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You do not have to have a gym membership or have access to weights in order to get strong.
One of the greatest resistance training tools that you have access to every single day is your own body.
The biggest advantage of body weight training is that it can be performed literally anywhere with minimal or no equipment.
In the comfort of your own living room, in the backyard, in the park, in the office or wherever it may be, body weight training is easily and readily accessible whilst proving to be a very efficient training method for health and fitness improvements.
If you are new to resistance training, body weight training is a great place to start.
All 6 exercises will target multiple muscle groups throughout the body.
Make sure you pay close attention to the photo demonstrations and apply the coaching points to your movement for each exercise.
Don’t be concerned if you find the exercises too challenging or too simple, you can use the regression / progression section to simplify or advance the exercise.
The Plank Variations: Front, Side
- Elbows underneath the shoulders.
- Legs extended out behind the body.
- Keep the body in a straight line (don’t let the hips drop or rise up).
Progression Plank With Pass.
Regression High Plank.
For the high plank (pictured), you want to set up in a push-up position and hold – keeping the body as straight as possible. For the plank with pass, all you will do is take one forearm / arm off the floor and pass an object from one side of the body to the other, alternating sides each time.
- Feet slightly wider than hips and feet pointed slightly out.
- Keeping the chest up, hinge the hips back and down, pushing the knees out as you lower.
- Looking to get the knees to roughly 90° or less.
- Drive back up through the heels.
Progression Jump Squat
Regression Seated Squat
The seated squat starts in a seated position and works up to standing before gradually lowering yourself back to the seated position.
For the jump squat, when you reach the bottom of the squat, drive hard off the floor, spring up as high as you can, land safely and immediately go into the next squat.
Body Weight Lunges Variations Forward / Backward, Lateral
- Large step forward / backward or to the side- For the forward/backward lunge, hinge both knees dropping the back knee towards the floor.
- For the lateral, take a big step to the side, bend the outside knee whilst keeping the other leg straight.
- Driving back up to the starting position and then alternate sides.
- Keep the chest up throughout.
Use an object, like a bench, with which you can steady yourself with and drive off for the supported lunge.
Similar to the jump squat, for jump lunge (pictured), ensure you drop into the lunge and then drive hard from the floor, springing up high and switch legs if possible before landing.
Push Ups Muscles Targeted: Lats, Biceps
- Hands underneath the shoulders and legs extended out.
- Drop the chest towards the floor keeping the elbows tight to the rib cage.
- Driving back up to the starting position whilst imagining driving your hands through the floor.
ProgressionPlyo Push Ups.
RegressionHalf Push Ups.
For the Half Push-ups, set up on the knees and perform the push-up. Imagine breaking the floor with your hands in plyo push-up to drive your upper body completely off the floor – add in a clap if for an added challenge.
Pull Ups Variation: Overhand Wide, Narrow Underhand (Chin-up)
- Select your grip on the bar and then hang from the bar.
- Keeping the body straight, pull the body upward until the chest is in line with bar.
- Lower back to the hang position in a controlled motion.
ProgressionTypewriter Pull Ups.
RegressionResistance Band Pull Ups.
Use a resistance band to assist you on the way back up for the regression option. For the Typewriter Pull-ups, hold yourself up at the bars and move the body from right to left before lowering again.
Glute Bridge Variation: Double / Single Leg
- Lie back with the knees up and feet / foot flat on the floor.
- Drive through the heels and contract the glutes.
- Lower back down to the starting position.
ProgressionFeet Elevated Bridge.
RegressionTrunk Elevated Bridge.
Elevate the trunk on a box or a ball to simplify the bridge. To increase the range of motion and make it more challenging, elevate the feet on a bench or ball.
Because body weight training is so accessible and remarkably straightforward, it may be a method of training you want to adopt.
These 6 exercises, I would consider foundation to body weight training and indispensable towards building a strong and functional body.
Feel free to comment below if you need any advice or clarity with the workout routine. I’ll be happy to provide any assistance.
Chris is a qualified Personal Trainer with 7 years experience. He’s a health and fitness writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Interests and specialties include the human body, coaching, bio-mechanics, and sports performance. Currently writing a book based on improving football performance.