Some of the most effective muscle building exercises can be performed without the need of any expensive machines or gym equipment. We have such a rise in popularity when it comes to “trendy” fitness gadgets that people love to purchase in the hopes they will produce fantastic results in their physiques. It seems like somewhere along the way the topic of bodyweight training has become classified as “old school” and forgot about.
Whatever you want to call it, training with your own bodyweight works! Achieving new levels in fitness that include strength, lean muscular development and muscular endurance are some of the top benefits of including this type of training into your overall workout routine!
Women tend to avoid these types of exercises more than their male counterparts simply because they have been brainwashed to think they are the weaker sex and so many girls do not even try. When I work with my female clients, I always have them try different styles of training and it’s feels great to see them empowered once they realize they are capable of achieving success with different bodyweight movements which comes from a lot of hard work and patience.
What happens if you are simply not strong enough and you’re unable to perform certain bodyweight exercises? The way to succeed is by progressing toward them with the help from a spotter or a chair under your feet for exercises like pullups and chinups. For pushups, it’s important to stay on your knees or use an exercise ball. Another tip is to keep your feet on the floor to help with tricep dips and slowly progress to putting your feet up on the bench. One of the best all-around bodyweight exercises is the burpee! Nothing can compare to this movement for building strength, burning calories and providing a whole body workout. Below are some of the best bodyweight exercises you will want to include in your routine!
Exercise: Pushups (Chest and Triceps)
Exercise: Pullups (Back and Biceps)
Exercise: Bench Dips (Triceps)
Exercise: Chin Ups (Biceps and Back)
These exercises help to strengthen and tone your muscles and also kicks your heart rate up which results in extra calorie burning. Pushups target the chest as the primary muscle group and hit the triceps as secondary muscles that are activated by this movement. By bringing the elbows closer in toward your body, you can intensify the effect directly on the triceps. Flaring your elbows out with target the chest more.
Bench Dips mainly target your triceps and they are an excellent exercise for toning up the back of your arms. Pullups are one of the absolute best movements for building size and strength in your upper body. They should be performed with a wide overhand grip and this exercise targets the lats (back muscles) along with the biceps as the secondary muscle group. Chin ups target the biceps and mid back. This exercise is quite an impressive achievement for women who can complete several full repetitions without any assistance since it’s probably the most difficult bodyweight exercise to perform.
I suggest starting off with as many bodyweight reps as you can perform with strict form and technique and slowly increase the reps each week as your body adapts. Try performing all of these four exercises twice per week for 2 sets of each one and then increase it to 3 sets as you get stronger. You may want to split them up and do pushups and pullups on one day with bench dips and chin ups for the next workout. Make sure to get at least 24 hours of rest between workouts. These exercises can be used for an amazing push-pull combo or performed as regular straight sets.
For the advanced and well experienced athletes, you can vary and increase the difficulty of these exercises by adding additional weight. You can wear a weighted belt while doing pullups or add a weighted plate to your lap when doing bench dips.
All of these movements are amazing exercises which should be utilized within your training program even if you mainly use free weights and machines. Try mixing in a set of 20 pullups at the end of your back workout after you finish up doing some heavy deadlifts and see how your back feels the next day!