Bodyweight Exercises for Building Strength

Bodyweight Exercises for Building Strength

Do you really need to lift weights to build up body strength? Well to be honest maybe not because using your own body weight is a very effective and easy method of building up your body strength.

Some of the main advantages of using bodyweight exercises is that they can be performed literally anywhere, you need no equipment, they are cost effective and you can make them as hard or as difficult as you want.

There is a huge variety and variation of all basic bodyweight exercises e.g. they are over 20 different types of push ups and squats; and these can be adapted to match your fitness levels.

To build up strength properly all of the major muscle groups need to be fully activated and your bodyweight is the perfect resistance to allow this to happen.

A well designed strength work out should be both fun, worthwhile with between 8-10 exercises that target all of the major muscle groups.

Try the following exercises doing 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps each and allow 60 seconds rest in between each set. All of the exercise such be performed at a high to moderate tempo and increase your tempo as your ‘form’ improves.

Use the descriptions of the 10 exercises and concentrate on your ‘form’ when executing them. Never compromise on good ‘form’ as this will lead to musculoskeletal injuries and this will put you back to square one in terms of your strength gains!

#1: Clock Lunges

Starting Position

  • Begin standing tall with legs hip width apart
  • Step forward with your right leg and bring the left foot on to tip toes behind you
  • Start to lower your left knee to the floor making sure your right knee does not go over your right foot
  • Aim for a 45 degree angle with your right leg and perform a traditional forward lunge

Finish Position

  • Then take a large step to the right and perform a lunge again
  • Complete the exercise with a backwards lunge and return to the standing position.
  • Visualize yourself moving around a clock face

#2: Split Lunge Jump

Starting Position

  • Begin with your left leg a forward lunge

Finish Position

  • Push up through both feet so you jump up and both feet meet in the air
  • Land back down in the lunge position with the opposite leg in front
  • Repeat this motion
  • Keep the upper body tall and the core tight at all times

#3: Squat Tuck Jumps

Starting Position

  • Begin by bending your knees and engaging your core and glutes
  • Enter into a basic squat position

Finish Position

  • Power up through the legs as you jump up and tuck the knees up to the chest if possible
  • Return back down into a squat
  • Repeat this motion
  • Maintain a tall upper body all times

#4: Glute Bridges

Starting Position

  • Begin by laying on your back and bring your heels as close to your glutes as you can
  • Have your arms extended out straight to stabilize your body

Finish Position

  • Flatten out the lower back as you tighten the core and bring your arms out to the side to help keep balance
  • Begin to push up through the hips flexing the glutes as you do, maintain a flat lower back
  • Push up as high as you can, you should only feel this working the glutes
  • Lower the back down to the floor

#5: Reverse Lunge and Kick

Starting Position

  • Standing tall with hands on hips for balance
  • Bring the right leg back into a reverse lunge aiming to keep the front knee in line with the ankle

Finish Position

  • Press into the left heel as you bring the right leg up and kick it out in front of you at hip level
  • Return the right leg back into the reverse lunge
  • Repeat

#6: Single Leg Deadlifts

Starting Position

  • Begin with in a standing position with feet together

Finish Position

  • Lift the right leg, then lower arms and bodyweight forwards whilst lifting the right leg further behind the body
  • Keep left knee bent and move arms forward as close to ground as possible
  • Raise upper body when lowering right leg
  • Change legs

#7: Plank with a Core Twist

Starting Position

  • Start by balancing on your right knee and left hand
  • Extend your left leg back keeping your foot on the floor for added balance place your right hand behind your head
  • Engage your core muscles to stabilise your spine

Finish Position

  • Twist your upper body and rotate your right elbow towards your left elbow
  • Touch your right elbow to your left elbow, then return to the starting position
  • Aim to touch your elbows, if you can’t just go as far as you can comfortably move
  • Maintain a smooth and controlled motion throughout the exercise

#8: Pull Ups = Palms Facing Away/Chin Ups= Palms Facing You

Starting Position

  • Begin in dead hang, arms fully extended & hands shoulder width apart.
  • Elbows straight, chest up & shoulders back

Finish Position

  • Lower legs parallel to floor, knees 90 degrees and ankles crossed
  • Lead with chest when pulling up & drive elbows to ground
  • Clear bar with chin & lower body in controlled manner

#9: Dip & Kick Outs

Starting Position

  • Lower your body onto a bench/chair/sofa with hands in contact with them
  • Knees should be bent to 90 degrees and feet should remain flat on the ground

Finish Position

  • Bend elbows should be roughly 90 degrees and flex the left knee into the chest
  • As the arms straighten, extend right knee out in a straight kicking motion
  • Place foot on extended leg back onto ground and lift bodyweight back by extending elbows

#10: Wide Arm Push Ups

Starting Position

  • Hands wider than your shoulder width with palms in contact with ground
  • Extend your arms and stabilize wrists
  • Keep your legs together and your body straight at all times

Finish Position

  • Lower your chest down until it almost touches the ground
  • Push your body weight back up
  • Always engage your core
  • Do not let your lower back dip
  • Exhale on exertion

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