Decent body-weight workouts are hard to come by, especially for free. Here I give you a superb body-weight routine which will help you gain muscle and lose fat. There are a whole host of exercises that can be included in your regular body-weight workouts ranging from easy to extremely difficult.
The routine I have developed here is suitable for people who are at a high intermediate-advanced stage of fitness – some of the exercises included are very tough but they can of course all be modified dependent on your individual fitness level.
The routine uses ’super-sets’ which comprise of two exercises performed back to back. The varieties included here are ‘non-competing’ which essentially means you are using a lower body exercise followed immediately by an upper body one, this way you don not become so tied and can give 100% during both exercises.
If you want to see maximum results from your body-weight workouts, 100% effort all the time is vital. Super-sets are a fantastic way to increase muscle size whilst losing fat, what’s more they are an ideal technique to use for your workouts at home – you don’t need very heavy weights, you’re able to push your muscles to their limits without them. With these types of body-weight workouts you don’t need the hassle of the gym.
So here we go, an advanced session that can be a fantastic addition to your body-weight workouts, all exercises should be performed at a high intensity with no rest between each exercise in the super-set. Rest for 45 seconds between super-sets and for 90 seconds once all three super-sets are completed before moving onto the next set of exercises.
1A. Bodyweight Squat
The body weight squat works the leg’s major muscle groups – the thighs, glutes and hamstrings. This exercise has developed a cult follow simply because it is perhaps the best lower body exercise one can perform helping to build strength and firm up your legs and consequently it is a great exercise to include in your bodyweight workouts.
Stand with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned out. In order to maintain balance through-out the exercise hold your hands out in front of you at shoulder height. Lower yourself down as far as you can by bending your knees without lifting your heels off the floor. Do this is a slow controlled motion and pause briefly at the bottom of the movement before pushing yourself back up to the starting position. Should you have any knee, hip or ankle ailments this exercise is not recommended and you should consult your doctor before performing it. Complete 15 reps per set.
1B. Spiderman Pushups
Spiderman pushups are a far more advanced and difficult variation of the standard pushup, they work your chest and core harder as you are only using one leg and can help create killer bodyweight workouts.
Get into the normal pushup position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart keeping your abs braced and your body in a straight line. Place the hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself down slowly until you are about 2 inches or so from the floor, whilst doing this slowly bring your right knee towards your right elbow keeping your foot off the ground as you do so.
Push up through your chest, shoulders and triceps as you slowly return your leg and body to the start position. Keep alternating sides in a controlled manner until all reps are completed. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line and do not rotate your hips throughout the exercise – this ensures your back is not put under too much strain. Complete 10 reps per side per set.
2A. Forward Lunge
The forward lunge can be used to develop strength and control in the leg and hip muscles. It specifically targets the quads, hamstrings and glutes and is a superb addition to your bodyweight workouts.
Standing with your feet approximately 6 inches apart and with your toes pointed forward step forward with one leg, lowering yourself until both knees are at 90 degrees. Ensure you do not step to far and keep your weight on your heels. Push yourself back up to the start position and repeat with the same leg for all reps before switching to the other one. Keep your back upright and abs tensed throughout the exercise and place your body weight on your front leg. Shoot for 8-10 reps per leg.
2B. Bicep Pull ups (Chin Ups)
This old favourite has been used seemingly forever to help increase strength in the arms and back, this particular method focuses on the biceps and is often referred to as a chin up.
An underhand grip is probably the easiest of all pull up grips as it allows you to utilize the biceps fully and doesn’t rely on your back muscles quite so much. Grip the bar at approximately shoulder width or narrower (you can even touch your hands together) and make sure your palms are facing you. Then simply pull yourself up so your chin is over the bar, slowly lower yourself back to the start position and repeat. Go for 8 reps.
Burpees help increase strength and explosiveness it works the cardiovascular system hard and although mainly focussed on the legs utilizes muscles throughout the body. You can do this exercise with two variations, the easiest is the original version but that is tough in itself – there is also an advanced version which combines a pushup. Due to the difficulty of this exercise, it has been occasionally used to settle disputes between inmates in high security prisons. Here, in this bodyweight workouts session we’ll focus on the original burpee movement.
Movement during a burpee exercise should be constant, you should ‘flow’ from one rep to the next. To begin, squat down and place your hands on the floor approximately shoulder-width apart. Kick your feet back into a pushup starting position. Then bring your feet back under you as if you just performed a squat thrust, follow this by immediately jumping up into a star position with your arms and legs extended. Sink back down into the squat and start again. Repeat for a total of 15 times.
3B. Tricep Dips
From the name you will realize that this exercise is specifically used to develop the triceps or back of the arms but in our variation it also utilizes other muscle groups such as the shoulders, abs, back and legs. This exercise is superb for those of you who have those infamous ‘chicken wings’ – they will soon be no more as you tone up that particular problem are with tricep dips.
Sit on a stable chair or bench and place your hands at your side, then reposition yourself with your backside in front of the bench with your knees bent and feet hip width apart. Ensure that your elbows do not become locked at any point during the exercise as this will stress the joints and tension will be relieved from the tricep muscles that you are working on. Lower your body down by slowly bending the elbows until your arms are at 90 degrees keeping your back close to the bench.
At the bottom of the movement push with your hands through your arms and rise up back to the starting position. Position your hands shoulder width apart on a secured bench or stable chair. Be sure that you don’t allow your neck to sink and your ears to fall close to the shoulders. As you become stronger you can begin to straighten out the legs. Go for 8 reps each side.
Well there you have it – another addition to your bodyweight workouts which can help you to lose fat and get fitter – for more of these kind of workouts you should definitely check out Turbulence Training which is choc full of superb routines specifically designed for fat loss. These kind of bodyweight workouts can be substituted into your fitness routine when you simply don’t have time to visit the gym or if you are on the road traveling.
Be sure to leave your comments and feedback below – I love to hear about what kind of exercises you are doing to help with weight loss and any experiences you’ve had with bodyweight workouts.