Are you someone who is just getting in to exercise for the first time? Are you interested in losing fat, getting stronger, or both?
If you’re like the millions of people who are just getting started with working out, body weight exercise is a great option for beginners. Body weight exercise requires no workout equipment and ZERO investment – just you and your bod! By avoiding the gym, you avoid a costly membership and you don’t need to feel ashamed or anxious around other people.
There are many exercise routines out there for body weight exercise enthusiasts, but surprisingly, there aren’t many specifically geared to beginners. In this article, we hope to change that by sharing 4 must-do exercises. These exercises are fun to do, effective, easy to figure out, and safe. Ready to get started?
Exercise #1: Plank
Details: 3 reps, 60 seconds each, with 60 seconds rest in between.
In this exercise, you will be working your core. Lay stomach-down on the ground with some shoes that have good grip, so you don’t slip. Prop yourself up on your elbows/lower arms like a sphinx, and make your body flat (like a plank!). Keep your head in a neutral position and tighten your core. Hold this for 60 seconds. It’s going to be tough, but try your best to stay up as long as possible. If you need to start only doing 30 second reps, that’s fine! Ease in to this routine at your own pace.
If you’re a total monster and can do 60 seconds x 3 with no problem, you might consider wearing a weighted vest to make the planks more intense!
Exercise #2: Push-Up
Details: 5 sets, 10 push-ups each, with 60 seconds rest in between.
You’ve definitely seen push-ups in your day-to-day life. And while you may not have done them yourself, it’s time you get started! Push-ups are one of the most effective exercises out there – not just among body weight exercises, but all exercises. Crouch down and get in to a plank position, but instead of resting on your elbows/lower arms, extend your arms completely so you’re on your hands. Keep your head down/in a neutral position, and your back straight. Bend your arms at the elbows and keep them tight, close to your chest (flaring out your elbows will cause this to be more of a shoulder exercise). Go down to a 90 degree bend, then push yourself back up.
One way to make this more intense: add an incline or decline. To slam your upper chest, prop your feet up on a small bench or table. To hit your lower chest, rest your hands above the floor, on a chair or table.
Exercise #3: Glute Bridges
Details: Three sets of 15 reps, with 60 seconds of rest in between each set.
This one might look a little obscene, but I promise, it’s not a joke. Glute bridges are an excellent exercise to tighten up your glutes (the large muscles in your butt). Lay on your back, facing the ceiling. Keep your head in a neutral position and bend your legs normally at the knees. Lay your arms straight out, palms facing down, and close to your body. Slowly raise your hips to the ceiling until you create a flat plank from your knees to your shoulders. Hold the glute bridge there for a second, squeeze your bum, then lower back down to your starting position.
Exercise #4: Body Weight Squats
Five sets of 15, 45 seconds of rest in between each set
This is the number one best exercise for kicking your whole lower body into shape. The body weight squat has all the benefits of the more intense barbell squats, but without the danger or need of equipment. Best of all, body weight squats work almost all of your lower body muscles in a BIG way.
Here’s how to do it. Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart, maybe an inch or two wider. You want to sit back rather than bend down in place – your knees as you go down should never go farther than the tips of your feet. Sit back until you’re at about a 90 degree angle with the ground, then drive through your heels and squeeze your butt. If you don’t feel safe doing this exercise, or feel like you’re going to lose your balance, feel free to place a chair behind you to “sit” on and catch you. Some people find that body weight squats are easier if you hold your arms out in front of you, so see if that works for you.
Body weight exercise is a great, simple way to stay in shape from the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment and it removes all barriers of entry to getting started on your fitness journey. Doing the four exercises outlined above will give your body an intense workout and help to kickstart new, healthier routines in your life. Good luck!
Shout out to BestHealthGear.com for this fantastic guest post!
Wishing you all a week of health, wellness, and physical activity!
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”