Starting a beginner bodyweight workout is a great option for those who want to exercise but don’t want to deal with having to go to the gym to get fit. As the name implies, a bodyweight workout uses your body’s own weight – rather than machines or other equipment – to help you get into shape.
All you need are some good, sturdy workout shoes, comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, and a willingness to push through the fatigue.
Whether you’re aiming to increase your strength, lose some weight, or you just want to challenge yourself, bodyweight exercises are effective and convenient. As with any sort of exercise program, however, you’ll need to talk to your doctor before starting a bodyweight workout routine.
Easy Workouts For Beginners Who Want To Avoid The Gym: The Beginner Bodyweight Workout
A bodyweight exercise routine can be a very effective part of anyone’s training regimen. It can help strengthen your arms, your legs, and your core, and you can do it in virtually any area of your home. You can use your body’s own weight to tone and strengthen muscles, no matter what time of the day or night it may be.
In order to get the most out of this or any other exercise routine, it will be important that you first determine the reason why you want to begin a workout routine in the first place. Here’s a look at how to do so.
Choose The Right Home Exercise Program For Your Goals: Overall Health, Weight Loss, And Strength Training
There are many reasons why people start an exercise routine. What’s your reason? Do you simply want to support your health? Do you want to lose some weight? Do you want to increase your strength and/or increase the tone of your muscles? Figuring out why you want to exercise will go a long way toward helping you find the right type of exercise.
Bodyweight Exercises: Supporting Your Overall Health And Longevity
Getting plenty of exercise can support a long healthy life. As a matter of fact, research shows that people who exercise and keep their weight under control live longer than those who are considered obese and inactive – as much as seven years longer.1 That fact alone might be enough for you to push your workout limits and see what you can accomplish.
If overall health and longevity is your goal, you should probably consider workouts that will increase your heart rate, such as high-intensity interval training and jumping jacks. Here’s a quick look at how to perform these exercises.
Bodyweight Exercises To Increase Heart Rate: High-Intensity Interval Training, Jumping Jacks
If you really want to push yourself and get a great workout, high-intensity interval training, or HITT, might be the exercise for you. Like other exercises associated with a bodyweight routine, you can perform HITT workouts without having to go to the gym. HITT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by short rest periods. This type of exercise may support cardiovascular and metabolic health.2
One example of a HITT exercise is known as “jumping high knees.” It’s pretty straightforward:
- Stretch your arms high into the air and bring one knee up to your chest.
- Lower that leg and do the same thing with the other knee.
- Do this for about 60 seconds, or about 30 reps per leg.
- As you get more used to the motion, increase the intensity so you have a bounce to your steps.3
The odds are probably pretty good you’ve performed jumping jacks at one time or another. You might have done them as part of the calisthenics routine in your physical education class in elementary school. Jumping jacks can get your heart pumping, and help strengthen bones. This could potentially reduce the risk of a severe injury due to a fall.4
Bodyweight Exercises: Supporting Weight Loss
Many people choose to exercise in order to lose weight. If this is your goal, be prepared to push yourself in ways you might not have done before.
You’ll need to choose an exercise that will keep your heart rate elevated and increase your metabolism. This will help burn the calories you need in order to shed unwanted pounds. Bodyweight exercises such as burpees and squats may be able to help you get to where you want to be.5 These will push you a great deal, but the effort will be worth it in the long run.
This is a very challenging exercise, so make sure you get your doctor’s okay first. Burpees work a lot of areas of your body, including your arms, thighs, abs, and more.
- Stand up straight with your feet as wide as your shoulders. Keep your arms by your sides and your weight on your heels.
- Put your hands on the floor. Keep them at a width a bit narrower than your feet. Move your body weight to your hands.
- Jump back with your feet. Keep your body in a straight line. This will help work your core muscles.
- Jump forward, making sure your feet land a bit outside of where your hands are.
- Reach up with your arms and jump vertically as explosively as you can.
- Once you land, get back into the original squatting position and repeat.6
Squats are a great way to boost your leg strength. Jump squats help you strengthen your legs while providing a great cardio workout at the same time. Again, you’ll need your doctors approval to do this exercise as it can put some strain on the knees and hips.
Here’s a step-by-step look at what to do. Make sure you’re on a stable surface to reduce the chance of injury.
- Stand up straight. Keep your feet about the same width as your hips.
- Bend slightly at the hips. Lower yourself until your thighs are positioned parallel to the floor.
- Put all your weight on your feet and then jump up explosively.
- When you land, keep your knees bent at a 45° angle.
- Get back into your original position and repeat.
- If possible, try to perform 15 reps a set for three or four sets.7
Bodyweight Exercises: Supporting Muscle Growth
You might think you need a set of weights in order to build your muscles and gain strength, but that’s not necessarily the case. Strength training exercises can support muscle growth as well as bone health, potentially helping you stay strong and sturdy well into old age.8
Here are a few strength training exercises that you might want to consider.
This exercise, which is also known as a press-up, helps activate your muscles.
- Get in the normal position for pushups, with your weight on your toes and your hands directly below your shoulders.
- Keep your body straight. Lower your body until your chest is about an inch from the ground, and then quickly extend your arms.
- Do this for 20 reps if possible.9
You start this exercise in the same position as you would when doing pushups.
- Raise a foot off the floor, bringing your knee toward your elbow.
- Then, go back to the starting position and do the same with the other leg. Do as many reps as you can.
- Get your knees as close to your abs as possible for maximum effectiveness.10
Plank lifts will help strengthen your abdominal muscles as well as your back muscles.
- Get down on the floor with your weight on your forearms. Keep your feet and knees close together.
- Keep your elbows beneath your shoulders. Lift your torso, hips and legs, keeping them in a straight line.
- Hold this position for as long as you can. Most people can only do this for about 30 seconds at a time. Your eventual goal should be to safely be able to hold the position for two minutes.11
Here’s To A Lifetime Of Being In Shape
Whether your favorite exercise is the squat or high-intensity interval training, making the decision to push yourself will be one of the best choices you will ever make. Just make sure you speak with a doctor first to ensure you will be as safe as possible.
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