The 8 Best Bodyweight Exercises

January 23, 2013 | Brent Rogers

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Believe it or not, bodyweight exercises are a great way to get stronger. For starters, they can be done anywhere any time. Since you are not loading the body with extra weight, they are extremely safe. Finally, most bodyweight exercises force your core to engage, strengthening these critical muscles while you work on the targeted muscle group.

Bodyweight training can be incorporated into workouts year-round. More specifically, they are a great option for challenging your body in a different way during an off-loading or rest week.

Make sure the following bodyweight exercises are a regular part of your workout program. Start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each. As you get stronger, add reps for a greater challenge. For more at-home exercises, check out STACK's Bodyweight Exercise Library.

Pull-Ups

Find an overhead bar and pull yourself up. If outdoors, use a strong tree branch.

Wall Sits

Sit against a wall for time, making sure you sit low enough so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. If outdoors, lean up against a sturdy tree.

Push-Ups

No explanation needed. To add variety, place your hands or feet on an object and work your chest from different angles.

Walking Lunges

Keeping your upper body tall and straight, walk forward taking big steps, sink your hips and make sure your back knee does not hit the ground.

Side Lunges

Step out laterally, sink your hips and sit back. The outside leg does the work as you drive up to a standing position between reps.

Standing Calf Raises

Find a slightly elevated structure to stand on, like a step. Stand tall on the balls of your feet, allowing your heels to hang down; then drive up on the balls of your feet.

Box Step-Ups

Find a knee-high box and step up onto it repeatedly with both legs. If outside, use a big rock or a log.

Squats

Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend at hips and knees until thighs are parallel to ground.

Use your creativity to expand your exercise options based on your surroundings and your personal goals. The best thing about bodyweight training is that it allows you to train anywhere, at any time. The next time you're on vacation or a business trip, don't excuse yourself because no gym is available.

Put it all together with these killer bodyweight workouts:

Brent Rogers
- Brent Rogers is the director of strength and conditioning for the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati, Ohio). He was most recently the assistant strength...
Brent Rogers
- Brent Rogers is the director of strength and conditioning for the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati, Ohio). He was most recently the assistant strength...
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