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Guide to Bodyweight Exercises

Body weight exercises

Taking your workout to a well-equipped gym is a fantastic way to get into shape or keep fit, but distractions such as other people occupying machines can slow your routine down. This is particularly relevant to the weights section which can get pretty congested, but have you thought about using your body as a weight? It’s the ultimate way to keep up a good consistency in routine as your body is always there to use – there are some great ways to work out and target particular muscle groups with just yourself and a mat.

To keep in mind

The most important mind-set to adopt when it comes to exercise is to view the activity as a habit rather than a chore. You’re not going to keep up with it if you look at it in a negative light, it’s going to get you the results you truly want.

Bodyweight training could be seen as a basic workout which can take place in the comfort of your own home, but you need to take it seriously with structure and routine. Make sure you:

  • Establish a routine – are you going to train in the mornings before work or when you get home? Mould the time around your day-to-day activity.
  • Keep an eye on your progress – If you want great results to materialise then you need to track yourself. Can you do more push ups then your records from a few weeks ago? If you can it’s a push in the right direction – set yourself a goal of reps to achieve and hit it.
  • Time and space – Be sure to designate a time where you know you’ll be free and in a space where you can go uninterrupted.
  • Prepare yourself – Even though you’re not in a gym environment, you need to warm up to get your heart going and to loosen your muscles.

Four bodyweight exercises to trial

Squats – Squats are easy to perform, it’s simply a case of leaning up against a wall with a straight spine, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands held behind your head. When in this position bend your knees and hips – lower yourself down and re-emerge in your standing stance. This is an excellent exercise regulating and increasing mobility in ankles and hips. 

Push ups – This is a classic which is usually a part of a vast array of fitness routines. This seemingly simple exercise develops your shoulders, chest, triceps and abs simultaneously. The exercise also engages with your core muscles which assist your posture and balance whilst toning your chest and shoulders.

Burpees – One of the great cardio workouts paired with weight resistance. You’ll achieve these by beginning in a lowered squat position with hands flat on the floor. Spring your feet back into the push-up stance, carry out the push-up then return to your original. Finally, you’ll need to jump up as high as you can vertically before landing in your original squat position.

Planks – These are a great way to target abdominal and arm muscles. It’s easy to carry out but gets harder to maintain. Extend your legs and prop yourself up with your elbows so your forearms are directly beneath your shoulders. Raise your body in the style of a push-up pointing your toes, this enables you to use your core muscles to keep yourself flat and upright. Hold this position for as long as you can, rest, and repeat.

You can take these routines with you anywhere, all you need to give yourself is space and time. Don’t rush anything, take it easy to start with then increase your reps as you get more in tune. Best of luck!