Top 5 Bodyweight Exercises
Top 5 Bodyweight Exercises
Here are 5 bodyweight exercises that will help you burn fat, even if you don’t have gym access…
Weightless exercises need not mean, “useless” or “ineffective.” Sure, lifting weights will help you get bigger and stronger, but there are many alternatives to help you bridge the gap between the times when you’ve got gym access, and those times you don’t. Of course, all weightless exercises aren’t created equal, but the five below will help you gain strength while improving your overall conditioning.
Burpees/Squat Thrusts: 3x10
The mere mention of this exercise brings groans and disgruntled expressions to the faces of my athletes, and for good reason: they’re difficult. By combining the core stability of a pushup with the explosiveness of a squat jump, this total body is highly effective, building both strength and stamina.
Begin in the “up” position of a pushup. Next, keep your hands on the ground (in the same position) and jump your feet forward into your chest. From that position, jump straight up in the air, reaching your hands up above your head. Land and reverse the initial sequence so that you end up in the starting position again.
I’d recommend supersetting these with at least 1 or 2 other exercises, giving yourself adequate rest between sets. Of course, if you’re feeling a little crazy try doing Tabata Burpees instead. Perform as many burpees as you can for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, and then repeat for 4 minutes (8 sets).
3-Way Pushup (Decline, Incline Plyo, Incline Wide): 3x5+ each
This 3-way superset combo begins in the decline position with your feet elevated and your hands on the ground. That’s followed by 2 different pushups in the incline position with your feet on the ground, and then on a sturdy bench. The first incline pushup is a plyo or clap pushup. Once you finish that, you’ll complete the series by positioning your hands outside of shoulder width and doing a set of wide pushups. Do not rest until having done a set at each position. Too easy? Add more reps to each set. No bench? Skip the decline/incline part, doing regular pushups, plyo pushups, and wide pushups on the ground instead.
(Split ) Lunge Jump/Lunge Exchange: 3x10 each leg
Lunge exercises are some of my favorites because they use many large and small muscles of the lower body, and require both balance and coordination to perform. The Lunge Jump begins in a split lunge position and is performed by jumping straight up, switching legs in the air, and landing with the legs in the opposite of the starting position. As you’re engaging the quads and hamstrings in an explosive manner, your heart rate and muscle burn will increase, so again, you’ll want to rest appropriately between sets.
Single Leg V-Sit/Single Leg Jack knife: 3x10 each leg
Few bodyweight core movements work better than sit-ups and leg lifts, which is why combining those two motions is so effective. Begin by lying on your back with your legs straight out on the ground and your arms straight out above your head (also on the ground). Simultaneously lift one leg while crunching up and reaching with both hands for the toe of the elevated leg.
Both your upper and lower back should come up off the ground. With control, return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. Coordination, balance, and core stability, will all be challenged as your abs, lower back, and hips, work to make the movement possible. Too easy? Skip the single leg action and get both legs in the air.
Sprinting: 6x 50-100 yards
What does sprinting have to do with strength training? A full out, 100%, sprinting effort engages the entire body in a series of coordinated and explosive movements. Take a look at any high level or elite sprinter’s body. Abs, hips, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves are almost always clearly defined. Yes, diet and resistance training do their part, but the power and force generated but sprinting itself develops the muscles in ways that cannot be easily mimicked in the weight room.
If you’re new to sprinting, begin with the shorter distances and work your way up. Walking back to the start line between reps is usually an adequate rest period, but to get the full benefits of sprinting each effort needs to be at 100%. No space to run? All out efforts on treadmills and stationary bikes can also tax the leg muscles as well as the cardiovascular system.
Using the exercises above as a starting point, give this weightless workout a shot the next time you don’t have gym access:
There are now no more excuses for not getting a good workout in when away from your regular training facility. The 5 bodyweight exercises above won’t have you throwing the steel around, but they’re still very effective at helping you burn fat and gain strength.
To maximize your gains with these exercises 1R would recommend the following supplements:
- BSN Amino X - This preworkout supplement will increase muscle endurance and protein synthesis, while giving you with the needed push to take your workouts, and results, to the next level
- Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil – These tasteless fish oil pills will help you burn fat, improve joint health, and reduce inflammation associated with hard training
- Cytosport Whey Isolate – Naturally rich in glutamine, BCAA’s and other important nutrients, this protein supplement will help you build lean muscle mass when taken after training sessions
About the Author
Veronica Dyer, CSCS is the Director of Strength & Conditioning for Olympic Sports at Syracuse University and is responsible for working with volleyball, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and softball teams. Before that, Dyer served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Northwest Missouri State University and was a graduate assistant in the Syracuse strength and conditioning department for three years as well. As an undergrad, Dyer was a member of the Syracuse track and field team from 1995-2000 and was honored with the Lucille Verhulst Sportswoman of the Year award in 2000. After school she placed third in the 100-meter hurdles at the Canadian Olympic Trials in 2000 and was also a member of the Canadian National Team at the 2001 World University Games in Beijing, China.
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