15 Apr The top 5 body weight exercises I swear by
Sometimes you can’t make the gym or you just don’t want to leave the house. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on your training. If you don’t have any equipment or don’t have much time, no problem – read about my top 5 short and simple exercises you can do to strengthen your whole body and get your heart racing.
The king of upper body exercises, pushups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises around. In a new study led by Harvard University, researchers found that men’s ability to do more than 40 push-ups was linked with significantly reduced risk of serious heart problems over the next 10 years – in some cases slashing risk by as much as 96 percent!
Pushups target so many muscles such as the chest, triceps, and shoulders plus it also seriously works your core. Plus it just looks so cool and you can easily see how you improve over time.
- Take your hands wider than your shoulders to work more of your chest, bring your hands in closer to work more of your chest
- Keep your body in one long line and your core braced
- Start on your toes and if you start to lose your form, drop to your knees
Do as many reps as you can while maintaining good form, and repeating for 3 to 5 sets total (resting for about 1 minute in between each).
2. Glute Bridges
When we sit a lot, our hamstrings hip flexors all shorten and tighten up. Over time, this can make it challenging for your glutes to engage the way they’re supposed to, so incorporating glute bridges in your routine can help combat this (as well as giving you a sexier butt).
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart.
- Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top, then slowly lower your hips to return to the starting position.
Do 30 reps, and for an extra challenge, follow it up with 15 with your left leg extended toward the ceiling and 15 with your right leg extended.
The king of body weight exercise, Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t talk about ultra-effective no-equipment exercises without mentioning burpees.
It is a full-body exercise that works your core, arms, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They also rapidly increase your heart rate, especially if you add an explosive jump at the end of the movement. Strength, check. Cardio, check.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides.
- Squat to the floor and reach forward to place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Kick your legs straight out behind you into a high plank with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders.
- Jump your feet towards your hands so your lower body is in a squat position. Jump straight up into the air, reaching your arms overhead
- If it is too much with the jump, you can always step the feet backwards, forwards and lose the jump at the end
Do as many reps as possible for one minute, rest for 20 seconds, then repeat.
The plank requires excellent shoulder stability and top-notch muscle endurance of the abs, lower back, shoulders, neck, and legs. Not only that, but it works well to develop an impressive six-pack.
- Place your elbows under your shoulders and keep your palms to the floor
- Lift the hips, straighten the legs and flatten the back
- Keep squeezing up your thighs and suck in your gut, keep the head up and keep breathing!
- If you start to feel it more in your back, drop to your knees
Time how long you can hold a low plank and next time try and beat that time.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
The challenge of a single-leg squatting motion is tough enough. Add to that the stretch and activation of your rear leg’s hip flexor, and you have the makings of an ultra-effective bodyweight exercise that improves strength and mobility at the same time.
- Get into a forward lunge position with torso upright, core braced and hips square to your body
- Keep your back foot elevated on a bench or step.
- Lower until your front thigh is almost horizontal to the floor
- Keep your knee in line with your foot.
Do 20 reps on each leg – repeat twice.