5 Best Bodyweight Exercises to Build Strength and Fitness

Bodyweight exercises can help you gain muscle and improve your overall fitness (Image via Pexels/Rodnae Productions)
Bodyweight exercises can help you gain muscle and improve your overall fitness (Image via Pexels/Rodnae Productions)

People of any age and fitness level can benefit from bodyweight exercises. Modifying the rep pattern or period is all it takes to enhance or reduce intensity.

Bodyweight exercises don't require any equipment because you're utilizing your own weight as resistance. You can practice strength training without weights at home, at the gym, at the park, or even in a hotel room. You won't grow bored because you'll be forced to work on numerous levels of motion.

Unlike machines or free weights, which generally only target one or two muscle groups at a time and take time to use, bodyweight exercises allow you to quickly transition from one action to the next, allowing you to increase strength while still getting some cardio.

When done correctly, bodyweight exercises can help you gain muscle and improve your overall fitness without putting too much strain on your joints. Bodyweight strength workout training routines can also help you improve your technique and target specific muscle areas, making you stronger for when you do decide to return to lifting weights.


Want to build up strength? Try these 5 best bodyweight exercises

Bodyweight exercises isn't just appealing because it's convenient. The proper motions can help you get or stay flexible and refine your technique in your favorite barbell exercise if done correctly.

The 5 best bodyweight exercises are listed below:

1) Hand release push-up

Trainers recommend this push-up variation because it allows you to standardize the motion and enhance the force of your push. Furthermore, it highlights pecs better than almost any other type of push-up.

Hand released push-ups. (Image credits: Pexels/ Elina Fairtyale)
Hand released push-ups. (Image credits: Pexels/ Elina Fairtyale)

Here is how to do it:

  • Begin in a high plank position with your shoulders precisely over your wrists, glutes tight, and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your toes as you lower your body to the floor.
  • Pinch the shoulder blades together to lift the hands off the floor.
  • Return to a high plank position by pressing your palms back on the floor.

2) Overhead crunch

Crunches are among the tried-and-true bodyweight exercises that focus on abs. When you stretch your arms, your upper body lengthens, making the move more difficult—assuming you do it correctly.

The most crucial aspect of this workout is to think of your arms as an extension of your body; make sure you're crunching with your abs rather than your arms. Before raising your shoulders off the floor, engage your abs.

Overhead crunches. (Image credits: Pexels/ Ivan Samkov)
Overhead crunches. (Image credits: Pexels/ Ivan Samkov)

Here is how to do it:

  • Lean back with your arms straight over your head, forming a straight or decline line with your body.
  • Bend your knees and maintain your feet flat on the floor, then crunch your shoulders off the ground by contracting your core while keeping your arms locked.

3) Star plank

Traditional bodyweight exercises may not offer similar ab-smoking burns as the planks. Instead of just planking for hours on end, try a variant like the star plank to increase the resistance and create a new muscle response. Begin by mastering a firm rib-to-hip connection, squeezing the glute muscles, and 'locking down the abs.' At all times, try to keep your hips horizontal.

Star planks. (Image credits: Freepik)
Star planks. (Image credits: Freepik)

Here is how to do it:

  • Walk your hands and toes out and apart from your body till they create an X-shape from a press-up position.
  • Maintain a level line from your neck to your hips and toes by bracing your core.
  • Hold for the required amount of time, then return to a standard press-up position.

4) Burpees

Due to the great effort involved, burpees will provide you with a massive calorie burn by working muscles practically everywhere on your body. Try incorporating them into basic bodyweight exercise circuits or in between strength sets.

Burpees. (Image credits: Freepik)
Burpees. (Image credits: Freepik)

Here is how to do it:

  • Squat down so your thighs are parallel with the floor, starting with your heels shoulder-width apart.
  • Put your hands on the ground and kick your legs out from behind you into a press-up position from the bottom of the squat.
  • Tuck your legs in at the bottom of the squat position after pushing up until your arms are straight.
  • Repeat by driving upward into your heels until you are six inches off the ground.

5) Glute kickback

Glute kickbacks target your gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, as well as your hamstrings and hips. Make sure to tighten your glute at the top of the movement and hold it there.

Glute kickbacks. (Image credits: Freepik)
Glute kickbacks. (Image credits: Freepik)

Here is how to do it:

  • Kneel on the floor and do a press-up with your hands. Slowly raise one leg until your hamstrings are parallel to your back.
  • Throughout the technique, contract the glutes and hold the stretch for a second once completely extended.
  • Rep with your other leg, returning to the starting position.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht