The pandemic made finding home gym equipment difficult as people scrambled to find weights, dumbbells, and other items online. Luckily, you don’t need weights to get you toned and in shape. Bodyweight exercises have been proven to torch calories and build muscle, and they can be done at home, requiring little space to complete them. In 2019, Brazilian researchers writing in the journal Experimental Gerontology reported that when it comes to building muscle, bodyweight training and resistance training are “indistinguishable.”
If you can dedicate 30 to 45 minutes a day, you can get your whole body toned doing bodyweight home workouts. For each, start by doing 10 reps, working your way up to 20 reps. Do them in order and repeat two to four times, taking a short 15-second break in between each exercise.
Here are some of the best bodyweight workouts we found — and links to show how to perform each one:
The lunge works your large muscle groups like your quads, glutes, and calves. You can do this move by either lunging forward or backward, keeping your arms by your side or holding them above your head, which engages your core deeper. Step out from a standing position, hold the move, and step back. Do the same movement on the other leg. That’s one rep.
To start, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and lower into a squat position, knees behind the toes, squatting as low as you can, and squeezing your butt. Hold that lower position for three seconds and return to a standing position, which is one rep. As you advance, you can lift your knee to your chest on one side as you stand up, then the other, which engages the core more.
The pushup or press-up (as some people call it) targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and core. Start with your weight supported on your toes and hands beneath your shoulders, keeping your body straight. If you are a beginner and need to start with your knees on the ground, please do so. Make sure your core is locked and your body forms a straight line between your head, glutes, and heels. Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground, hold for three seconds, then push your body away from the floor into its original position.
This old-school exercise from elementary gym class has stayed in favor for good reason. Start with your arms at your sides and feet together. When you are ready, jump both feet out to either side while your hands come up in a straight line over your head, clapping above your head at the top. Return to a neutral position, which is one rep. Jumping jacks are a terrific way to blast your heart rate in a short amount of time.
Terrible name, superb exercise for building muscle and burning calories. Start the exercise in a pushup position. Next, jump both feet forward so both legs land next to your hands, and your body is in a squat position with your head looking forward. Return to the starting position for one rep.
Burpees are one of the most calorie-burning exercises you can do because they involve using your entire body. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Next, place your
hands on the floor in front of you and kick your legs out behind you into a pushup position with your head in a neutral position. Push up until your arms are straight, and then tuck your legs back into a squat position. Jump upward until your feet leave the ground. That’s one rep.
Bodyweight workouts are great because they are easy, can be done anywhere, keep you flexible, and can help you build muscle and get your cardio in at the same time. If you want more variety as you work your way up, apps like BodBot and Freeletics Bodyweight and YouTube channels like Athlean-X offer tons of great bodyweight workouts that you can do anytime, from anywhere.
As you build up in reps and exercise time, you’ll quickly begin to notice your body changing shape and your cardio improve. If you are diligent, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it will happen.
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