Best Bodyweight Workouts to Do at Home
During the current ongoing situation it’s difficult to find the motivation to keep up with your fitness while you’re stuck in doors. Perhaps with missing the gym you’ve already restored to jogging in place to try and replicate the treadmill!
But don’t worry – there are plenty of exercises you can do to get moving in an effective, productive way. In fact, you can easily transform your living room floor into your new temporary gym space.
You don’t need fancy gym equipment or machines, all you need is a mat. And a few key bodyweight workouts that are simple and effective at improving balance, flexibility, and strength. We’ve got some of the absolute best bodyweight workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home. From legs and shoulders to chest and abs, these exercises can help you tone your body, get stronger and keep on track with your weight loss goals…
Remember, have a plan
Before we go into our best picks, it’s important to know that although bodyweight workouts seem simple, if you don’t have a workout plan in place, you’ll make less progress and be less motivated to get moving.
Having a plan will mean setting specific goals per week, that then add up to monthly goals. This focuses your workouts each day and ensures that you’re more likely to actually do something worth your while. Don’t overdo things and make sure you always warm up and cool down your body before and after workouts.
Best bodyweight workouts
When doing these exercises, run through each one 3 times to really give your body a full workout. You could always focus on specific muscle groups for each workout. For example, doing a routine of squat movements and single-leg hip raises to really work your lower body and core.
Squats are a spectacular bodyweight workout exercise, as not only can they tone your legs, they actually work your core and whole body, from your calves to your abdominal muscles and lower back.
Our PrepPerfect athlete, PT and blogger, Vicky Hadley (IG: @vickyhadley_fit) recommends them:
“Squats are great to do bodyweight as they are a compound exercise. This means they work more than one muscle at once. The quads, hamstrings and glutes will all be involved.”
To do these, simply stand with your feet parallel or turned out 15 degrees. From here, slowly lower your body into a crouching position by bending hips and knees. Lower yourself until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Then press through your heels to return to a standing position.
“Try and engage the core at the top. Breathe in as you lower down and breathe out as you return to standing. Keep pressing through the heels and try not to let the knees drop in.”
The standard push-up is still one of the best exercises out there. And to easily execute this classic bodyweight workout exercise, begin with your hands shoulder-width apart and keep your feet flexed at hip distance.
Keeping tension in your core, slowly bend your elbows until your chest reaches the floor, then push back up. Keep your elbows tucked close to your body as you do this. Then repeat.
“This exercise will work the triceps and chest, breathe in as you lower down and breathe out as you press up.”
“Tuck the hips under and try to control the tempo in which you lower to the ground. If it feels extremely difficult opt for a knee variation before moving onto your toes.”
This exercise works the whole body and although you won’t be climbing Everest with these, you’ll certainly be building some strong abs. To start this exercise, get yourself back into a press-up position, with your arms straight and your legs extended.
Keep your core tight and your shoulders braced as you bring one knee towards your chest, then return it to the starting position. Repeat this exact movement with the alternate leg, while ensuring your hips and feet are in a straight line as you do this. You can do this slowly or quicken up the pace to really get your heart pumping. If you do speed up, make sure your form doesn’t suffer.
Without a doubt these are one of the most effective full-body exercises you can do. And just like the other bodyweight workout exercises on this list, they burn fat and help build muscle mass too.
Simply get yourself into a low squat position, with your hands placed on the floor. Then quickly kick your feet back into a full push-up position. Do a quick push-up and then immediately return your feet to the squat position. From here, push your body up into a jump before landing and squatting and moving back into the push-up position. Rinse and repeat for each burpee.
Don’t worry, we’re not referring to some old form of punishment dished out by pirates, we’re actually talking about one of the most effective exercises for working your core muscles.
“Plank is another great option to train purely using your bodyweight. This exercise works the abdominal muscles as well as the shoulders.”
To do this, simply lie facedown, have your forearms on the floor, with your hands clasped. Ensure that your legs are extended behind you and from this starting position, raise up onto your toes. Hold this position, while keeping your back straight.
“Remember to breathe in during the exercise and try not to let the glutes lift too high or drop too low by keeping the core engaged. Start with 20-30 seconds and try to increase by 5-10 seconds a day! Good luck!”
Single-leg hip raises
These are great for really hitting your glutes and core muscles, and to do them, you need to start by lying on your back. Bend your right knee and have your right foot flat on the floor.
From this starting position, slowly raise your left leg so that it becomes in line with your right thigh. While keeping the left leg off the floor, push your hips upwards. Then slowly return to the starting position and swap over to the opposite leg to repeat the movement.
Whatever exercise you decide to include with your bodyweight workouts at home, keep focused and stick to your workout plan to really make these exercises count. Plus, make sure you fuel your body with the right fresh, nutritious and healthy meals to really see the results you want without the gym.