Body Weight Exercises for Beginners
You don’t always need a lot of equipment or machines to get an effective workout. In fact, even if you have a fully decked-out home gym, one of the best workouts you can do involves nothing but you and your own resolve. The advantage of body weight exercises is that you can do them anytime, anywhere, and they’re guaranteed to get you closer to that prized "toned" look. They're a simple, effective and free way to improve balance, flexibility, strength and build muscle without any extra equipment. You can work out every part of your body, from legs to abs as well as shoulders, arms and chest, with body weight exercises alone.
What Are Body Weight Exercises?
Body weight exercises are exactly what the name implies – exercises that utilize your own body's weight against you. With no equipment and in only the space of a yoga mat, you can train your body and pump your muscles using body resistance alone. Use this guide and then do a web search to find more exercises that are best suited to your needs. Mix and match to target different muscles and be sure to give your muscles a rest between workouts. For example, focus on legs one day and arms the next. Do chest and back twice a week, abs once a week and so on. Here are some sample body weight exercises to get you started.
A Workout for Your Shoulders and Arms
- Standard Pushups – and all its varieties. Try a diamond pushup (put your hands in a diamond-shaped position with your thumbs and index fingers touching) for a great tricep workout.
- Triceps Dip – Sit down with your back to a step or bench. Grab the edge of the bench or step with the back of your palms, and push yourself down to the floor. Think of it as a reverse push up off of an elevated surface.
- Arm Flex – Though it sounds hard to believe, the mere act of flexing your muscles can build muscle. Flex your arms as if you’re showing off your biceps. Squeeze as hard as you can and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat.
Using Body Weight to Tone Your Legs
- Wall Sit – Bend your knees with your back against a wall, as if you were sitting on a chair. Hold this position as long as possible. This will target your calves and hamstrings.
- Lunge – Stand with the hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step one leg forward and lean your body forward until your back knee is almost touching the floor. Your front leg should be bent about 90 degrees.
- Standing Calf Raise – Grab something heavy in one hand, and grab something for support with the other. Lift one leg behind you and raise your whole body up with your other leg until you’re standing only on your toes. Repeat up and down.
A Body Weight Routine for Your Chest and Back
- Contralateral Limb Raises – Lie on your stomach with arms outstretched and palms facing one another. Slowly lift one arm a few inches off the floor and keep it straight. Hold this position then switch arms.
- Supermans – For this one, you also have to lie on your stomach. Extend your arms and legs outward off the floor, balancing only on your stomach. Arch your back to form a curve in your body. Hold as long as you can.
- Pushups – Pushups are also great for the chest and back. Try modified pushups such as one-arm pushups and dolphin pushups. For a dolphin pushup, place your forearms on the ground and hold your biceps to measure a shoulder-width distance and interlace your fingers. Put your body in an otherwise normal pushup position. Then slowly inch your hips toward the sky, until you form a sort of V position. Hold your body there for a few seconds then extend back to the ground and repeat.
Let Your Body Be Your Fitness Equipment
Try these and other body weight exercises for a fat-burning workout that'll keep you feeling good and looking great while toning your muscles! Don't forget your cool-down routine after any exercise regimen. Always remember to stretch and hydrate.
If you'd like to learn more about using your own body mass to help you get fit and you want to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of nutritionists, coaches, and personal trainers. We'd be happy to refer you to one who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by our store in Thousand Oaks or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.