There are so many fitness tools and equipment to increase the intensity of your workout, but sometimes using your bodyweight is all you need. You can take these exercises anywhere whether you’re traveling for work, on vacation, or in the backyard with your children. These are 10 of the best bodyweight exercises for strength and cardio.
Best bodyweight exercises for women
Most people think of push-ups, planks, and sit-ups as bodyweight exercises. However, there are so many more that really get your heart pumping and challenge your body in new ways.
Bodyweight exercises are perfect for women because they build a strong core and work your full-body in less time. You’ll also burn more calories and build more muscle.
You don’t need any equipment so these are perfect for an at-home gym.
Here are 10 of my favorite bodyweight exercise videos so you can make sure you’re performing them the right way.
Click each one of these bodyweight exercises to be taken right to the video, for the proper movement.
Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
Floor Plank Taps
Plank Shoulder Taps
Push-up (done the right way :))
Lateral Lunge Hops
Slow Bear Crawl
Bear Crawl (normal pace)
Benefits of bodyweight-only workouts
Bodyweight training is a great way to work your entire body and get your cardio up. You can focus on one exercise so you master the technique or you can combine several body movements (compound movements) to make it more challenging.
These are 12 benefits of bodyweight-only workouts.
Workout anywhere with no equipment needed.
Burn more calories.
Build more muscle.
Strengthen your core.
Work your entire body with one exercise.
Improve your balance.
Work your muscles in new ways.
Add variety to your workouts.
Less risk of injury.
Cardio + strength training in one.
Easy to modify.
Many of these benefits go hand in hand. Let’s walk through a few of them before we get to the best bodyweight exercises. So, when it comes time to workout you get the most out of every exercise!
Say goodbye to excuses as to why you can’t work out. With bodyweight exercises, you can exercise anywhere. Plus, you can get cardio and strength training done at the same time so you can exercise in less time. In one of the bodyweight workouts below, you only need 16 minutes!
Plus, bodyweight training adds variety to your workouts and trains your muscles in new ways. You get cardio in without hours on a treadmill & strength without the intimidation factor of all the crazy machines at the gym.
With many of the bodyweight exercises below, you’ll see that you’re focusing on stability and balance. You won’t get this with every exercise, but you can always change-up a movement to add a balance component. For example, a side plank requires more balance than a regular plank because you’re only using one arm to hold up your bodyweight.
You’ll also build lean muscle mass which promotes a strong metabolism. A strong metabolism = higher calorie burn making weight loss possible.
With bodyweight training, the focus is on your technique, so you’re instantly reducing the risk of injury. Plus, they are extremely modifiable. You can always put one or both knees down, go at a slower pace, take out the jump, decrease the time you work and increase the time you rest.
Then, if you want to increase the challenge you simply add a mini band. I know it’s equipment, but if you’re of an advanced fitness level, you’ll really take your workout to the next level. Or, you can keep it bodyweight only and add a jump which will add more power or speed to the movement. You can also increase the time you work or decrease the time you rest.
So, bodyweight workouts are perfect for beginners up to advanced fitness levels.
Finally, your core. It’s my personal favorite! In order to improve your balance and support your body, you need to fire your core all the time. We often forget our core until it’s time to do a sit-up or crunch. Bodyweight exercises are like the TRX — you’re always working your core!
Cross Body Mountain Climbers
Plank Shoulder Taps
With bodyweight exercises, you can combine several movements in one or just focus on perfecting one exercise. As a Certified Personal Trainer, I often see people doing basic exercises incorrectly. That can lead to injury, and you’re putting in the effort and not necessarily getting all the benefits out of the workout.
For example, the push-up. It’s a simple exercise that you may think you’re doing correctly. However, I see it done wrong all the time. In this exercise video, I’m going to give you fitness tips so you can get more out of your push-up.
A lot of people put their elbows straight out when they do their push-up. Turn your fingertips outside and get your arms at a 45-degree angle. When you do this, you’re putting your shoulders in a safer position where there’s less risk of injury, and you’re doing a stronger push-up. The other mistake I see involves the breath. You get more power out of your exercise when you breathe properly during a push-up or any exercise. I’ll break down both mistakes so you can take your bodyweight exercises to the next level, and finally do a perfect push-up.
Lateral lunge hops
Next, lateral lunge hops. Again you’re working on your balance and cardio.
Slow bear crawl
Regular Pace Bear Crawl
You can also do the bear crawl at a normal pace. Both are great bodyweight exercises.
With this exercise, you’ll get your heart pumping and work on your stability by holding the squat for 2-seconds.
Finally, the dead bug is a great stability exercise and forces you to engage your deep core muscles.
Tabata Bodyweight Workout
With bodyweight workouts, you can do these exercises anywhere including in your backyard while your children are playing. Plus, you don’t need a lot of time. With this, you only need 16 minutes!
It’s a Tabata bodyweight workout which means you’ll work for 20-seconds and then take 10-seconds rest. You’ll do each set of exercises for 4 minutes. Scroll ahead to 2:45 to see the first exercise, the frog jump burpees.
Minute 1-4: Frog Jump Burpees
Minute 4-8: Plank Pikes
Minute 8-12: Tricep Dip / Knee
Tricep Switch Kicks
Minute 12-16: Repeat your 2 favorite exercises.
Bodyweight workout with your children
Our children watch our every move, and if you have little ones around you can make bodyweight workouts fun by encouraging them to participate. Or, you can challenge yourself more by using their body as your weight.
This bodyweight exercise video shows you how to workout with your children doing weighted sprints, the bear crawl, and frog jumps.
Bodyweight exercise program
If you’re looking for a total body workout, check out my bodyweight exercise program. It’s 8 workouts with 40 new exercise videos. You’ll build strength and increase your cardio. With a low price of just $9.95, you can increase muscle and burn more calories while working out anywhere! It’s a workout program designed for the person on the go. All you need is your phone! Sign up today!