Are you looking to get into shape, but lack the equipment and time to get it done? Would you like to know the inside secrets of the ultra-fit? Then, you’ll want to know the 5 most effective types of bodyweight exercises. I’ll give you my favorite few and a couple bonus exercises for you to spice up your routine. Let’s get to it!

Getting Prepared for The Onslaught

Do I really have to go over the importance of warm-ups for the billionth time? Let’s get this out of the way since there’s still a few of you lunkheads out there that refuse to listen to me. Warm-ups are like preheating your oven before baking a good cake or pizza pie. Sure, you could get away with not heating up your oven, but you could very well end up with an inferior dish.

Because I don’t have the patience to share how important warm-ups are beyond a half-baked analogy (yeah, I went there), hit this link to check out my full thoughts and a little nerdy science schtuff!

Just How Easy Are These Bodyweight Exercises?

Hey, I’m gonna make this so easy, I’m not gonna even bother leaving my house or changing my clothes to shoot these photos. I’m simply going to pump out the exercises, snap the shots, and post ’em here to show you just how simple they are.

I’m not trying to talk down to you, just simply discrediting any kind of excuse you have for not doing these exercises on the regular. Do you need repetitions and specific workouts to tie these together? Scroll to the bottom of this page, or read on!

Most Effective Bodyweight Exercise #1: Squats

Squatting is the king of all bodyweight exercises and most everyone can do squats in some capacity. Do you have limited mobility? Then try partial squats. Are you having issues with balance? Then sit down and get up out of a chair. That’s the most basic form of squatting.

I’ll keep it basic in the instructions and don’t worry about the whole “ass to grass” philosophy. We’ll leave that to the hyper-flexible and CrossFit devotees.

  1. Squat down until you bend your hips and knees.
  2. Go as far as your hips and knees will allow, preferably 90 degrees.
  3. Don’t squat any further than what your body will allow.

bodyweight squats bodyweight squats

Easy, right? Hey, if you don’t have a full grasp, then take a peek at one of my previous posts on squats here.

Most Effective Bodyweight Exercise #2: Push-Ups

Yep, push-ups aren’t just reserved for high school P.E. classes or military boot camp. These bad boys can really help develop your upper body game and have you filling your sleeves in no time. I’ll keep my push-ups explainer rudimentary. The experienced peeps can always try to max out on reps.

Let’s use an elevated surface that is braced safely against the wall.

  1. Grasp the edges of your surface.
  2. Extend your legs behind you.
  3. Place your weight on your extended arms.
  4. Bend your elbows about 90 degrees.
  5. Pause.
  6. Press back up extending your arms.

bodyweight exercise push up bodyweight exercise push up

Check out other variations on push-ups here.

Most Effective Bodyweight Exercise #3: Bridges

Everyone needs to be doing more of these bad boys to get their posterior in good shape. Literally and figuratively. Bridges are like crunches for your backside. In fact, bridges were part of my regular routine for rehab after my back injuries. I came to love them and hate them.

  1. Lie on the floor.
  2. Pop your hips up.
  3. Stop when your body is flat from knees to shoulders.
  4. Then slowly come back down to the ground.

bodyweight exercise bridge

CHALLENGE: Try bridges on one leg. Boom! Next level stuff, baby!

Most Effective Bodyweight Exercise #4: Reverse Crunches

Do you want a more trim midsection? Would you like to get rid of the extra jiggle? Then stop eating crappy food. There. Problem solved.

But, if you want to get a rock-solid midsection regardless of how much extra adipose tissue (aka fat) covers your abs, then reverse crunches are a game changer.

  1. Lie on the ground.
  2. Place your arms out, palms down to your sides.
  3. Bend your hips and knees at 90 degrees.
  4. Lift your knees up to your chest while driving your hips off the ground.
  5. Hold.
  6. Slowly lower.

bodyweight exercise reverse crunches bodyweight exercise reverse crunches

Check out these other killer core exercises!

Most Effective Bodyweight Exercise #5: High Knees

Well, shoot! I didn’t anticipate this exercise would be so hard to shoot without looking like one hot mess. In this short series, I wanted to give you all the tools you need to get going on your own at home. And, part of that was addressing all parts of your body (sans the upper back).

High knees are just this simple:

  1. Jog in place.
  2. Drive your knees high like you’re trying to knee yourself in the chest (but don’t do that).
  3. Keep going for 30-60 seconds or more at a time.

High Knee bodyweight exercise High Knee bodyweight exercise

The Ultimate Bodyweight Exercise Is…

The ball is in your court now. I’ve put a little time into crafting this post, but I don’t want it to be another tired fitness blog. This should be an open conversation. So, I want to hear from you! What do you think is the best bodyweight exercise? Do you disagree with my five choices? If so, why?

Drop your thoughts in the comments. Until later, go get it and let me know how you do.

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Oh…whoops…almost forgot to pimp my books…

Books! Click here.

Oh, and check out one of my favorite exercise dudes Frank Medrano. He has the goods on bodyweight exercise. By the way, he has zero affiliation with me. I just thought you’d dig his stuff.