Best Bodyweight Exercises – The Complete Guide

If bodyweight exercises prove something, it’s that your gym membership is overpriced. Why pay money every month and sign contracts when you can gain the same benefits for free?

That’s where bodyweight exercises step in and save the day! Just rely on gravity and your body’s weight when cutting fat and building muscle in the comfort of your own home and save some money. We will help you discover the best bodyweight exercises for you.

You can easily make pull-ups, pushups, planks, sit-ups, and other bodyweight exercises with little to no equipment and achieve impressive results. Some exercises come in different variations, while others will help you gain a whole new perspective on your body and surroundings in new exciting ways.

Today’s article will provide over 30 bodyweight exercises you can efficiently perform at home and obtain the body of your dreams. I will also share helpful training tips, so let’s get started.

What Are Body Weight Exercises?

Body Weight Exercises are strength-training exercises that use a person’s weight to build resistance against gravity.

They can enhance a wide selection of motor abilities such as balance, endurance, coordination, strength, power, speed, and of course, flexibility and mobility.

Most people scoff when others say that bodyweight exercises work. However, they do! Making air squats won’t provide a 500-pound back squat, but this type of training can still improve mobility and build muscle. The best part? You can do it anywhere!

Before I share the best bodyweight exercises that will help you get in shape over time, let’s discuss the benefits of this training.

5 Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

You can already suppose some of the key benefits of training at home using your weight or minimal equipment. However, let’s list a few just if you need further confirmation.

They’re free!

The best part about bodyweight exercises is that they’re free. You might have to obtain specific equipment such as a pull-up bar or something similar; however, that’s just about it.

You can train pretty much anywhere

If you have enough room in your house or apartment to stretch your arms and legs, you’re good to go! If not, you can always practice your bodyweight workout program in the park.

They actually work

Some people will tell you that bodyweight exercises don’t work. However, they work well for building muscle, developing techniques, preventing injuries due to lack of flexibility or stability, retaining a tight figure, and leading a healthy lifestyle with little effort.

You will experience a lot of improvements

To be more specific, you will notice improvements in your balance and flexibility. They’re the two things every self-respecting fitness person develops at the start of their fitness journey.

They’re excellent for burning fat

The best part about bodyweight exercises is they’re perfect for burning fat. According to studies, a 45-minute workout improves how quickly a body burns fat for about 14 hours.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do At Home

Bodyweight training can be as effective as traditional weight training if performed with immaculate techniques. However, which exercises provide noticeable results? Let’s find out together!

The world’s greatest stretch

Every great workout starts with a stretch! Remember this as you don’t want to hurt yourself later in the exercise. The world’s greatest stretch will improve your mobility and flexibility.

It attacks the shoulders, hips, and T-spine. First, you take a deep lunge position and touch your elbow to the floor. Then, reach up to include your shoulder and back for the ultimate stretch.

You can do this stretch before any workout (loaded or unloaded). It gets your back, shoulders, hips, legs, and core ready for a workout of any kind, so make sure to include it in your program.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The World’s Greatest Stretch Properly

How to do a Pushup Properly

If you don’t have much time on your hands for a full workout, you can quickly activate your body with a set of pushups. They’re the classic fat-burner and improve upper-body strength.

Pushups are also commonly called press ups. However, they are the same exercise. Check out our detailed post about How to do a pushup properly.

Depending on how you time your sets, reps, and volume, pushups can also help build endurance, pushing power, and muscle. You can start with 20 repetitions and work your way up as you go!

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Perfect Pushup

Overhead crunch

If you want to work your abs, the overhead crunch is one of the best ways to do it. Just be super careful as it’s a dangerous exercise that requires flexibility.

This exercise also benefits your stability. As you extend your arms, your upper body becomes longer. It’s what makes this bodyweight exercise challenging and effective.

For the best results, make sure that you’re using your abs instead of your arms to perform it. Therefore, engage your abs by raising your shoulders off the floor.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Overhead Crunch Correctly

Reverse crunch

If you incorporate the reverse crunch in your training, you will get the same benefits as the regular one. However, this one doesn’t attack your spine that hard and takes the pressure off your neck. Additionally, it puts the muscle below your abdominals to work for a reinforced core.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do Reverse Crunch The Right Way

Bicycle crunch

If you’re looking for a challenging cardio and core exercise, look no further than the bicycle crunch. It’s a good exercise that targets two main parts of your core, including your abdominal muscles, your lower abs, and your obliques. It’s also great for improving hip flexors, shoulders, and overall stability.

Watch this Video: This Is How To Do The Bicycle Crunch Properly

Diamond pushup

You can never go wrong with pushups. And if you want to take your pushup game to the next level, try a diamond pushup. You will notice that it’s excellent for exercising your chest and triceps.

The name comes from the placement of the index fingers and thumbs as they form a diamond when you place your hands together. It’s a demanding exercise that improves your balance as well.

Handstand pushup

Don’t let the simplicity of this exercise fool you. It’s a rather tricky exercise that targets and tests your core stability and upper-body strength if done correctly.

You will activate your triceps and shoulders while also putting your 6-pack to work as you slowly balance your legs. My tip is to go as low as you can with caution.

Clap pushup

I’m confident that you’ve already heard of this exercise and how hard it is. However, nothing good comes with ease. So, stop complaining and start exercising.

They will make you feel powerful and help you build up your chest and tricep strength. Just be cautious, especially when you’re going to do pushups to failure.

Suspended pushup

Once you master regular pushups, you can up the intensity of this simple but effective exercise and get a highly effective exercise by doing it on a suspension trainer.

The handles on a suspension trainer aren’t very stable, so suspended pushups are an excellent exercise for growing muscles and establishing long-term shoulder power.

Pike pushup

Another variation of pushups that can make your regular bodyweight training spicier is the pike pushup. It’s a great way to target your shoulders, strengthen your weak spots, and grow muscles quickly.

Side plank

Instead of a standard plank, challenge yourself further with a side plank. Side Planks are still straightforward, but they’re more challenging as they target your core strength.

This bodyweight exercise precisely hits your obliques and transversus abdominis. Just give your best to maintain your hips in line, so you hit your muscles intensely.

Star plank

Once you get tired of the regular bodyweight exercises and your core strength improves, you can kick it up a notch and try star plank. It’s more demanding than traditional planks.

This exercise will improve your resistance and stimulate your muscles in a new way. First, master the rib-to-hip connection, squeezing your glutes and “locking down” your abs.

Mountain climbers

Another great way to exercise your abs and hip flexors are performing mountain climbers. They’re popular among people who prefer athletic training because of their effectiveness.

Mountain climbers help you establish better balance and challenge your upper body. You can perform it with sliding disks under your feet or a medicine ball for even better results.

Step-up knee raises

Don’t fret if you’re trying to gain some lower-body strength or just noticed some imbalance in your pins. I have a solution for you. The step-up knee raises can even out any imbalance.

It will also help strengthen and stabilize your leg muscles. Additionally, if your left side feels weaker than your right, dedicate 15 extra reps to your weaker point and watch it strengthen.

Dips

There’s a wide range of drips you can try in different manners. I like dips because they hit the triceps, which make up 60% of the upper arms. They’re great for enhancing upper-body size and strength.

Meaning they’re worth considering. Just perform a few sets of dips of your choice and watch your chest, back, and shoulders develop! They’re straightforward but also very challenging.

Bench dips

If you want to strengthen your shoulders, chest, and triceps at once, include bench dips in your training session. As you bend, you impact your upper body immensely with your weight, but lift your feet onto a bench at the same height as your handle to get the most out of this exercise.

Inverted row

This exercise targets all the same muscles as a pull-up. Many people compare the inverted row to pull-up lite. However, it’s suitable for beginners since you’re pulling less of your weight.

It’s technically a horizontal rowing exercise. Meaning, you’re parallel to the floor, so it’s similar to barbell rows and cable rows minus the more significant impact and weight. Instead, you’re fighting gravity.

Except for newbies who can’t pull up their whole body weight just yet, this exercise is also beneficial for advanced and experienced fitness freaks who want to execute high-rep back movements.

The best part? It needs little equipment (a rack and barbell). However, if you exercise at home, you can also use a towel wrapped over a closed door, a tabletop, or a broomstick between chairs.

Glute bridge

Many people love the glute bridge because it’s excellent for pain. It specifically targets your glutes while decreasing the possibility of knee and back pain.

You can make this exercise weightless as a warm-up. Or load it to enhance your glute strength. So, if you have weights at home, challenge yourself by making it one leg at a time.

Take a prone position and perform this exercise as long as you can. It will improve your squat strength and deadlift and affect your glutes and hamstrings.

Bear crawl

The bear crawl is the ultimate full-body movement. Getting on all fours and crawling forward maintains your back straight and teaches your body to move as a single unit.

Stabilizing your torso will affect your core, while moving your feet forward will engage your quads. Lastly, moving your arms will put your shoulders to work and improve mobility.

Overall, bear crawl improves coordination, boosts core strength, and lubricates joints. You activate muscles and strengthen your body in many ways, so why not crawl a little?

Spider crawl

The spider crawl resembles the bear crawl. It also has the same effect as beer crawl. Therefore, if you’re chasing that superhero physique, try this primitive exercise. Trust me, and it will crush your core and target your arms, legs, shoulders, and chest all at once. It’s simple but demanding.

Overhead lunge

This exercise is like a traditional lunge, only with your arms lifted above your head. It’s straightforward but still effective. It’s a great exercise to improve your lower body and establish better balance.

Jumping lunge

If you’re looking for a heart rate-boosting experience and excellent leg-strengthening, then the jumping lunge makes a perfect choice for you. When done correctly, this exercise can help develop the lower body power and strength and tackles both hip flexors and muscles around the core.

Box jumps

The box jump is another excellent test of your lower-body power, strength, and explosiveness. Take care that you are landing directly on the box to avoid injury.

When you land, bend your knees and square your hips not to stress your joints. Try stepping off the box instead of jumping off.

Groiners

I know the name is horrible. However, the exercise is pretty incredible. It’s one of the best warm-up exercises. Warming up your hips along with your thoracic region boosts your body’s movements because your muscles extend and contract in the process. This exercise also helps your muscles grow!

Sit-ups

Step up your abs game with sit-ups! They make a perfect circuit finisher because they build core control and stability. I highly suggest that you do sit-ups in a slower and very controlled manner.

Meaning, place your focus on your core muscles instead of utilizing motion to raise your torso. Note that using your hands to pull your heads up will put a strain on your neck, so avoid it if possible.

Burpees

If you’re looking for a good exercise for burning fat, then incorporate the burpee in your training session for sure. It will activate almost every muscle in your body and help you burn calories.

Remember that this bodyweight exercise requires a lot of effort; however, throw it between the sets for strength. Anytime you throw them in, they will still deliver.

Jump squats

As you can notice, I don’t just include the regular bodyweight exercises such as squats but try to mix up things a little. The jump squats make an excellent exercise for both bodybuilders and athletes.

They help improve your lower-body power and ability to pass over obstacles and keep moving quickly. If you want to get the most out of your jump squats, land softly as you dive into your next repetition.

Bulgarian split squat

This split boosts mobility and strength. Performing a squat is hard enough. Add to that the activation and stretch of your rear legs, and the Bulgarian split squat becomes a super-effective bodyweight exercise.

Take my word for it and perform this type of squat instead of a regular squat for a couple of weeks, and watch the number of squat amounts go up. All you need is a knee-high platform and patience.

Pistol squat

The Pistol Squat isn’t a regular squat. This squat is more demanding since the exercise is done with only one leg. I love this exercise because it’s a great test of core strength, balance, and of course, leg power.

When performed correctly, you will lower your body into a one-legged crotch so the angle behind your knee is below 90 degrees. Then, stick your other leg and arms in front of you. It’s a challenging exercise since you need to balance as you lower your body and get back up.

Swiss ball rollout

When working out at home, there’s a rule that you must remember. More tension equals bigger muscle. And this exercise is the perfect way to put more tension on your abs while improving stability.

It forces your shoulders to take control over your body and boosts balance. This exercise involves muscle groups and some joints, so it’s also perfect for releasing hormones to speed up muscle growth.

Standing long jump

People who incorporate standing long jumps into their training routine have a high chance of developing highly explosive strength. This exercise affects your body’s fast-twitch muscle fibers.

In case you didn’t know, these fibers build up endurance, unlike slow-twitch fibers. So, they’re utilized in movements that require a lot of power. Make standing long jumps if you want bigger and better-looking legs for the summer or if you’re looking to boost the strength and power in your pins.

Prone back extension

Everyone can make a reverse hyper in the gym. However, most times, the tension isn’t enough for actual muscle development. Again, the more tension you put onto muscles, the bigger they grow.

Therefore, harder contractions equal bigger muscles! And that’s what this exercise provides. It’s one of the best bodyweight exercises for developing and maintaining a strong lower back.

Superman

Whether you love Supermen or not, you can still benefit from this exercise inspired by his distinctive “flying” position. As you can already suppose, this exercise includes laying on the ground.

Strengthening your back in this position tackles the erector muscles along your spine. Meaning, it’s great for rocking your core and targeting your glutes and hamstrings. It’s also a great warm-up.

Flutter kicks

Flutter kicks not only put abs to work but also tackle hip flexors, glutes, and quads. However, it’s essential to ensure your lower back doesn’t hurt. Otherwise, you can develop redness. Or worse, a bruise. To prevent this from happening, you can rest your hands underneath.

I suggest that you lift your head and shoulders off the mat a little for better core engagement. Otherwise, you will reduce the tension in the muscles.

V-sits

Last but certainly not least, I have a very effective exercise for your six-pack. However, if you want to get the most out of this exercise, you need to make it with control to maximize the benefits.

Note that you shouldn’t over lift your legs during this exercise.

I’ve mentioned a few crunches in this article and they’re very effective but if you want to activate more core muscles, swap crunches with V-sits. The frozen V-sit will provide better results.

Can You Build Muscle With Bodyweight Exercises?

Absolutely! Bodyweight exercises can help you build muscle. You should increase reps, make variations, lower rest times, increase time under pressure, train to failure, and include mechanical drop sets.

Muscle development and growth can happen independently of external loads. Meaning, as long as you do bodyweight exercises for specific parts of your body, you will notice improvement and results.

According to a study by the University of Valencia, press-ups offer the same results as bench presses for building power. Therefore, you don’t really need external weight to build and grow muscles.

Best Bodyweight Exercises – Final Tips

I want to wrap up this article by saying that bodyweight exercises give results! Using various movements that engage multiple muscles and joints can improve strength.

However, to get in shape and keep that shape, you need to perform these exercises with dedication and consistency, but most importantly with passion and great patience.

Additionally, it would be best if you pieced together a complete body workout routine, Then add more sets and reps as you get better. Let me know your favorite bodyweight exercises from this list.