The wonderful thing about bodyweight training is that it can be done anywhere! You require zero equipment, you don’t need a lot of space and you can build a full body workout in the comfort of your own home, in the park or office for free. It doesn't have to be complicated either to make gains in strength, flexibility and general health.
Here are some of my favourite exercises that anyone can do and all can be regressed to make them easier or progressed to make them more challenging. Enjoy!
Squat and Overhead Reach - simple and effective this is a great warm up exercise for the legs, glutes and back. Progress this by turning it into a jump to get the heart pumping!
Standing Lunges - working into the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core this exercise should be integrated into every workout. Focus on trying to get 90 degrees in both legs and bringing your hips forward to feel a deeper stretch into your back quad.
Tip : alternate right to left side
Push Up & Salute - either on the feet or knees, push ups are great for getting the heart rate up while building strength in your forearms, shoulders and chest. And by lifting your hand off the floor you have to engage your core and glutes.
Plank with Knee Drive - great exercise for those abdominals and upper body. Any plank variation is so good for working core strength and saving yourself from back problems. Adding in this knee crunch works those abdominals even more!
Plank Transfer - working your core and arms at the same time. Again this can be performed on the knees if on the feet is too challenging at first. Concentrate on walking the hands directly underneath the shoulders and minimal movement from the hips!
Tip - alternate walking the hands e.g. right, left, right, left and then left, right. left, right...
Alternate Leg Extensions - make sure to keep your back against the floor and only extend the legs as far as you can while maintaining that flat back. Work the lower abdominals even more by not bringing your legs all the way in and make it easier by keeping the extended leg on the floor.
Boat Pose - make sure the back doesn’t round and lengthen the front of your torso, shoulders away from your ears. At first the legs don’t have to be straight, keeping the feet off the floor is enough, trying to get the shins parallel to the floor. Hold onto the back of the legs for extra support. Wonderful for strengthening the abdominals, hip flexors and spine.
Oblique Knee Lowers - start by lying on your back, arms level with your shoulders and the legs in table top position. Keeping both shoulders on the floor, take the knees to the right, hovering off the floor then lifting back to centre and to the left using your obliques and trying not to push into the floor with your arms! Slower the better with this one.
Glute Leg Lifts - Start in a table top position with your forearms on the floor, then alternate lifting the knees off the floor. Squeeze the glutes and engage your abdominals to prevent over arching the spine.
Tip : progress by completing one set on one side before changing legs
Oblique Kick Through to Single Leg Downward Dog - work those obliques, upper body, back and stretch the back of the legs with this killer move. Make this one easier by just bringing the knee towards the opposite elbow and work up to fully extending the leg.
Crow Pose - a well known yoga pose but I love incorporating this one into workouts because it is a super exercise for working on balance and building strength in your arms and core. Start with your toes on the floor then build the posture by taking one foot off the floor slowly and then the other.
Reverse Plank - fire up the back of the legs, glutes, core and upper body with this full body exercise. Start with both feet on the floor and push your heels into the floor and keeping the shoulders directly over the wrists. If you want to progress this then alternate lifting the legs off the floor while keeping the hips level.
Plank with Leg Lifts - core, core, core! And by lifting the legs off the floor one at a time you are making the core work harder to stabilise you and the glutes are working too!
Half Tricep Press - if tricep push ups are proving too challenging or you feel it in your lower back even with knees on the floor then this is a great alternative. You can really focus on toning the back of the arms and saying goodbye to any bingo wings!
Tip : complete one set on one side before changing to the other arm.
Bunny Hops - plyometric exercises are the most wonderful fat burners and will give you defined abs much quicker than hundreds of crunches and this move will get that heart rate moving at super speed as well as great practice for anyone working towards handstands like me!
Kick Throughs - starting in table top position with your knees hovering off the floor. Then cross the right leg in front of the body, bringing your left hand to your temple. Return back to table top then go to the other side crossing the left leg in front and lifting your right hand to your temple. This one always confuses someone but really it's quite simple! So give it a try! Work the abdominals more by slowing the exercise down and turn it into a cardio exercise by speeding it up.
Ready? Here we go!
Beginners - 30 seconds work, 45 seconds rest in between exercises
Intermediate - 45 seconds work, 30 seconds rest in between exercises
Advanced - 60 seconds work, 15 seconds rest in between exercises
I recommend performing each exercise in a circuit style to get the heart rate really going and depending on your fitness level or time go for 1, 2 or 3 rounds!
As I always preach, exercise should be enjoyable as well as challenging! If you have any questions relating to fitness, nutrition or lifestyle then don't hesitate to get in touch.