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What are ‘body weight exercises?’

What are ‘body weight exercises?’ To me it seems quite obvious what body weight exercises are however, I realize that it is because I am in the fitness industry and so yes, it is obvious to me however, not so much to the regular lay person who may be trying to get in shape in the most effective way possible. Body weight exercise is simply using your own body weight as resistance such as when doing push ups or pull ups. It’s a great way to increase strength, build muscle, increase flexibility, burn fat and, sculpt your body for summer. If you don’t want to spend money on expensive classes or gym memberships it’s a great method that requires no extra expense on equipment.

With all the various exercise fads and trends out there it’s important to try different modalities to see which works best for you. Personally I like to throw in different types of exercise including body weight exercise in my own training programs to spice it up so to speak.

10 of the best ‘body weight exercises’

Squat1. Squat

Start with feet hip width distance apart and imagine there is a chair behind you that you are about to sit in. Sit your butt back and down to at least parallel to the floor if possible depending on your range of motion and or injuries. Push back up into standing/starting position through the heels, imagine pushing the floor away from you with feet planted firmly, the pressure should come up through the heels but do not allow the heels to come up off the floor.



body weight exercises lunges2. Lunge

Stand with your hands on your hips and feet hip width apart to start. Step your foot forward or backwards depending on whether you want to do a reverse lunge or forward lunge lower your body and knee to the ground and bent at least 90 degrees. Imagine you have a string coming from the top of your head to the ceiling and floor to keep you from leaning forward and maintain a straight posture.


3. Step ups

One of my favorites as it’s a great glute, hamstring and overall lower body workout. Not to mention getting the heart rate up. You can do these anywhere you find a place to step up onto like a park bench outside or table chair inside. Whichever leg you want to start with just keep your foot planted on the chair or step and lower step up but don’t put the same foot back on the ground until you’ve completed at least 20 then switch to the other side.


bodyweight push up4. Push up

Keep hands shoulder width apart, feet hip width apart, core tight and imagine perfect posture parallel to the ground. Take the chest to the ground with elbows bent and back up again.



body weight exercise the beast5. Beast

This is a great one created by Mike Fitch included in Animal Flow workout which is another awesome workout in and of itself. You can purchase his animal flow workout which is all body weight exercises at http://www.globalbodyweighttraining.com/the-animal-flow-workout-fitness-video/. Beast can be done forward or backward starting on all 4’s with hands placed under the shoulders, knees directly under the hips then take your knees off the ground and staying on your toes. Take the opposite hand and foot and start crawling.



Body weight pull up6. Pull up

Another one of my favorites but not everyone can do them so if you need to start with something a bit easier such as angling your body so that you are not pulling your full body weight up rather you pull up less of your bodyweight.


Handstand push up7. Handstand pushup

Another favorite but a more advanced exercise so be careful with this one or you could get injured. Start with just trying to do a handstand with a lot of padding under you.



Body weight exercise8. Side planks

Love these too! You can either get up on your elbow or hand and stack your feet to make it more challenging but for the beginner come up on your knees instead of your feet, again imagine perfect posture so don’t let you head hang forward and no leaning forward either, nice straight line.


9. Toe touch drill

Start by standing on one leg. Pretend you are standing in the middle of a clock face. Then, with your belly button drawn in and standing in good upright posture, slowly bend the leg you’re standing on while attempting to reach the opposite leg’s toe out as far as possible in front of you. You must keep your working knee directly over your second toe. Once you cannot keep it in this position, stop the exercise and mark the spot your toe reached. Perform this in all the positions of the clock with one leg, then the other. After you have every position marked, you should stop just short of the mark for a while, performing 1-3 repetitions of the movement.

10. Prone cobra

Great postural exercise. Lie facedown on the floor with your legs straight and your arms next to your sides, palms down. Contract your Glutes and the muscles of your lower back, and raise your head, chest, and arms. Simultaneously rotate your arms so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling and shoulder blades come together. Only your upper body should be off the ground. Hold this position for up to 3 minutes.

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