If you were given an opportunity to work out completely free of charge with accessibility anywhere, would you take it? If your answer was yes, body-weight workouts may be a good fit for you.
Body-weight training is a form of strength training that utilizes your own body — no equipment necessary! — to perform exercises. But don't think that just because you aren't lifting heavy weights you aren't getting a good workout in. The benefits of body-weight strength training includes building lean muscle mass, boosting heart and brain health.
Despite the fact that it's recommended to strength train two days per week or more, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reasons like lack of time, no gym membership or lack of knowledge of training equipment still pose as obstacles for some. That's what makes body-weight training such a great alternative.
The following body-weight exercises are great for improving not just your strength, but also your flexibility, mobility and aerobic output. The best part: You can perform a body-weight exercises anywhere — places like parks pose as great outdoor gyms!
So, if you're looking to add a little oomph to your exercise routine, try this 20-minute advanced body-weight workout to push your body to the limit.
How to Do This Workout
If you're looking to build strength, perform the following body-weight exercises for 3 sets of 2 to 6 reps. If you're looking to build muscle mass, do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.
1. Explosive Lunge
- Start standing up tall, then step a few feet forward with your right foot.
- Bend both knees to 90 degrees, with your back knee hovering just above the ground and your front knee either over your ankle.
- Drive left arm forward so it's at a 90-degree angle and keep left arm straight and back behind you.
- Explode out of the lunge and off your feet, switching your feet in midair so that you land softly with the opposite foot in front. Simultaneously drive your left arm forward so it's at a 90-degree and angle and swing your right arm back so it's straight behind you.
- With each rep, switch which leg and arm is leading.
Those new to this exercise should aim for 5 to 10 reps on each leg. If you can't jump, pause at the bottom of your lunge for a few seconds before standing up and switching legs.
2. Spiderman Push-Up
- Position yourself on your hands and knees, hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart and knees under hips.
- Step your feet back and straighten your legs so that you're balanced on your palms and toes. Your body should make a straight line from head to hips to heels.
- Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your body to the floor.
- Lift your right foot and draw your right knee up and out, so your right knee reaches your right elbow just as your chest hovers about 1 to 2 inches from the floor.
- Return your right knee back to its starting position, then press through your palms to push yourself back up to high plank.
- Repeat, alternating between lifting your right and left leg.
3. Dynamic Glute Bridge
- Lie on your back with your arms resting by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the ground hip-width apart. Your feet should be close enough to your hips that if you reach one hand at a time toward each heel, you can just touch it with your fingertips.
- Relax your arms alongside your body. Think of your shoulders being "glued" to the floor to help keep your spine neutral.
- Squeeze your glutes and core, and press your heels into the ground to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to chest. Resist the urge to arch your lower back as you raise your hips. Focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position throughout.
- Hold this position with your glutes engaged.
- Begin to take small, alternating steps with your feet in toward your glutes — get as close as you can without it becoming uncomfortable or painful.
- Walk your feet away from you until your legs are fully extended. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then walk your feet back to the neutral glute bridge position.
4. YTWA Exercise
- Lie on your stomach on the floor with your arms above your head and legs straight.
- Squeeze your glutes and engage your back to raise your legs, arms and torso off the ground.
- Raise your arms overhead, wider than shoulder width. This is your starting "Y" position.
- Move your arms down until they are both laterally extended. This is your "T" position.
- Bend your elbows. This is your "W" position.
- Push your arms behind you so they are fully extended behind you. This is your "A" position.
Keep your core tight and keep your head neutral. Your arms should always hover above the ground as you go in between movements.
5. Triceps Dip
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Stand two dumbbells up behind your hips (one dumbbell on each side).
- Place your hands palms down on the tops of the dumbbells and extend your legs out in front of you a few inches. Your heels should be on the ground and your toes should point up to the ceiling.
- Push your palms into the dumbbells and squeeze your glutes to lift your butt off the ground.
- Slowly bend your elbows to almost a 90-degree angle while lowering your butt toward the floor.
- Push back up to the starting position.
6. Hollow-Body Rock
- Lie on your back with arms extended overhead, legs straight out.
- Lift into a “hollow” position — arms and legs lifted, lower back pressed into the ground, head in line with the arms.
- Shift your weight forward, then backward, continuing to rock back and forth for 30 seconds.
For those new to the exercise, start by holding the position for 15 seconds. As you build strength, you can work up to the full 30 seconds.
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