Top 10 Body Weight Exercises
Getting fit doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple body weight exercises can be a great choice for achieving gains in strength, flexibility, and overall health. Best of all, you can usually do them just about anywhere. While we are eagerly awaiting level 2 for the gym to reopen, there is a number of exercises that you can do with no equipment at all.
Here are 10 of my favourite body weight exercises you can do at home, all of these exercises are able to be modified to make them easier or more challenging.
I know they aren’t everybody’s favourite exercise but burpees are a great exercise to strengthen your whole body from head to toe. They help with coordination and stability, as well as getting your heart rate up to burn lots of calories. Burpees work the arms, chest, core, hamstrings, glutes and quads. Plus there are lots of different options to make burpees easier or harder, so start with easy stepping options and change it up as you get fitter and more coordinated.
The bear crawl is another great exercise, primarily a strength and mobility enhancing exercise. It works your core muscles just like the plank, but since you’re moving, it engages more muscles and forces your core to work harder to keep you stable. Your abs, shoulder, chest, glutes and legs are the primary muscles used during this exercise. In fact, you are using all these muscles at the same time. It also increases joint mobility in the hips, wrists, spine, ankles and the knee.
Squats are a great basic functional movement . We do this movement a lot in our daily life, for example sitting or standing from a chair or picking up and putting down a box. Squats work your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, lower back and your glutes too. Not many exercises can claim to recruit so many muscles at the same time! Squats build strength in your legs and hips but also help with mobility and balance. Strong legs are essential for staying mobile as you get older. Not only do they develop leg strength, they also workout your core and stabilising muscles. These muscles help you to maintain balance while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle, which helps prevent falls.
SPLIT SQUAT and LUNGES
Firstly the main difference between a split squat and a lunge is movement, with a split squat your feet stay in place whereas with a lunge you are either stepping forward, backward or sideways to get into the lunge. With both exercises, all the muscles in the lower body and hips are working, and also the core muscles are activated to provide stability. Lunges/Split squats can help you develop lower-body strength and endurance. Split squats are a great beginner lower body move and can be an great asymmetrical exercise for sports people and runners. Lunges/Split Squats can be made more advanced with different placements of weight, foot position and instability equipment.
Push ups are a great exercise for the upper body muscles with the added benefit of developing core stability. The push up also trains your lower back, upper back and glutes. You can target different upper body muscles just by changing the position of your hands/arms. Like the burpee, push ups have a lot of different options to make them easier or harder. You can start on your knees and advance to the feet option. Elevate your hands is a great way to make the exercise easier while being able to still do them on your feet. Try them on a wall first then move to a chair/floor when you get fiiter. By elevating the feet you can really make this a challenging exercise for the super fit athlete.
The Y-T-L-W Raise is a multi-part move that targets your upper back. At the same time, it stabilizes your shoulder blades and strengthens your rotator cuff. This exercise is very beneficial for people with desk-bound jobs or who drive a lot for work and have limited range in their shoulder movement, it also strengthens your shoulder muscles in every direction.
Planks are a very versatile exercise that target a lot of the most important muscle groups in the body namely, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, oblique muscles and your glutes. Planks work the stability of your core muscles and help stabilise the pelvis. They are also essential for lower-back health and are highly effective at working your abdominal muscles. Like most of the exercises on my list there are also heaps of different variations of Planks to keep them challenging. Start on your knees first and push your hips forward to create a straight line in your body. Advance to your feet when you can do a minute comfortably. When you can do a minute on your feet, make it more challenging by moving your arms or legs and create more instability.
The “dead bug” exercise is one of the simplest and best moves out there when it comes to strengthening your abs and core, without putting extra strain on your back. It engages your deep inner core including your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. It’s a safe and effective way to strengthen and stabilize your core, spine and back muscles. This improves your posture and helps relieve and prevent low back pain. You will also improve your balance and coordination.
SINGLE LEG ROMAINIAN DEADLIFT
These are a excellent strength builder for your posterior chain. They work your hamstrings, glutes, outer thigh, lower back, ankles and core. They can be used as a warmup/activating exercise or as a great glute/hamstring tie in move. Going single leg adds a balance and hip/glute stabilization component so your hamstrings really have to work hard.
This exercise is a great exercise to target your glutes and hamstrings. They also require you to activate your abdominal and lower back muscles in order to keep your body stable – so they are also a great core exercise. You can use Hip Bridges as a good warm-up exercise to get your glutes activated before a leg workout, as a main lower body exercise as well as a basic rehab exercise to improve core and spinal stabilization.