Body weight exercises are simple to do, and can be done at a park, your house or even a hotel room. Besides being convenient and inexpensive, these compound exercises will engage multiple joints, different muscle groups and can increase your flexibility. Endurance athletes usually have underdeveloped supporting muscles, so simple body weight movements can re balance and strengthen muscle groups that need extra attention.
Body weight exercises can be done as a single exercise or you can group multiple exercises together and knock out a circuit-training workout. When it comes to your workouts, you’re only limited by your own creativity.
These are my 10 favorite body weight exercises that you can do almost anywhere.
- Calf Raises – Stand up straight, then push through the balls of your feet and raise your heel until you are standing on your toes. Then lower slowly back to the start.
- Push -Ups – Begin with your chest and stomach flat on the floor. Your legs should be straight out behind you and your palms should be at chest level with the arms bent out at a 45-degree angle. Exhale as you push from your hands and heels, bringing your torso, chest, and thighs off the ground.
- Pull-Ups – Begin from a dead hang: arms fully extended, hands about shoulder width apart (palms facing out for pull-ups, facing you for chin-ups), elbows straight, chest up, shoulders back and tight, eyes trained on the bar above. Pull yourself up toward the bar, leading with the chest and keeping your eyes focused on the bar. Drive your elbows toward the floor. Clear the bar with your chin. Lower yourself in a controlled fashion.
- Sit-Ups – Lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place them behind your ears, without pulling on your neck. Curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. Exhale as you lift. Slowly, lower yourself down, returning to your starting point. Inhale as you lower.
- Chair Dips – Sit in a chair holding onto the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing forward. Slide your bottom off the seat and hold yourself up with straight arms, keeping your body close to the chair. Slowly lower your body for two counts as you bend your elbows (they should point directly behind you, not out to the sides); straighten your arms for a count of two. Make sure your arms (not your feet) are supporting your weight throughout the motion.
- Tricep Push-Ups – Begin in plank position with the arms and body straight, shoulders over the wrists. Keep the core engaged. Bend the elbows behind you and lower your chest to the floor. Keep your upper arms tight to your body so your elbows are against your ribs on both sides. Straighten the arms, coming back to plank position.
- Squats – Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Pull in your lower abs, and keep your eyes forward. Slowly bend at the knees and drop your hips to lower your body. Keep your heels flat on the floor. At the bottom of the exercise pause for a moment and strongly push back up to the starting position, mirroring the descent. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the movement to avoid strain or injury.
- Jumps – Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hips back, as if you were just beginning a squat. Now spring up into the highest jump possible, bringing knees to chest. Land softly on toes in the starting position.
- Mountain Climbers – Start on your hands and knees. Bring left foot forward, directly under chest, while straightening right leg. Keeping hands on the floor and core tight, jump and switch legs. Your left leg should now be extended behind you, with your right knee forward.
- Planks – Assume a modified push-up position with your elbows bent 90 degrees and both forearms resting on the floor. Position your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and look straight toward the floor. Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.