Pumping free weights and tackling weight machines at the gym are great tools for building muscle mass and strength. However, you can also get a body that’s lean and mean by committing to a resistance training program that utilizes only your body weight. Such a strength program is an excellent option to get fit, build mass and sculpt your physique whether you don’t have the time or money to join a gym, or you just want to change your workout routine.
In some cases, bodyweight exercises are better than gym workouts using free weights and machines because such gym techniques have a tendency to target specific isolated muscles. Bodyweight exercises, on the other hand, require balance and stability. These types of exercises involve a range of muscles, providing a more thorough workout.
The following top five bodyweight workouts utilize the most muscles so you can receive a total body workout in the shortest amount of time.
Pushups are an all-around good exercise to build a total upper body. They make a good addition to any exercise program because they will develop many weaker muscles that may be missed during major weight lifts. Pushups specifically target the major muscles of pecs, traps, delts, biceps and triceps.
There are also multiple versions of pushup techniques, each which target different groups of muscles. Therefore, you can vary between such pushup techniques as classic, incline, decline, dumbbell, as well as the plyometric handclap technique to work various muscles and build better mass.
Pull ups are another great upper body workout option as they also strengthen pecs, traps, triceps, biceps, lats as well as your core. If you have a bar in your home then that makes the exercise easy. However, if you lack a bar, you can still benefit from this exercise by utilizing a strong, exposed ceiling beam or a sturdy branch in a backyard tree.
Triceps dips are a good strength training exercise to further develop these muscles. Triceps can often be underworked, which results in arms looking out of balance because the biceps tend to grow larger faster. Triceps dips will help to remedy this imbalance.
Parallel bars are generally used in a gym for this exercise (or you might find them in a nearby playground). However, another technique allows you to do triceps dips wherever a simple, sturdy chair is available, such as at home or the office.
Grasping the edge of the chair and with feet out and away from you, slide your bottom just off the edge of the chair while supporting your body weight with your arms. Slowly lower yourself down until your arms form a 90° angle and then slowly lift yourself back up and repeat.
Squats are another good all-around bodyweight exercise for the lower body as they work to develop mass in the main muscles of quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes and core.
Keeping the trunk of your body straight with arms out in front of you and parallel to the floor with your feet shoulder width apart, slowly lower yourself down until in a “sitting” position and then slowly raise yourself back up and repeat.
For added strength building, plyometrics can also be applied to this exercise. Lower yourself down as described above and then lunge upwards rapidly onto a sturdy crate or low brick wall, repeat the lowering movement and then lunge up and back to your starting position and repeat.
To build stronger quads, add classic lunges into your bodyweight exercise program. Try altering variations of the lunge, such as side, low, barbell, sliding side lunges and one-leg lunge reach, into your routine to strengthen other leg muscles.