This Bodyweight Workout Uses Some of Our Top Exercises
Even if your home gym is lacking weights at the moment (or if there’s not quite enough space or gear in your home to even come close to calling a workout space your ‘gym’), there’s no need to stress. If the past year has proved anything for the fitness world, it’s that you can have an intense total-body workout using just your bodyweight.
Bodyweight exercises aren’t just a last resort, either. Equipment-free training is a go-to modality for both minimalists and serious athletes, as you can challenge yourself with both basics and difficult maneuvers that use nothing but your own body and gravity to train your muscles. From your legs to your core to your chest, no-gear exercises can push just about every muscle group to your limits.
We’ve put together a 5-move sequence that will target your core, arms, chest, and back and without a kettlebell or dumbbell in sight. All you need is a mat and a small space, and you’ll be good to get sweating and stronger.
The Bodyweight Workout
Perform each exercise for the allotted time, with minimal rest between each. Repeat for 4 to 5 rounds total.
45 to 60 seconds
The plank is one of the best exercises you can do because it’s not just your six-pack, it’s your whole core, glutes, back and abs all working together,” says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “The plank is a full-body exercise—you’re going to get tension all the way from you arms to your feet.
For a perfect plank, you want a flat back with your core and glutes squeezed. Pick your core up by tightening up your belly button into your spine. Contract your lats and rhomboids to keep your back tight. Your elbows should be stacked right underneath your shoulders in a level position with your head in a neutral position.
45 to 60 seconds
The hollow hold is a great move to train your core and correct your posture.
Drive your lower back into the ground and think about squeezing a bug between your back and the ground—there should be no room in between. Do this by flexing your abs. Next, raise your legs 2 to 3 inches above the ground. Extend your arms beyond your head. To modify, bring your arms in front of you and tuck in your knees while continuing to press your back into the ground.
15 to 20 reps
The pushup is a move you’ve been doing since the third grade, but your form may still not be perfect.
Start in a pushup position. Squeeze your glutes and core. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, screwing your hands into the ground to create a slight external rotation. Your neck should be neutral. Squeeze your shoulder blades as you lower, keeping your elbows close to the torso, creating a 45-degree angle. Push all the way back up. If you need to modify, to do it on a bench rather than dropping to your knees to take off some of the load.
8 to 10 reps each side
The bird dog may be the most underrated core exercise.
Start on all fours and make sure your shoulders are stacked directly under your wrists. Get your knees on the same plane as your wrists, which creates a nice wide base. Look at the ground in a neutral position. Squeeze your shoulder blades, which creates a little bit of tension as you start to squeeze your abs. Extend your right arm out as much as you can with your thumb facing up. Bring your hand back to the ground and repeat with the other arm. Then do the same thing with your legs, extending your right foot back as much as you can and squeezing through your glutes to create that balance. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the ground. Now lift your right arm and left leg, and hold for 1 to 2 seconds. Then repeat left arm and right leg. Alternate.
The superman hold is a bodyweight back exercise that you can take anywhere.
Lay on your belly, and keep your head looking straight at the ground in a neutral position, not craned upwards. Squeeze your glutes, which should automatically lift your feet off the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades and lift your shoulders up, extending them as far as you can in front of you. Take your time, holding for 1 to 2 seconds. You should feel this in your glutes and mid-back.
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