Gyms are expensive.
Not only is there a significant financial commitment involved with gym memberships, but there is an even bigger time commitment required.
Sometimes, if not most of the time, it can be hard to find the time to get ready, make the ten-minute drive to the gym, spend an hour working out and then spend another ten minutes driving home.
Home workouts are much more practical. However, home workouts have their own issues as proper equipment can be expensive.
That’s why I decided to take things one step further in this article, looking beyond gym workouts and the traditional home workout ideas. Instead, I will lay out the 12 best bodyweight exercises for weight loss you can do.
Those opposed to bodyweight workouts usually have the notion that you need weights, and you can’t possibly get a good workout without weights. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
You can tone your muscles, burn calories and gain strength with a bodyweight workout the same as you can using weights, if you do the right exercises.
While some bodyweight exercises may not work, the following 12 bodyweight exercises are sure to work for you. All you need is to pick the ones you like, set aside fifteen minutes every morning or night and stay committed to completing the workout all in the comfort of your home every day. In no time, you are sure to see great results and make those new years resolution fitness goals become a reality.
Burpees are a great exercise that is sure to help you tone up your entire body as it works your lower body, upper body and your core.
For this exercise, you will start standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart. As you begin, you will go straight into a squat position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. From the squat position, you will push your feet back, leading you to land in a plank position. From here, you will jump back to a squat position and jump explosively in the air. When you come down, land back into a squat position and repeat the process.
Burpees can be difficult at first, but they work really well in delivering a great, calorie burning exercise.
Pull-ups are a great way to tone up your upper body without needing any weights. You may need to get creative in finding a place to do them, but they will definitely help you burn some calories.
To perform a pull-up, you will need to find something that you can pull-up on. This can be a door opening at your house, a front porch roof or playground equipment if you live close to a park, or a pull-up bar of your own, as Fringe Sport has many to choose from. After find a place to do pull-ups, you will start with your hands just above shoulder width apart above your head, and then pull until your chin is above the bar. If you struggle to get your chin above the bar, think about pushing your elbows down as your chin approaches the bar.
While this exercise may not be for everyone, it is a great bodyweight exercise for those who have the strength to perform it and a great way to measure your progress for those who aren’t quite there yet.
Dips are slightly similar in concept to pull ups as they target similar muscle groups, but are different in practice.
To perform a dip, you need to find a place that has two stable bars on each side of you. If you have a rack, you can use a dip station attachment for the rack, but Fringe Sport also offers one that attaches to a wall and is foldable for convenience and saving space. Once you find a good place, you will grab the dip bars, jump up and straighten your arms out. You will then lower your body until your shoulders are below your elbows, and then push yourself back up.
While dips can be slightly easier than pull ups, they still can be challenging if your upper body strength is not quite developed, so be patient if you struggle at first.
4. Tuck Jumps
Tuck jumps are not only a great lower body workout, but they are also a great ab workout as well.
To perform a tuck jump, you will start standing straight up in an athletic stance with your feet just slightly wider than your shoulders. As you begin, slightly bend your knees and lower your body quickly into a squat position then explode, tucking your knees into your chest. After you land, start right into your next jump, making sure you aren’t taking breaks in between.
Tuck jumps are an easy exercise that anyone can do. They work well in helping you to burn calories and improve your overall cardio.
Probably the most popular bodyweight exercise, push-ups are a great way to improve your upper body strength and tone your muscles.
To perform a push-up, you will start in a plank position with your hands around shoulder level. Slowly lower your body until your chest is just barely off the ground, and then push yourself back up into plank position. Repeat this process as much as you possibly can. Push-ups are a great way to build yourself up to where you can do pull-ups and dips. If you struggle with push-ups, you can start by building strength with a knee push-up variation, or you can find an elevated surface (like a set of stairs or plyo box) and place your hands there for incline push-ups until more strength is gained.
Push-ups are the most popular bodyweight exercise for a reason; They work and almost everyone can do at least one. So you have no excuse not to do some push-ups today.
Although lunges are much more challenging when you are holding weights, they are still a great lower body exercise without weights.
In order to perform a lunge, you will start standing straight up in an athletic stance. From there, you will lunge your left foot forward and squat down, keeping your right knee from touching the ground. After this, explode back up into a standing position, and then put your right foot forward and repeat the process.
While lunges are easy in concept, they can become challenging after you do them for a while, so I would say the degree of difficulty is hard. However, they are a fantastic way to tone up your lower body muscles.
Similar to lunges, squats are another way to work your lower body with only your bodyweight, but they also serve as a back strengthening exercise as well.
To perform a squat, you will in the same way as you would if you were performing a lunge, standing straight up in an athletic stance. From this point, you will bend your knees and squat, lowering your lower body until your legs are at a 90-degree angle. After this, explode up back into a standing position. Repeat the process as many times as you can.
Squats are an easy exercise, but they can become challenging after doing them for a while. They work really well in helping you tone up your lower body muscles and burn calories.
8. Step Ups
Another leg exercise, step ups are a great bodyweight exercise that allows you to burn calories while toning up your muscles.
To perform a step up, you will need to find a sturdy, durable box that you can step up on, like a foam multi-sided box (which allows for different levels of difficulty in step height) or a wooden multi-sided plyo box. If you don’t have one, then consider using the steps on your front porch. You will start in a standing position and as you begin you will lift your left leg onto the box and push yourself up with the leg that is still on the ground. After you explode up, you will come back down and reset before repeating the process with your right leg.
Like the other leg exercises, step ups are rather easy at first but can grow to be incredibly difficult the longer you do them. However, there is arguably no better exercise for quick explosion then step ups.
9. Mountain Climbers
Although many think of mountain climbers as a lower body workout, they do a great job in targeting every single muscle group in your body.
To perform a mountain climber, you will start in plank position. You will then pull one knee up towards your midsection. As your knee extends back towards the ground, prepare to bring the other knee up towards your midsection. Repeat this process as long as desired. Mountain climbers are meant to be performed at a fast-paced, so go as fast as you comfortably can.
Mountain climbers are exhausting but are not really hard to perform. They are great for a beginner and can be used as their own workout if desired.
10. Stair Climbs
A more cardio based bodyweight exercise, stair climbs also are a great way to target your lower body muscles.
To perform a stair climb, you will first need a flight of stairs. If you live in a two-story house or an apartment that has a set of stairs, then problem solved. If not, then you will need to find a football stadium or a steep hill for this activity. Once you find a good flight of stairs, you will do exactly what the name of the exercise indicates - climb stairs. Be sure to start slow so you don’t trip and fall, but as you get comfortable increase your pace for the best possible exercise.
Stair climbs are probably the most demanding exercise this list, but the most rewarding when it comes to losing weight. So if you don’t mind a challenge, try adding stair climbs to your bodyweight workout.
11. Wall Sits
Wall sits are another great way to target your lower body and back muscles by utilizing nothing more than the weight of your body.
All you need to perform a wall sit is, well, a wall. For this exercise, you will get into position by standing straight up and leaning your back against the wall. After this, slowly lower your body until your legs are at a 90-degree angle and hold it for as long as you can. I would recommend keeping a timer of how long you last, so you can measure your progress as you get in better shape.
Wall sits are very simple and somewhat easy for the first thirty seconds. After that, it can become quite challenging and a tough test of how well you can endure a burning pain in your legs.
12. Lunge Jumps
The last lower body exercise on the list, lunge jumps are a fantastic way to improve both your lower body strength and your cardio endurance.
You perform a lunge jump similar to how you would perform a regular lunge but with a slight variation at the end. You start the same way as if you were to do a normal lunge, lunge the same way, but at the point of returning to a standing position, you are going to explode straight up into the air, jumping as high as you can.
Lunge jumps are like lunges on steroids. If you are new to bodyweight workouts, I would suggest starting with a basic lunge and working your way up to lunge jumps.
If you are strapped for time but still want to stay in good shape and get a great workout in without cutting significantly into the other areas of your life, well now you can with these 12 exercises.
In other words, you have no excuse not to make your fitness related goals become a reality, starting today.
Don't forget that strength bands are a great, easy to use way to help with strength exercises, as well. Take them with you when you travel or can't find time to go to a gym.
Aaron Westbury is a fitness enthusiast and the owner of ropecity.net. He enjoys living a healthy lifestyle and helping others to reach their health and fitness related goals.