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A father and son practice body weight exercises at home.

Best Bodyweight Exercises For Weight Loss

No gym? No problem!

You don’t need a ton of fancy machines and accessories to get the burn you want. When it comes to building strength and losing weight, your body and a space to move are all you need! 

Bodyweight exercises are ideal for a home workout and easy to perform in a hotel room when traveling. They’re efficient, good for burning fat, easy to modify and best of all… FREE! This type of strength training is also perfect for improving your balance, building flexibility and increasing bone strength.

Without equipment, you use the weight of your own body to get your muscles working and your heart rate pumping. These are important for healthy aging and protecting bones and joints throughout your lifetime.

Full bodyweight workout: beginner bodyweight exercises.

If you’re new to a workout regimen, it’s best to start with basic moves and build up your program over time. Below are some great beginner exercises to get you into a routine.

Start by selecting 4-10 exercises to complete in a circuit format. Perform one at a time for 3-5 rounds, depending on the amount of time you have available. Complete each exercise for time (30-60 seconds) with a short rest period (10-20 seconds) before moving to the next exercise. 

Bodyweight Squats

Start standing up with your feet parallel slightly wider than your hips and toes pointed forward. Keeping your chest lifted, push your butt back and down as if you are sitting in a chair. When your thighs are parallel to the ground push through your heels and return to the starting position. Make sure your knees do not extend past your toes at your lowest point.

Plank

Starting in an all-fours position with your hands and knees on the floor, lift your knees up to form a straight line from your head to your heels. Be sure your shoulders are in line over your hands. Engage your core and keep your hips lifted in line with the rest of your body. Hold here. Another option is to drop to your forearms with your elbows bent, keeping your body in a straight line and your shoulders over your elbows.

Push Ups

Begin in a plank position with your hands flat on the ground and directly under your shoulders. Lower your chest toward the ground keeping your body in a straight line. Return to the starting position. Be sure not to dip the hips and keep your elbows at 45-degree angle when bent.

Lunges

Start standing with your feet parallel and directly under your hips. Step forward with your left foot as if you are walking and then bend both knees, bringing the back knee toward the ground. Both knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position and repeat with the right leg and continue alternating.

Mountain Climbers

Begin in a plank position with your hands flat on the ground and directly under your shoulders. Draw your left knee in toward your chest, then back to the starting position. Repeat with the right knee and continue alternating.

Glute Bridges

Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Your arms should be straight out by your side, palms facing down. Engaging your core, squeeze your glutes, press through your heels and lift your hips up to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Return to the starting position.

Jumping Jacks

Stand tall with your feet together and your arms by your side. Simultaneously raise both hands out to the side and up above your head while jumping your feet out wider than your shoulders. Bring your hands and feet back to the starting position and repeat.

Burpees

Start standing up. Squat down to place your palms flat on the ground and then hop your feet back to a high plank position. Lower your body to the floor then push back up. Hop your feet back to the starting position and stand back up.

High Knee Sprinters

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your left knee up toward your chest while your right arm moves up, like a sprinting position. Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating.

Bicycle Crunches

Lying on your back, bend your knees up to a tabletop position. Place your hands behind your head and lift your head and shoulder off the ground, engaging your core. Crunching in, bring your right elbow to meet your left knee as you rotate your torso and straighten the left leg. Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating.

When you feel comfortable with these movements, start adding to them! Search YouTube or Google for bodyweight exercises and routines. The options are endless!

How to progress an exercise from beginner to advanced.

There are several ways you can modify exercises as you get stronger. Below are some examples of how to start with a baseline movement and increase intensity over time.

Seated to Standing Position 🡪 Assisted Squat 🡪 Bodyweight Squat 🡪 Jump Squat 

Assisted Split Squat 🡪 Reverse Lunge 🡪 Forward Lunges 🡪 Jump Lunges

Floor Push Up On Knees 🡪 Incline Push Up on Toes 🡪 Floor Push Up on Toes 🡪 Narrow to Wide Push Up

Forearm Plank On Knees 🡪 Forearm Plank On Toes 🡪 High Plank on Hands/Toes 🡪 3 Point Plank

Here are three tips to help advance your routine when you’re ready for something more challenging:

1. Slow down your movements. This is also known as time under tension. The longer your muscle is contracted, the more burn you will get out of it. Slowing down your weight bearing exercises will increase the intensity on your muscles. Take a bodyweight squat for example: Using a 1-2-4 count, squat down for one, hold at the bottom for 2 seconds, and count 4 seconds as you slowly push back up to a standing position. Do a few of those reps and let us know how you feel!

2. Increase: Reps, Sets, Speed. This is a simple enough concept. To advance an exercise increase the number of repetitions or circuit rounds. Move faster and breathe a little harder!

3. Add a balance challenge. Taking an exercise from two legs to one leg increases the level of control and balance needed, engaging your core and building more strength. This works great with an exercise like a deadlift – let one leg float backward as you move toward the floor, working the standing leg. You can also use a foam pad or rolled up mat and stand on it to create an unstable environment, recruiting more muscles to control balance. Single-leg glute bridges are great for building up glute, hip and hamstring strength. Incorporating a stability ball is also good for seated or lying upper body exercises, like a chest press.

Whether working out at the gym or at home, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout. For delicious and easy ways to stay drink more water, check out True Lemon Unsweetened Wedge Replacements or Fruit Infusions.