Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated. For gym newbies in particular, we recommend keeping things nice and simple — no clunky machinery or expensive equipment required. All you need is your own bodyweight and a little motivation.
Best of all, bodyweight exercises can be easily customized to your fitness level with different variations, so you control the intensity and difficulty.
To maximize your bodyweight workout, choose exercises that incorporate all muscle groups. Find a comfortable location where you can move freely and warm up with five to 10 minutes of light cardio followed by dynamic stretching. Feel free to mix and match these easy bodyweight exercises to create a winning workout as you see fit.
Ready? Let’s begin!
One minute (about 25 sit-ups, see chart)
Begin on the floor on your back, your knees bent at a right angle, with your hands resting lightly behind your head for support. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and curl your body towards your knees until you are in an upright position. Remember to contract your core muscles. Do not strain your head or neck. Sit-ups are a great workout for your core, triceps, pectoral and deltoid muscles.
2. Crab Walk
One Minute (requires space to move around)
Make sure you have a lot of room for this one. Begin on your hands and feet with your hips off the ground, chest up. Crab walk forward for 10 yards, and back for 10 yards. This exercise is can be fun, but surprisingly challenging, working your core legs and shoulders.
3. Bear Crawl
One minute (requires space to move around)
Begin on your hands and feet walking forward in bear strides. Crawl forward for 10 yards and back for 10 yards. Just like the crab crawl, this exercise is surprisingly tough after you’ve done it a few times! The bear walk works your core, trapezius, triceps, shoulders and chest muscles.
One minute (about 25 push-ups, see chart)
Ah, the standard push-up. Begin on the floor. Keeping your feet together, lift your body up off the floor with your hands, keeping your hands and shoulders aligned. Lower yourself to the floor with your arms so that your chest is just a few inches from the floor. Then push your body back up again. This counts as one rep. There are many variations of push-ups, and difficulty may be increased or decreased depending on fitness level. (Go down onto your knees if you’re struggling with standard push-ups). Push-ups work the triceps, pectorals, core and deltoids.
5. Dirty Dogs
One minute (about 25 reps)
Begin on all fours on the floor. Lift your right knee off the floor and extend the leg out to the side, as if kicking out to the side. Return your right leg to starting position and repeat 12 times, then repeat with your left knee. The dirty dog is great for toning trouble spots. If you really want a tough workout, try incorporating a push-up each time you lift your leg.
Bodyweight exercises require stamina, balance and flexibility. Like most things in life, the more you do it, the better you will become at it. Be patient, stick with it and realize your fitness potential.