Who needs the gym?
There’s always going to be those days where you can’t make it to the gym but don’t worry there are tons of great body weight exercises you can do at home, at the office, or in a hotel room. These great body weight exercises are great no matter if you are trying to trim and tone or add new lean muscle.
These body weight exercises are great because I only have to use little to no equipment. You use your own body weight as resistance. These same simple to perform, effective movements will burn calories as you improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
These great body weight exercises can be performed individually (anytime, any place) or in a series or
“circuit”. To promote maximum calorie burn, move immediately from one exercise to the next
with minimal rest between exercises.
Great Body Weight Exercises
Here are five great body weight exercises that should be at the center of your body weight workouts, and your calisthenics training program:
1. Side Straddle Hops –
As you complete your 3-5 minute warm up, start your body weight
workout with side straddle hops or jumping jacks. Use this movement to increase the
intensity and transition from your warm up to your circuit. Increasing and maintaining an
elevated heart rate will fire up your metabolism and promote additional calorie burn. If
you feel your heart rate slow any time during your circuit, add a set of jumping jacks to
get it back up.
2. Body weight Squats –
The king of body weight exercises, squats work for every muscle
group from the waist down, and many of the muscles of your back and core as well.
Intense squats have also been shown to stimulate “anabolic” hormone production. Stand
with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and toes pointed slightly outward and
squat down and back as though sitting in a low chair. The tops of your thighs should be
parallel to the floor at the lowest point, pause briefly at the bottom and then push up and
return to the start. Each repetition should be slow, controlled and without bouncing.
Pistol Squats – Think your body weight squats are too easy? Need more of a challenge?
Pistol squats are one-legged squats performed with the “resting” leg extended straight
out in front of you as you squat down to the floor. Pistol squats will challenge every
muscle in your lower body, and develop balance, stability, coordination and impress your
3. Push-ups –
Time for an upper body exercise, and there are few better than the standard
push-up. Set your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, and keep your back straight
and body inline from your neck to your ankles as you slowly lower your chest to the floor.
As with your squats, each repetition should be slow, controlled and without bouncing or
“cheating”, using momentum. Pause briefly when your chest is just above the floor and
then return to the start position. As a variation, setting your hands closer together or
further apart, or elevating your feet on a bench or stability ball will shift the angle and
focus of the movement.
4. Pull-ups/Chin-ups –
One of the few great body weight exercises that requires equipment
(a pull-up bar) pull-ups and chin-ups work the entire upper body, including your back,
shoulders, and arms. Pull-ups are performed with an overhand grip, palms facing away
from you and chin-ups with an underhand grip, palms facing you. These simple change
shifts focus from your back and lats (pull-ups) to arms and biceps (chin-ups). Always
perform these two variations slowly and with complete control, no cheating by using
momentum. Pause briefly as your chest touches the bar and squeeze the muscles
involved to promote more muscle fiber involvement.
5. Planks –
This simple exercise develops your core, the muscles that surround and
support your spine, including your abdominal’s and lower back. Start in the push-up
position, but lower your upper body to your elbows and forearms. Straighten your back,
your body should form a line from your neck to ankles, now hold this position. Continue
to hold your plank position for as long as you can and increase your time each time you
I have been lifting weights for years and yet when I do body weight exercises I feel it the next day. Using your own body weight is going to work your muscles just as hard and sometimes harder than using weights. I suggest trying these exercises no matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran.
*results may vary
As always invest in your health.
BodyBuilding by John