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You may scoff when someone says that bodyweight training is worth your time, but we suggest rethinking your position. Repping out air squats probably won’t grant you a 500-pound back squat, but bodyweight training can build muscle, improve mobility, and be done from virtually anywhere.
On the list below, you’ll find seven of the best bodyweight exercises that we bet you’ve probably heard of before. We’re not duping you. These moves have survived the test of time for a reason — they’ll help you achieve the muscle and mobility you strive for. They include:
The Best Bodyweight Exercises
The list that follows contains seven of the best bodyweight exercises. Are they basic? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. In selecting these movements, we focused on targeting your fundamental movement patterns and ensuring that all of the exercises engage multiple muscles.
We also elaborate on the benefits of bodyweight training and how you can progress with these movements sans weights.
The push-up is one of the most basic and effective moves for improving upper body strength. And it really couldn’t be easier to do. You get on all fours, keep your back straight, and repeatedly lower yourself down and up — working the chest, triceps, and shoulders in the process. Your core will also benefit, too, as the push-up is essentially a moving plank that forces your entire body to stabilize.
Benefits of the Push-up
- It can be done anywhere with no equipment.
- The push-up activates the core.
- It strengthens the entire torso, making it a useful upper-body move.
How to Do the Push-up
Get into a plank position with feet together and hands underneath your shoulders. Keep the abs tight and your butt just slightly up. Now, lower yourself, under control, until your chest is about an inch from the floor. Hold for a beat, and then drive yourself back up.
You must be shocked to see the squat is in this lineup, right? Of course, we’re being sarcastic, and you already know that because the squat is highly regarded as one of the best movements — loaded or unloaded — for improving your mobility and taxing your legs. Some even refer to the squat as the king of all lifts (including us). If you want to sprint faster, jump higher, lift heavier, and look sexier — then squat.
Benefits of the Squat
- You’ll improve mobility as the squat has your body move through multiple planes of motion to complete the exercise.
- Youll gain more leg muscle as the squat targets your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors.
How to Do the Squat
Stand tall with feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and squat down, driving the hips back simultaneously. Keep squatting until the bottom of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor or lower, if comfortable. Drive through the heels to stand back up.
Think of an inverted row as…