There are some tried, tested and true basic body weight exercises that have been used for decades that can not be dismissed. Whether you are at the gym, in a hotel room on the go, outside at the park or the comfort of your own home these 10 exercises will produce results to improve/maintain your physique between your regular workouts.
When you break it down the most basic bodyweight exercises are pushups, plank, crunch, squat, and lunge and everything else is some variation or combination of these. Simple right?
We recommend 12 reps of each exercise and if you have time, 3 rounds. If you can only fit one round into your schedule do that!! It’s more about consistency then anything. Fit in what you can when you can.
Here is a 10 exercise full body workout you can follow with a few options to change it up if you feel inclined:
1. Pushup/ **Pike Pushup
This one’s a timeless classic. The pushup is essential for building a big chest, cannonball delts, and triceps that look like the wishbone you pulled out of the turkey on Thanksgiving. Master this move and it will yield the same benefits as the bench press.
**If you’ve reached a plateau with your standard pushup routine, it might be time to try the pike pushup. To do this make a V with your body and lift your hips, as you bend your elbows and push back up you target a different area of your upper body while challenging your balance in a different way. This variation directly targets the shoulders and can help improve weak areas, leading to muscle development all over.
2. Plank / Star Plank
Plenty of fitness experts think holding a plank for a minute-plus is a very impressive measure of fitness. The plank requires excellent shoulder stability and top-notch muscle endurance of the abs, lower back, shoulders, neck, and legs. Not only that, but it works well to develop an impressive six-pack (more time under tension = more muscle).
Star plank is an advanced variation of the plank not only creates a greater challenge for your core but also forces your chest and shoulders to pick up some of the load. It also proves you can work your chest, shoulders, and abs at the same time.
3. Plank to Pushup
Take your plank work to the next level with this difficult variation that targets your upper body and your core at the same time.
Here’s how to do it: Start in a plank position, resting on your forearms. Press yourself up away from the ground one arm at a time into a pushup, while maintaining perfect plank position. Press first with your left forearm, keeping your right palm on the ground. Then return to prone position. Press with your right forearm while your left palm remains on the ground.
Ready to make it even more difficult? Lift a leg while you do it, extending your hip muscles and forcing your upper body to account for an even greater imbalance.
4. Bicycle Crunch
A notoriously tough core and cardio exercise, the bicycle crunch targets three major components of your core: Your main abdominus muscles (targeted by the main crunching motion), your obliques (the side-to-side rocking), and your lower abs (the “reverse crunch” motion). It’s also a good way to target muscles like hip flexors and even your shoulders as you work to stabilize your body.
The No. 1 favorite exercise of any trainer who wants to help their clients burn fat, the burpee has become a staple in programs from bootcamps to CrossFit and everything in between. A full-body explosive motion that requires better cardio than hill sprints and more coordination than nearly any exercise, there’s no doubt that a steady diet of burpees will accelerate your progress toward a leaner, shredded body.
6. Mountain Climbers
A staple of athletic training, mountain climbers are another great core exercise that really fires up your hip flexors and abs while also challenging your upper body to maintain balance. These are a great static exercise that gets your heart rate pumping.
7. Bodyweight Squat/ Jump Squats
A fitness essential, the basic bodyweight squat (or “air squat”) is a vital exercise for maintaining lower-body strength throughout your life. Situate your feet about shoulder-width apart, and make sure you maintain a natural arc in your back and spread your weight through your feet as you hinge your hips and knees into the squat. When you raise yourself back up, make sure your knees are in line with your feet—not drawn inward—so the force hits your knees in their natural hinge.
Jump squats are perfect exercises for athletes or bodybuilders looking to improve their explosive lower-body power, and for adventure-race types who want to improve their ability to clamber over obstacles and keep moving fast. Make sure to land softly as you go into your next rep, forcing your muscles to handle a workload in both the concentric and eccentric motions of the exercise.
8. Overhead Lunge
The overhead lunge—basically just a lunge, which is when you stand with your feet hips-width distance apart and extend one leg back at a time-bending your back knee to a 90-degree angle. Add in raised arms above your head—this is a good way to strengthen your lower body and build up your balance. It might seem like an easy variation, but try enough of them and watch as that perfect touchdown signal becomes a flailing mess.
9. Glute Bridge
Lie on your back, bring your feet as close to your butt as you can, then thrust up with your hips and squeeze your glutes. Yeah, not exactly the prettiest exercise but any trainer will tell you that having strong, mobile glutes is essential for good back health—and other experts agree that having a set of glutes does wonders for your sex appeal.
10. Prone Back Extension
Lie on your stomach, extend your arms out wide and zip your legs together, as you inhale lift your chest and your legs. Sure, anyone can do a reverse hyper on a machine, but the tension is most times inadequate for serious muscle development. One thing trainers won’t tell you: the higher the amount of tension a muscle is put under, the stronger it responds (So harder contractions mean more muscle).
The prone back extension certainly creates a huge, deep contraction more in line with your natural back motion, helping you forge a strong, healthy lower back. It’s also a great stretch along the front side of your body at the end of the circuit.
Exercise is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but there are other components. If you are looking for support in other areas of your healthy lifestyle and wellness regime, the providers at T Off Men’s Health are here to support you every step of the way.