Bodyweight Exercises For Home or Travel

March 3, 2012

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Whether you're trying to increase strength, power or speed, your work starts with your lower body. To be successful at your sport, you must implement lower-body training in your workout routine. Plus, lower-body training will help you prevent injuries that might otherwise keep you on the bench.

No matter where you are, at home or on the road, there's no reason to miss a workout. You have the best piece of training equipment available whenever you want—your own body. By using your bodyweight, you can accomplish a complete and challenging lower-body workout in the comfort of your home or hotel room.

Below are several lower-body exercises with variations, depending on your level of fitness.

  • Beginner (B): Perform each exercise for 2-3x10-12 with 60 seconds rest between sets
  • Intermediate (I): Perform each exercise for 3x12-15 per leg with 45 seconds rest between sets
  • Intermediate/Advanced (IA): Perform each exercise for 3-4x15-18 per leg (complete reps on one leg and then perform on other leg) with 45 seconds rest between sets
  • Advanced workouts (A): Perform each exercise for 4x12-15 with 30 seconds rest between sets

Squats (B)

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keeping back straight and knees behind toes, sink hips back and lower into squat until thighs are parallel to ground
  • Keep eyes focused straight ahead and maintain heel contact with ground
  • Drive through heels to standing position

Squat

Overhead Squat (I)

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands overhead in Y position
  • Keeping back straight and knees behind toes, sink hips back and lower into squat until thighs are parallel to ground
  • Keep eyes focused straight ahead and maintain heel contact with ground
  • Drive through heels to standing position

Overhead Squat

Single-Leg Squats (A)

  • Stand on one leg with opposite leg straight out in front
  • Keep arms straight in front of chest for balance
  • Lower until thigh is parallel to ground, keeping knee behind toes
  • Drive up to start position

Single-Leg Squat

Static Lunge (B)

  • Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart
  • With straight upper body, tight core and hands on hips, step forward with front leg and lower until back knee almost touches ground; keep front knee behind toes
  • Come up by driving through heel of front foot; perform for reps
  • Return to start position and switch to opposite leg in front; repeat

Lunges

Front Lunge (I)

  • Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart
  • With straight upper body, tight core and hands on hips, step forward with front leg and lower until back knee almost touches ground; keep front knee behind toes
  • Come up by driving through heel of front foot
  • Return to start position while maintaining straight body
  • Alternate legs for reps

Front Lunge (I/A)

  • Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart
  • With straight upper body, tight core and hands on hips, step forward with front leg and lower until back knee almost touches ground; keep front knee behind toes
  • Come up by driving through heel of front foot
  • Return to start position while maintaining straight body
  • Do not allow front foot to touch ground when returning to start position
  • Perform all reps on same leg; switch to opposite leg

Reverse Lunge (I)

  • Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart
  • With straight upper body, tight core and hands on hips, step backward with back leg and lower until knee almost touches ground; keep front knee behind toes
  • Come up by driving through heel of front foot
  • Return to start position while maintaining straight body
  • Alternate legs for reps

Reverse Lunge (I/A)

  • Stand with feet parallel and hip-width apart
  • With straight upper body, tight core and hands on hips, step backward with back leg and lower until knee almost touches ground; keep front knee behind toes
  • Come up by driving through heel of front foot
  • Return to start position while maintaining straight body
  • Do not allow back foot to touch ground when returning to start position
  • Perform all reps on same leg; switch to opposite leg

Full Lunges (A)

  • Perform Front Lunge on one leg
  • Drive through heel of front leg and immediately go into a Reverse Lunge with same leg without stopping; repeat
  • Perform reps on same leg; switch and repeat on opposite leg

Lateral Lunge

Lateral Static Lunge (B)

  • Stand tall with feet wide, tight core and hands out in front
  • Step to side and drop hips down toward active leg
  • Drive through active heel back to starting position
  • Repeat motion for reps; perform on opposite leg

Lateral Lunge (I)

  • Stand tall with feet wide, tight core and hands out in front
  • Step to side and drop hips down toward active leg
  • Drive through active heel and return to start position with legs shoulder-width apart
  • Alternate from side-to-side for reps

Lateral Lunge (I/A)

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, tight core and hands out in front
  • Step to side and drop hips down toward active leg
  • Drive through active heel and return to start position
  • Do not allow active foot to touch ground when returning to start position
  • Perform reps on same leg; switch to opposite leg and repeat

Bridge (B)

  • Lie flat on back with arms at sides, abs tight, knees bent at 90-degree angle and toes up
  • Contract glutes and raise hips off floor until knees, hips and shoulders are in line
  • Lower back to ground and repeat for reps

Bridge

Marching Bridge (I)

  • Lie flat on back with arms at sides, abs tight, knees bent at 90-degree angle and toes up
  • Contract glutes and raise hips off floor until knees, hips and shoulders are in line
  • Hold at top position and lift one foot slightly off ground, alternating from side to side
  • Do not allow hips to drop

Marching Bridge

Single-Leg Bridge (A)

  • Lie flat on back with arms at sides, abs tight, one knee bent at 90-degree angle and opposite leg lifted straight up toward ceiling
  • Contract glutes and raise hips off floor until knees, hips and shoulders are in line
  • Lower back to start and repeat for reps
  • Perform on opposite leg

Single-Leg Bridge

Dean Hollingworth, CSCS, has extensive experience working with athletes of all ages, helping them develop speed, agility and strength. He has consulted with various amateur and professional organizations as a fitness specialist for tennis, hockey, gymnastics and football; and his involvement has directly contributed to athletes’ performance both on and off the field.

Dean Hollingworth
- Dean Hollingworth, CSCS, has extensive experience working with athletes of all ages, helping them develop speed, agility and strength. He has consulted with various amateur...
Dean Hollingworth
- Dean Hollingworth, CSCS, has extensive experience working with athletes of all ages, helping them develop speed, agility and strength. He has consulted with various amateur...
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