Top 10: Body Weight Exercises
Years ago I thought that body weight exercises were a waste of time and that if your workout didn’t include some iron, well then you were just spinning your wheels.
But over time I’ve evolved and have come to realize that body weight workouts provide substantial benefits and can be pretty darn challenging. So since I’ve just kicked off my Angry Trainer June Challenge , where I’m forsaking all weights for a month – I thought I’d share my Top 10 Body Weight Exercises.
Believe it or not, you can get a full body, functional strength training and cardiovascular workout with these 10 exercises. So give ‘em a go!
1. Pushups – These are a given I know, but there’s tremendous variety that you can use too! Try using a staggered hand position, feet elevated or on one foot, alternate pulling one knee forward or performing a twist during reps, heck, if you can manage it, try clapping or full body ‘jump’ pushups. Depending on your hand position you can target your chest, shoulders or triceps. They may be an old exercise, but they’ll kick your butt if you take the difficulty level up a notch! By the way here’s how you perform a Pushup properly…
2. One Legged Deadlifts – This is a favorite exercise of mine. Simply stand on one foot, with the other right beside and just hovering off the ground and perform a deadlift – lean over and try to touch the floor. On the way up squeeze the glutes and pull your shoulders back. This is great for the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and when done right can help with posture too!
3. Pull-ups – No-one really likes Pull Ups – they’re ridiculously hard! But like pushups there are many variations. You can use a Smith Bar set at a low height or use a suspension system to perform modified versions, or even go full out and try jumping pull-ups! That’s where you jump squat off the ground to the pull-up bar and pull yourself up. And don’t forget that using different grips has different benefits, so switch it up! Talk about a workout…
4. T – Plank – This is another favorite exercise of mine because it just feels great and get’s a lot done. And you can combine it with pushups to jack up the intensity. T–Planks work your core, abs, shoulders, arms, glutes and just about your entire body. It’s a must have for any serious body weight trainee. Here’s a T-Plank demo!
5. Squats – I don’t need to tell you how hard squats are, and that there are a zillion varieties. You can perform fast or slow reps, ¼ reps, ½ reps, jump squats, one legged squats and more. All versions work the entire leg plus the glutes and in the higher rep range you’ll be breathing quite heavy and getting a great cardiovascular benefit too.
6. Lunges – Yes, squats are great but lunges provide their own unique benefits. Since you’re essentially training one leg at a time, you can achieve different and great ranges of motion with them. You can lunge forward, backward, laterally, diagonally and like squats you can also perform the jumping variety. Lunges are awesome for inner thighs, the glutes, quads and help increase knee stability. Make sure you follow my tips though – a lot of people perform squats with bad form.
7. Dips – Again this is a must have for any serious trainee. Dips are a great exercise for the chest, shoulders and triceps and even involve some ab work. If you can’t do the standard version, try bench dips or even using two chairs in your house. Alternatively you could go the traditional route with a step beneath to ‘self spot’ and bang out as many as you can.
8. Sit-ups – For some reason this exercise has gotten a bad rap in recent years. But I say you must do it. You NEED to be able to sit up from lying on your back when necessary. So what if your hip flexors get used a bit or if it doesn’t directly target the abs – sit-ups are functional and a natural human movement! Be sure to include them too!
9. Burpee – What do you get when you cross squat thrusts with pushups and a jump squat? A burpee and my singular most favorite exercise! Man these things are TOUGH. Truthfully if I had just one exercise I could perform it would be these. They literally work your entire body, build endurance, stamina and cardiovascular fitness and will test even the toughest athletes. There are two kinds of people – those who do burpees and those who don’t. Join the club people! Here’s how you perform Burpees…
10. Bird Dogs – This is an awesome corrective and postural movement. And funnily enough it looks so easy when you see a trainee performing it. But there’s so much going on – bird dogs work the glutes, abs, upper and middle back, rear shoulders and traps and strengthen your back and assist in spinal stability. It’s a strange name for an exercise but the results are awesome. Check out my video demo as part of my Ass Kicker workout…
If you were to work through this list as I’ve written it, you’d get a terrific full body workout. In fact I think this may well become an Angry Trainer workout video in the near future…
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.
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