Most people believe they need to put a full gym in their home in order to start working out reliably at home. That’s just not true! Sure, it’s nice having access to commercial gym equipment at your house, but you don’t need any of that stuff to tone any part of your body, especially not as a beginner. It’s possible to get a solid workout in no matter where you are and what equipment you have available to you, you just need to know how to make the most of bodyweight movements. Many people don’t know where to start when trying to complete a full-body workout using bodyweight movements though. That’s why we assembled a list of the best bodyweight exercises for men and women that want to strengthen and tone their upper and lower body as well as their core.
Keep reading to learn about the most effective exercises and what you can expect from the different movements. You’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve with consistent work, even with just bodyweight movements.
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Upper Body Bodyweight Exercises
Want toned arms, a strong back, and a tough chest but don’t have free weights or machines at home? No problem! You can get a solid upper-body workout in the comfort of your home with simple bodyweight movements. We’ve compiled a list of the best bodyweight exercises for men and women looking to build upper body muscles and strength. Mix and match these different movements to really gain strength and power in your arms, back, and chest.
Few exercises can beat the efficiency of a traditional push up for upper-body strength building. This movement engages the pectoral muscles, the triceps, the shoulders and the back all at once. If we had to recommend a single movement for upper body strength, this would be it. If standard push-ups are too difficult to start with knee push-ups first and move on to standard push-ups after you build up more strength.
If you’re looking to build massive triceps, diamond push-ups are one of the best movements for that. Put your hands close together and create a diamond with your hands to really engage your arms while still pushing your chest and back to work.
Engage your back muscles and push the lower and upper muscles to their limits with this stomach-based hold. You will want to do this on a thick mat for optimal comfort and should build serious strength quickly with this move.
We love tricep dips for building tricep and back strength even as a beginner getting started. You’ll need a chair or flat bench to do this, but the movement is easy and straightforward with
If you are looking for one of the simplest yet most effective exercises for working your pull muscles, then look no further. Inverted rows are great as a standalone exercise for building your back muscles, but also if you have dreams of being able to to your very first unassisted full pull-up, then these are a great starting point.
Lower Body Bodyweight Exercises
Most people know of at least a few different lower body movements they can do without any sort of weights at all. Below are some of the most effective bodyweight exercises or lower body strength development. Use them to tone your butt, strengthen your legs and give yourself rock-hard thigh muscles that are ready for anything. Check out the video for proper form.
Glute Bridge or Supine Bridge
The supine bridge (glute bridge) exercise is one of our favourite beginner workouts for enhancing your glute strength, your lower abdominals, and your pelvic floor. It’s an excellent movement for overall health and wellbeing. Do this movement during every core workout and maintain your core and back strength.
Out of all the different exercises, the bodyweight squat is one of the best bodyweight exercises for men and women looking to build lower-body strength fast. The movement works your glutes, hamstrings quads and calves all at once. It isn’t too difficult for beginners, though some will struggle with ankle or hip mobility issues before being able to squat deep.
The stepping lunge is an excellent lower body movement that can be performed in a small room. It has you stepping out and dropping to the floor with one foot and then the next. It works the quadriceps in a big way but also engages the glutes, the hamstrings, and your core. Dumbbells can be added for extra resistance
One of the most useful lower body exercises is the Sumo Squat. This wide-stance squat movement works the inner thighs, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and the abs all at once. You’ll really get a full lower body workout with this movement and you can graduate to free weights when you’re after a bigger challenge.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Many use the Bulgarian Split squat as just accessory work to the main squat. However in my opinion, whether you are doing it weighted or with just your body weight, this exercise is one of the best out there for building muscle and strength in your legs. Not only does the Bulgarian Split squat massively recruit the glutes and quads, but it also is great at building both core strength and stability. Check out the video below.
Core Bodyweight Exercises
Want a sexy-toned stomach for the upcoming beach season? Or maybe you just want to strengthen your body against injury. These core bodyweight exercises are some of the best bodyweight exercises for men and women that want to remain in good health throughout their lives. Try some of these movements and tone your abs, obliques and some of your back muscles as well.
The Plank Hold
The plank hold is a foundational core exercise that will get your abs and obliques strong in no time. It also works your warms and back muscles a bit. Try to keep a flat back and a strong pose for maximal results.
Side Bridge (AKA Side Plank)
If you’re looking for the best bodyweight exercises for men and women looking for stronger obliques and more toned tummies. Do this movement with your core workout and achieve major strength gains, just be sure you keep your side nice and straight while in the lifted position.
Out of all the movements you should be doing, the dead bug is one of the best bodyweight exercises for men and women looking to develop 6-pack abs. It works the abs and obliques all at once and builds impressive muscle tone and strength at the same time. Just make sure you’re using proper form to avoid irritating your back muscles.
This cardiovascular movement will tone your lower abs and obliques while putting your heart and lungs to work as well. It’s a movement that is best performed on a thick padded mat and is an intermediate movement. Start with a few short sets and work your way up to 15 reps over multiple sets for a serious workout.
The dragon flag is definitely one of the most difficult and advanced core movements you will find. Once you have already built up a good base level of core strength, then this exercise will take your core to the next level.
You won’t find many isolated core exercises that target nearly every muscle in your body, but this is one of them. It’s by far one of the best exercises for strengthening your core stabilising muscles and due to such an emphasis on the eccentric part of the movement, it will build core strength so much quicker than most other exercises.
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Best Bodyweight Exercises Takeaway
Finding the best bodyweight exercises for men and women looking to build overall strength is difficult to do today. Hopefully, the suggestions above make it easier to pick out the movements that you incorporate in your everyday life. Give some or all of these exercises a try consistently and you’ll tone and strengthen your body, protect yourself against injury and prepare for weight lifting in the future if that’s what you’re interested in.
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Hi, I’m David and I believe absolutely anyone can achieve the body of their dreams. I’m a qualified health and fitness coach and have been helping clients achieve their dream bodies for 15 years. Whether you are looking to get beach body ready, compete in a bodybuilding show or simply to improve your confidence and wellbeing, I can help.