Working out can be an effective method to stay in shape, get the body moving, and recover from injuries. It can be difficult carving out time to go to the gym and expensive to purchase all of the equipment you might use on a regular basis, which is why it's important to try to get in a good workout with the tools you have at your disposal, your bodyweight. Bodyweight exercises can still give you a great workout and there is no shortage of exercises you can perform to stay in shape and work up a sweat.
Bodyweight exercises can be a great way to focus on building functional strength, squeeze in the much-needed exercise when you're on the go, and can help you focus on building the proper technique to avoid injuries down the road. Before beginning any type of exercise, you should consult with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physical therapist who can evaluate and instruct you on the proper way to perform the exercises we've outlined below.
Take a look at some of the best bodyweight exercises you can do to workout anywhere!
One of the most popular bodyweight exercises is the bodyweight squat. This exercise is great for toning and building strength and endurance in your thighs, hips, hamstrings, abdomen, and back as it is one of the many compound movements and exercises we'll highlight which activates many muscle groups at one time.
To get into the proper starting position for this exercise, you'll want to be standing with your feet flat on the ground at a shoulder-width distance apart from one another. Stare straight ahead and try to keep your chest straight up as if you were to draw a line from your head down to your feet.
To begin the exercise, you want to lower your body into a squatting position until you are in a position where you can sit in a chair comfortably. Once in the lower position, you'll want to stand straight back up and return to the starting position. If you find it difficult keeping your balance while performing the exercise, you can stick your hands straight out in front of you to offer a little bit of extra balance.
In addition, you can perform assisted bodyweight squats. This exercise is the same method except you can use a wall, sturdy chair, or table to hold onto while you perform the squats to prevent you from falling.
Perform ten repetitions of a bodyweight squat and then rest for one minute. You'll want to perform three to four sets of bodyweight squats.
Another fantastic bodyweight exercise you can do is the arm circle. This exercise is great for warming up those shoulders. To get into the starting position for this exercise, you'll once again want to be standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stick your hands straight out to the side as if you were trying to make an uppercase T with your entire body. Make sure your hands are open with your palms facing down towards the ground.
Once in the starting position, begin rotating your arms in a clockwise circle for twenty to thirty seconds. Perform each circle at a controlled pace and focus on keeping that pace during the entire thirty seconds. After thirty seconds, begin rotating in a counterclockwise movement for another 30 seconds. When you've completed one set of clockwise and counter-clockwise circles, return to the starting position and rest for a minute, before beginning again. Perform this exercise for three to four sets.
The next bodyweight exercise is great for toning those calf muscles. To get into the starting position for this activity, you'll want to be standing with your feet firmly placed flat on the ground, arms at your side, and staring straight ahead. To begin calf raises, you want to raise up on your toes and pick your heels up off the floor while keeping both knees and legs straight. Hold at the top of the raise and then lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat this activity for ten repetitions and then rest for a minute. You can adjust the reps based on what your response is. If you are having significant fatigue, pain, or burning – stop. If you feel no fatigue, you can gradually increase repetitions. Focus on controlled movements and avoid going too fast when performing this bodyweight exercise.
Lunges are a great way to build strength and endurance in your legs and are one of the most tried and true exercises for even the most seasoned athletes. Before you begin a lunge, you'll want to make sure you have enough room so you can stand straight up with enough room in front of you to step forward and then return back to the starting position safely. As you were in the other bodyweight exercises, you want to be standing straight up with your feet flat on the ground shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides, and your head facing forward.
To begin a lunge, you want to take one step forward and begin to lower your body until your opposite leg is bending at a ninety-degree angle, and then push yourself to return back to the starting position. Perform this maneuver ten times and then repeat with the opposite side. Complete three to four sets with ten repetitions for each leg.
To perform an assisted lunge, stand next to a sturdy object like a wall, chair, or table. Place one hand on the sturdy object to support yourself as you perform the exercise and to prevent falling over if you lose your balance during the activity.
Push-ups are one of the most common bodyweight exercises you can implement to workout anywhere and there are a number of variations you can do to adjust the difficulty during your workout. To begin this exercise, you'll want to get on all fours by placing your hands flat on the ground shoulder-width apart while holding your bodyweight up, on your toes, and in a plank position.
From there, you want to lower your body by bending your arms to a ninety-degree angle, and then pushing back up to the starting position. Repeat this maneuver for ten repetitions and then rest for a minute. Complete three to four total sets for this exercise.
To make the exercise easier if you're just starting out, you can do knee push-ups. Instead of resting on your toes, you'll want to be resting on your knees instead to reduce the difficulty during the push-up. If you find that resting on your knees is uncomfortable, you can use a soft pad or yoga mat under your knees to provide some additional comfort when performing the exercise.
If you're looking to increase the difficulty from a regular push-up, you can also do a decline push-up. For this exercise, you'll want to find a sturdy chair or box you can place your feet on behind you. As you perform the exercise, your bodyweight will shift towards your shoulders and increase the difficulty during the activity.
If you're looking to build a strong core and develop those abdominal muscles, then you can consider adding this bodyweight exercise to your upcoming workout. To get started you'll want to get on all fours with your forearms on the floor, hands close together, chest facing towards the ground, legs behind you, and on your toes. To begin this exercise, you want to keep your back straight as if you were drawing a line from your shoulders towards your heels and tighten your core for thirty seconds to a minute. Rest for one minute, and then repeat this exercise 3 more times.
The next exercise you can do to strengthen your core is the bicycle. To get into the starting position for this exercise, you'll want to be lying with your back down on the ground. Bring your knees up off the ground to a bent position and interlock your hands behind your head. For this exercise, you'll be constantly alternating sides one at a time, so your focus should be on getting a good rhythm going at a comfortable pace.
To start, you want to bring your left elbow towards your right knee by bringing your knee closer to your upper body and twisting your upper body and elbow to meet your knee without touching it. As you're doing this, you want to straighten out your left leg. Repeat this action on the other side like you're pedaling on a bicycle in the air. Continue to pedal on the bicycle until you complete ten repetitions for each leg. Rest for a minute and then complete 3 to 4 additional sets.
Bodyweight exercises are one of the core pieces of physical therapy in addition to other manual therapy techniques that can help you recover from injuries and get back to doing the things you love most. By implementing some of the bodyweight exercises we've outlined above in addition to a tailored treatment plan that is based on your unique needs and goals, you can get better, faster with physical therapy! Physical therapy may include bodyweight exercises and will tailor each exercise to your specific needs and strength levels.
Schedule an appointment today at a nearby physical therapy clinic!