These exercises, which are inspired in bodyweight training, will help you get fit and improve your muscle strength quickly
One of the current trends in training methods is exercises that don’t require any extra equipment, just your own body weight. This technique is called bodyweight training and, since 2013, ranks amongst the top trends on the global fitness trend list developed by The American College of Sports Medicine, ranking second in 2017, over yoga and functional training.
A little over a year ago, we explained what this training method involves with Christian G., personal trainer at DiR Maragall, who assured us that “bodyweight training, even though it needs no extra equipment, can be as intense, or more, than weight training. It strengthens muscles using our own weight’s resistance to gravity.”
In today’s article, we want to go from theory to practice by proposing 8 exercises based on this training method. These bodyweight workouts will help you improve your strength and endurance and are designed to work full body.
Bodyweight training exercises
Below we explain each exercise, but first you need to understand how this type of training works, so you know how many repetitions you need to do for each exercise and how long a session should take. You should warm up between 8 and 10 minutes beforehand with aerobic exercises and, depending on your experience, choose one of these two options:
- Beginners: do each exercise for 45 seconds and rest for 15 seconds; once you finish the series of 8 exercises, rest for 1 minute. Repeat the series until you train for 16 minutes at least 2 or 3 times a week.
- Intermediate: follow the same structure as beginners, but increase training time. Do each exercise for 55 seconds and take 5 seconds to change exercises. Once you’ve finished a series, rest for 30 seconds.
Crouch until you can put your hands on the ground and then kick your feet back until you stretch completely on the ground. Do a push-up and bring your feet forward back to a crouched position. Stand up and then jump vertically and land gently.
If you already know what a plank is and how to do it, in this exercise, we suggest you move on to the next level. Start standing up and lower your hands until you touch the ground. Then slide horizontally until your body is fully stretched and parallel to the ground. Return to the initial position by sliding your hands back across the floor.
A jump squat is an ideal exercise to improve your leg strength. The initial position is standing up with your feet slightly wider apart than your shoulders. Flex your knees almost 90º, keeping your torso straight with your chest and glutes slightly outwards. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then jump and return to the initial position.
Diamond push-ups are called like that because of how you place your fingers and will help you work your pectoralis major and triceps intensively. The initial position is face down with your toes touching the ground and, very importantly, the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching, forming a diamond. Rest your whole hands on the ground and stretch your arms to push your body up gently and return to the initial position.
With this simple but quite demanding exercise, you can strengthen your legs and improve your coordination and balance. Stand on one leg, bend your knee gently, shifting your weight forward and return to the initial position. You can do half the time with each leg.
Plyometric push-ups are difficult if you’re not very used to doing push-ups. You can replace them with traditional push-ups. But if you dare to do this exercise, you’ll be able to develop upper body strength extraordinarily. The initial position is like a normal push-up, with your hands under your shoulders. Lower your body quickly by flexing your elbows and push back up as hard as possible to lift your body and, if you can, clap your hands before returning to the initial position.
With this exercise, you can strengthen your leg muscles and your core. The initial position is a plank, then lift one leg and hold it for at least 15 seconds. Return to the starting position and lift the other leg.
It’s very similar to the previous exercise. The initial position is also a plank, but this time, stretch one arm without moving your hips and hold for at least 15 seconds. Return to the starting position and stretch the other arm.