most effective for working leg muscles. Squats train all the leg muscles; both upper and lower leg, front and back.
When done properly squats improve running speed, increase jumping height and make knee joints steadier.
Learn how to do a proper squat: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, put arms forward or on your head, then assume a sitting position by bending your knees at a 90 degree angle. Then stand up while contracting your glutes muscles. Repeat.
Keep your knees in line with your toes, when in squat position.
Go as deep as your hips allows, optimal effect would be your hips going lower than your knees. However, this depends on your flexibility
If you find the exercise difficult, use your hands to push off your knees when going up.
Keep your spine straight throughout the exercise.
Keeping your arms forward helps improve balance.
This is a very effective exercise and it can greatly improve your strength. I think this exercise is underrated. Focusing on it can help beginners build a strong fitness foundation.
Push-ups work various muscles, the chest, triceps, front shoulders and strengthen your core. I can testify that push-ups are among the best exercises for building chest muscles.
I might also add that if you find complete push-ups difficult, start with knee push-ups until you are able to hold your full body weight.
There are various variations for doing this exercise. But here are some of the key principles which apply in every variation.
Keep shoulders back; avoid raising your shoulders towards your ears.
Keep your arms slightly shoulder width apart (this may vary depending on the variation).
Maintain a straight position for your neck and shoulders.
Keep your hips and torso straight. Have someone watch you in case you can’t tell if they are straight or not.
Maintain a full range motion.
Leg raises or sit ups
These are great exercises for strengthening the core and developing ab muscles. A strong core is very important and you can’t be strong without it. Know that these exercises won’t reduce belly fat, they only build muscles.
They train both your front and side abdominal muscles.
Leg raises- slowly lower and raise your legs for maximum effect.
Leg raises- keep back flat at all times.
Leg raises- keep legs straight and toes pointed.
Sit ups- Keep your head in line with the spine.
Sit ups- keep your back and the bottom of your feet flat against the floor throughout the exercise.
Bridges are a great way to exercise glute muscles and solve back problems.
This exercise trains the glutes, hamstring, strengthen back muscles and can make you taller when done regularly. Not to mention it stretches stomach muscles. Do this exercise regularly especially if you are experiencing back pains or you are recovering from a back injury.
Bring your heels as close to your butt as possible.
Focus on contracting your glutes as you lift your hips.
Use your arms to balance your body.
While they may not be the most fun exercise, you should include them in your workouts. They’ll strengthen and tighten your leg muscles.
This exercise targets muscles of the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
Keep your back straight and tall.
Knee of the lead leg should point the same direction as the foot.
The thigh of the foot in front should be parallel to the ground.
Body-weight exercises are a great of building fitness foundation and building muscles. Paying attention to form in every exercise will lead improved overall body strength and fewer injuries.
Not having access to a gym should not be an excuse anymore; your body is enough equipment for building muscles and improving fitness. When your fitness improves add weights to these exercises to make them more effective.
Have you done body-weight training before? Leave a comment and share your experiences.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]