Over the past few months I’ve been incorporating more and more bodyweight exercises into my routine. I will probably write a lot of posts on bodyweight workouts in the following weeks and months, simply because I love them so much and I think they’re not used as much as they should be.
However, in this article my goal is to help you get started with bodyweight training in the first place, so I will share 7 of my favorite bodyweight exercises that you can begin using in your workouts today to start burning fat and getting fit. These are all effective fat burning exercises that you will see good results with.
The squat is more than just a single exercise. There are all sorts of squats that you can and should do in your workout. I do a few of them in my sessions.
Some of the squats I like doing include:
- Side Squats
- Split Squats
- Y Squat
- T Squat
- Bodyweight Squats
- I also do a variety of squats with dumbbells exercises to work the upper and lower body.
Let me talk about the regular bodyweight squat and how to do it right. I have a video below which shows how I do other forms of squatting.
The regular squat is a lower body exercise that works your thighs, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It is a fantastic exercise. It burns a lot of calories and helps you train a large amount of muscle cells.
You do a squat by standing straight with both feet firmly on the floor. Your feet should be at shoulder-width apart or just slightly more (I like them to have a bit more space in between).
Bend both knees and lower yourself while pushing your buttocks back. You need to keep your back straight and to bend your knees symmetrically.
Push yourself up through your heels and rise to the starting position. This is one repetition.
Here’s a video with some extra squat variations:
The Push Up is an exercise that we all know (and some of us hate) from our school years. It’s the best bodyweight exercise to train your chest. However, it also works your triceps and shoulders.
Push Ups can be done by women and not just by man. And, similarly to squats, there are a number of variations that you can perform, each of which works your body in a slightly different manner.
You can do incline push ups with your hands on an elevated platform, which makes the exercise easier, or do a decline version with your feet higher, which is much harder. Each variation targets a different part of your chest.
You should do different versions to give yourself a more complete and diverse workout experience.
Step Ups are a favorite exercise in aerobic classes, but this is not just a bodyweight cardio exercise, but can also be a formidable strength exercise.
You can do step ups on a bench, an aerobic step or any stable elevated platform big enough to place your entire foot on. The intensity of the exercise depends on the height of the platform you use. The higher it is, the harder it gets.
Doing a step up is simple: you place on foot on the step and pull yourself up while lifting your other leg high in the air while bending your knee. Try to crunch your abs at the end of the movement.
Lower your leg, step down, and repeat with the other leg.
Leg curl on a stability ball
This is an excellent hamstring exercise which also works the glutes. It may take a while to get it right, since it can be challenging to maintain your balance on the stability ball.
You begin this exercise by lying on the floor. Place both legs on a stability ball. Raise your buttocks and lower back in the air. In fact, only your upper back and head should be on the floor, along with your arms which should be spread at your sides to give you a bit more stability.
Bend both knees and roll the ball toward your buttocks. Your feet will roll on top of the ball so that at the end of the movement only your heels will be on it. Check out this video which shows how to do leg curls on a stability ball:
Stability ball Bulgarian Split Squat
This is a difficult exercise to master, but it is well worth doing.
The Bulgarian split squat is a difficult enough exercise as is. Doing it on a stability ball makes it even harder. Now you’re not just working your legs, but also your core and abs.
This is an exercise that will make any fat loss workout a little more effective. The picture to the right illustrates how difficult it is to perform.
You place on leg on a stability ball and the other on the floor well in front of you. You bend your forward knee, lowering your body to the floor while keeping your back straight.
You need to keep the back leg steady, which may be harder than it seems. Since all of your weight is placed on one leg, you can expect a large muscle stimulation. Make sure to keep your knee from bending forward too much. It shouldn’t pass your toes.
Burpees are great because they combine cardio and strength in a single exercise. Let’s see how you perform them:
- Bend your knees and squat down. Place both palms on the ground in front of you.
- Kick both legs backwards into a push-up position.
- Do a push up.
- Jump back to the squat.
- Rise and jump.
The push-up gives you a strength stimulation while the jumping an aerobic one. When done fast, burpees are an excellent fat burning exercise.
The pull up is a formidable upper body exercise. It works the back and biceps and is considered one of the best ways to test your body’s efficiency.
The regular pull up is done by gripping a pull-up bar in an overhand grip in which your hands are about 1.5 shoulder width apart.
You start the exercise by hanging from the bar with outstretched arms. Slowly and evenly pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar.
The movement should be done with your upper body. Using your legs to propel you up reduces the effectiveness of this exercise, a variation known as kipping pull ups. Hold your stomach in and make sure that your movement is complete on the way up and on the way down.
Bodyweight Exercises Are Effective
Some people believe that weight lifting is more effective than bodyweight exercises. It may be for muscle building but it doesn’t have to be for fat burning. The exercises I described to you in this post allow you to do fantastic fat loss workouts that can help you tone your body quickly. Do them in your gym or home workouts and you will see results.