The Best Body Weight Exercises 
For Lean Slimming Muscle

Body weight exercises are the newest fad in the fitness world. Expert trainers are promoting them and health magazines are including sample workouts in almost every issue. Why? 

Well, after years of pushing expensive equipment and complex machines, trainers are discovering that the best workouts are free, and the most effective exercise tool is actually our very own body. 

Exercises such as squats and pushups are all based on the principle that your own body weight will engage muscles, burn calories, and firm up those saggy areas just as efficiently as fancy machines. 


6 of The Best Body Weight Exercises


Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches are a basic core exercise good for strengthening your lower abs and providing extra stability for your lower back and spine.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by lying on the floor with your hands behind your head. Bring your knees up towards your chest until they are up about 90 degrees. You can have your feet together or you can cross them. 

  • Tighten your abs to raise (curl) your hips off the floor. As I said earlier, there should be very little movement with your hips, try and make your lower abs do most of the work.


reverse crunches position #1
reverse crunches position #2Kim Demonstrating Reverse Crunches

Tips:

  • Make sure to engage your abs when you raise your legs. The key is to let your core do the work. You should be able to feel your stomach muscles working to move your legs.

  • The best way to see results with reverse crunches is to do three sets 2 to 3 times a week, for faster results you can increase the sets.


Push Ups

Push-ups have always been considered one of the best body weight exercises available. They are a great workout for building and maintaining upper body strength levels and they can be done almost anywhere.


Exercise Instructions:

  • Begin on your hands and knees and get into a pushup position (as pictured).

  • Engage your abs and make sure that your body is in a straight line (no slouching).

  • Bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your body until your nose almost touches the ground making sure to keep your body rigid.

  • Push your hands into the ground and push back up to your starting position.

  • Try not to lock your elbows at the top and continue doing your reps.


pushup exercise position #1
pushup exercise position #2

Tips:

  • Keep your neck in a straight line with your spine at all times. This will keep you in control of the exercise and not risk injury of your spine.

  • Engage your glutes; push-ups can be more of a full body exercise by squeezing the glutes to activate your core muscles. This can make the push-up a highly effective ab exercise.


Tricep Dips

Tricep dips have consistently been one of the best body weight exercises you can do at home or on the road. Anywhere you have a table or chair gives you all  the equipment you need.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Sit on the front edge of a chair or bench with your hands on either side of you holding that front edge.

  •  Push yourself off the seat and lower yourself until your arms reach a 90-degree angle. Using your arms, raise yourself back up to your starting position and try and do 8-12 reps.


tricep dipKim Demonstrating the Tricep Dip

Tip:

  • As this exercise gets easier, you can increase the intensity by adding reps and/or extending one leg in the air for added resistance.


Mountain Climber

This is a high-intensity full body routine that will raise your heart level and do a good job of strengthening your abs.


Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out in a pushup position with your arms straight and lift your right knee up towards your left arm.

  • Touch the floor with your right foot and return to your starting position.

  • Repeat the exercise with your other leg. Try and do 5-10 reps with each leg.


mountain climber exercise position #1Kyle Demonstrating the Mountain Climber
mountain climber position #2

Tips:

  • You can increase the intensity of mountain climber by stepping faster or by putting your hands up higher on a step or other higher platform.

  • Try and keep your weight evenly placed on each leg. You don't want to transfer all of your weight onto the front foot as you step.



Hip Raise


Exercise Instructions:

  • Sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands, palms down, about 6 inches behind your hips, fingers facing forward. 

  • Lift your hips until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and your body is in a bridge position. Be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top.


hip lifting bridge exerciseKim Demonstrating the Bridge Exercise

Tips:

  • To increase the difficulty of this exercise, perform the hip raise with one leg lifted off the ground. Make sure to do both sides equally for proper muscle balance.


Superman

The superman exercise strengthens your upper back muscles and the supporting muscles of the lower back and spine. It also works your butt, hips and shoulders.


Exercise Instructions:

  • Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms stretched above your head, palms down.

  • Tighten the muscles in your glutes and lower back then raise your head, chest, arms, and legs off the floor.

  • Hold the position for 10-30 seconds before returning to the starting position.


superman exercise position #1
superman exercise position #2Kyle Demonstrating the Superman Exercise

Tips:

  • The superman looks simple to do, but there can be a lot of pressure put on the lower back. Try and execute this exercise slowly without any jerking movements.

  • You can modify this exercise by moving your upper and lower body separately. Lay flat with your upper body while you lift your legs in the air, then switch and keep your legs on the ground and lift your chest and arms in the air.

Benefits

  • Speed and Efficiency. Since there is no equipment involved, you can quickly move from one exercise to the next, meaning that you will accomplish more work in less time.
  • Combine Cardio and Strength Training. While some body weight exercises are slow and controlled, others are explosive and high intensity. By mixing in movements such as burpees, jumping jacks, or mountain climbers, you can build muscle and get your heart pumping. 

  • Inexpensive. Body weight exercises won't cost you a thing – unless, you register for a class, of course. 

  • Improved Balance. Proper balance is one area that tends to decrease as our age increases. Supporting your own body weight requires engaging your core for stability, which will ultimately improve your balance.

  • Good For Every Fitness Level. Basic exercises are perfect for beginners; but, the difficulty of most movements can be increased by adding repetitions or performing variations (i.e. One arm pushups, one leg squats, or plank twists).

  • Low Risk Of Injury. With body weight exercises, you aren't going to lift too heavy or misuse equipment, so the risk of injury is quite low. In fact, many physiotherapists use these movements in their rehab programs because they are so effective for safely building strength and endurance.

Best Body Weight Exercises

Even if you don't want to abandon your other forms of exercise, there are some great reasons to consider adding some of the best body weight exercises into your fitness program. Using your bodyweight as resistance is a great start toward your fitness goals.

Performing these exercises are beneficial all year round, but especially in the winter, when motivation to leave the home is the lowest. These exercises are also good for beginners to slowly improve body strength while preparing for more intense workouts involving weights. Regardless of whether you are a novice or a pro, bodyweight exercises are a great part of living an active, healthy lifestyle.


Other pages that might interest you:



I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum



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