Do you have fitness goals that you set for yourself but don’t have a gym membership? Not to worry – there are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home in order to burn calories!
We know what you’re thinking…you need a bunch of fancy equipment like barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, and the like in order to torch some calories and begin getting stronger, right? However, while these implements are undoubtedly helpful if you want to switch up your basic training or start to add a bit of resistance to your workout routine, they aren’t necessary in order to have an effective workout – especially if you want to improve your overall health and wellness.
Let’s talk about why you should do bodyweight training, as well as cover six different exercises that you can add into your routine if desired. You’ll then be on your way to torching calories at home!
We’ll cover in detail why you should do bodyweight training, benefits of bodyweight training, and six exercises you can incorporate into your weekly routines!
Why Do Bodyweight Training?
Bodyweight workouts are all the rage and for good reason! Being able to utilize your own body for resistance while moving through a wide variety of exercises can not only be efficient but can have you setting a solid foundation for functional movement. This is important not only in your regular activities of daily living, but will also be helpful if you do decide to start using adding resistance – you’ll already have a base from which to begin!
According to Harvard Health, bodyweight workouts come with a plethora of benefits (aside from the fact that you need no equipment)! These include being able to exercise just about anywhere and with nothing more than a good pair of workout sneakers and a water bottle. Bodyweight workouts are also able to be adapted to just about anyone, from the novice exerciser to an elite athlete. Plus, exercise, in general, will help to boost mood, decrease body composition, develop strength, and improve sleep quality, to name a few!
6 Bodyweight Exercises
Now that you know the benefits of bodyweight training, let’s take a look at six exercises you can do at home to burn calories and improve functional movement. Ensure a proper warmup before beginning to decrease the risk of injury and prep the body for exercise. Each movement can be done for as many reps and sets as desired, but you can always begin with two sets of 8-10 reps if you’re new to exercise!
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with knees soft. Retract your shoulder blades and sink your hips down and back, lowering yourself into a squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor with your weight in your heels. Keeping your chest high, press through the feet and extend your hips and legs, jumping straight up into the air (you can use your arms for momentum as well if desired). Land softly and with control, then sink into a squat and repeat the jump.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with knees soft. Hinge at the hips and bring your hands down to the floor in front of your feet. From here, kick your legs back so that you end up in a pushup position. Do a pushup, and then at the top of the movement, tighten your core and hop both legs forward to the starting position. Next, stand up straight while jumping straight up, clapping your hands overhead. Repeat as desired.
Begin on the ground, with shoulders directly above your wrists and your legs out straight, similar to a pushup position. Then, with your core engaged and your head in line with your spine, raise your right foot off the ground and drive your right knee toward your chest. You’ll then bring the right leg back to the starting position and repeat with the left leg. The faster you move, the more intense the movement!
Side Plank with Leg Raise
Begin by laying on your side, with your legs extended straight. Prop yourself up so that your weight is on your forearm and elbow – keeping in mind that your shoulder should be stacked directly above your elbow. Keeping your head neutral (not dropping down toward the shoulder and elbow on the ground), raise your hips off the floor, so your weight is evenly distributed between your feet and your forearm. With an engaged core, you’ll then lift the top leg as high as possible while maintaining your side plank; pause for a moment at the top of the raise, then lower your leg back down. Repeat for a set number of reps on one side, then switch to the other side.
Front Lunge with Knee Drive
From a standing position, retract your shoulder blades and engage your core. With your chest tall, take a big step forward with your right leg. Kneel down so that your left knee hovers above the ground and both knees make 90-degree angles. With an upright torso, press through your right heel to drive your left leg forward, bringing your knee upwards toward your chest. Drive your left leg back to its starting position, with weight on the toes and ball of your foot. Repeat for a number of reps on one side, then switch to the other leg.
Begin facing the ground, with forearms on the floor. Extend your legs out straight behind you, like a pushup position, but lower. With feet together and head in line with your spine, you’ll then engage your core, glutes, quads, and shoulders to maintain a straight line from your head to your feet. In a powerful core exercise, you’ll aim to hold this movement for 30 seconds or more before taking a break. Try not to let your hips drop toward the floor or arch up toward the ceiling!
All of these exercises can be modified and/or advanced if needed. Before beginning any exercise program, speak with your physician to get cleared for movement and to be aware of any contraindications to your health. Once cleared, enjoy the ability to build strength, balance, coordination, and endurance…. all from the comfort of home!