5 Essential Bodyweight Exercises

5 Essential Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercises are a fundamental addition to anybody’s fitness routine because they are so versatile. They are also functional movement, teaching you how to move your body safely with proper movement mechanics.

These 5 fundamental bodyweight exercises will help you strengthen your joints, activate your core, target the correct muscles and sync all the muscles in your body appropriately. Intensity can easily be achieved with bodyweight movements by increasing speed of movement or adding load.

1. AIR SQUAT

   

Benefits &
Muscles targeted

Squats
are the ultimate lower body exercise they target the quads, hip-flexors glutes,
hamstrings, calves & core.

Technique

  • Begin with your feet shoulder-width distance apart and reach
    your arms out in front to help counterbalance you.
  • Standing tall, brace your abs and wiggle your toes to shift
    your weight towards your heels.
  • Flexing at the hips & knees, sit back and down driving
    your knees out and bringing your hip crease below parallel with your knees.
  • Reverse back to standing and squeeze your butt at the
    top.

Scaling

Beginners should squat as deep as their body
allows – the majority of people will struggle to get anywhere near parallel
with correct form when first starting. If needed you can squat to a chair if
that helps.

2. BICYCLE CRUNCHES

  

Benefits and Muscles targeted

Bicycle crunches will take your abs to the next
level! They work the rectus abdominis (your six-pack abs) and external obliques.
Secondary muscles used are quads, hamstrings and glutes.

Technique:

  • Lie face
    up and place your hands behind your head for support (do not pull on your head
    or neck).
  • Brace
    your abs and press the small of your back into the ground.
  • Bend your
    knees and draw them in towards your chest as you lift your shoulders away from
    the ground.
  • From this
    tucked position extend your right leg out hovering your foot about 6 inches
    away from the ground. At the same time rotate your body to the left, bringing
    your right elbow to touch your left knee.
  • Alternate
    each side in a pedaling motion like you’re riding a bike.

Scaling

Beginners may extend their legs up towards the
ceiling creating a larger angle and greater distance between the foot and the
floor. Beginners may also want to rest a few seconds between sets of
repetitions, for example every 10 reps.

3. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

  

Benefits
& Muscles Targeted:

Mountain climbers are a plyometric exercise that will get
your heart rate up! They are a full body workout engaging the legs and
abdominals as well as the muscles in your upper arms.

 

Technique:

  • Start in a push-up position supporting
    your bodyweight on your hands and toes.
  • Flex your knee and hip to bring one leg
    forward and upwards until the knee is underneath your hip.
  • Start here and then reverse by extending
    the bent leg straight back as you bring your back foot forward to your hand.
    Continue to alternate for a specified time or number of repetitions.

Scaling

 

Beginners may move more slowly until they are
able to move more fluidly through transitions and maintain speed.

4. LUNGES

   

Benefits &
Muscles targeted

Walking lunges are great as a lower-body, compound
exercise. They target the quads, glutes & hamstrings primarily, and the
calves and core as secondary stabilizing muscles.

 

Technique

  • Start with feet
    at shoulder-width distance apart and your hands either at your sides or by your
    hips.
  • Step one foot
    forward and bend at the knee. Keep your back toes tucked under as you lower
    your hips until your rear knee touches the ground.
  • Keep your back
    straight and torso upright as you drive through the heel of your front foot and
    extend both knees to return to standing. Repeat the above as you bring your
    rear foot forward into a lunge.

 

Scaling

Beginners can perform walking lunges with small
steps, placing emphasis on the quads.

5. PUSH-UPS

   

Benefits &
Muscles targeted

Push-ups
are one of the most common and popular bodyweight exercises for the upper body
as they work the chest, triceps and shoulders.

 

Technique:

  • Start in a plank position with your
    hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart with your body supported on your
    toes.
  • Keep your body as straight as possible
    by squeezing your glutes and bracing your abs.
  • Lower your chest to the ground by
    bending at the elbows and keeping them locked in tight to your sides.
  • Extend your elbows and push the floor
    away from you as you return to your starting position.

Scaling

Beginners
can start on their knees and use a pillow or cushioned object beneath their
chest until comfortable with supporting their whole bodyweight.

Need some inspiration and guidance for bodyweight workouts you can take anywhere? Our workout guide has got all bases covered to help your body hit the level of intensity it needs and support your body composition goals!

Beach Body Ready with Roz

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