The 4 Must-Know At-Home Bodyweight Exercises to Try Today!

October 30, 2021

Do you ever do bodyweight exercises at home?

Strength training benefits your body in many ways—from supporting healthy weight management to promoting bone strength to increasing flexibility and even balance! But that doesn’t mean you have to pay an expensive gym membership or even purchase weights for your home.

All you need is your own body; that’s right—we’re talking about bodyweight exercises. And they’re so simple and versatile that you can do them virtually anywhere—at home, in a park, and even in a hotel room during travel!

Let’s take a look at my top four bodyweight exercises that promote strength and balance. Just remember: You can do them anywhere using just your own bodyweight to get all the health benefits mentioned above and more.


The 4 Easy and Versatile Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

Here are some of the best bodyweight exercises for home and away.

1. Squats

The first of the bodyweight exercises we’ll discuss is doing squats.

According to a 2013 study, performing squats helps to stabilize and strengthen your lower body. Moreover, it confirmed that the deeper the squat, the more it engages your gluteus maximus. [1]

But that’s not all squats do. They also strengthen your legs, support your joints (especially your knees), and strengthen your calves. Plus, they can help sculpt your core!

How To Do a Squat

To perform a squat, stand with your knees about shoulder-distant apart. Keep your toes slightly turned out and clasp your hands in front of your chest (to aid with balance). [2]

Next, bend your knees to lower yourself down, as if you’re sitting down in a chair, keeping your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees directly in line with your feet.

Make sure to keep your heels pressed down to the floor because you’ll be pressing down with your heels to rise back up to a standing position.

How Many Squats Should I Do?

If you’re just starting out, begin with three to four sets of eight to 12 reps. As your endurance builds, you can do more reps or even add hand weights to make it more challenging!

2. Lunges

Another one of the most versatile bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere is the lunge.

Lunges are known to help build and sculpt your legs, hips, back, and core. But that’s not all: They also help to improve balance and overall stability—both of which are increasingly important as we age. [3]

Interestingly, a study published in January 2021 revealed that when 15 healthy adults performed 50 forward and 50 backward lunges, it provided a calming effect that helped to reduce anxiety as well! [4]

How To Do a Lunge

To correctly perform a lunge, begin in a standing position with your feet together. Clasp your hands for balance or place them on your hips.

Step forward with your right foot (about two to three feet), keeping your back straight and your hips tucked in. Engage your core for stability.

As you inhale, bend both knees and lower yourself until your right thigh is parallel to the floor.

At the lowest point of your lunge, your right foot should be flat against the floor and your left heel should be raised so that you’re only on the ball of that foot.

Exhale as you rise back up to a standing position, then repeat with your left foot leading.

How Many Lunges Should I Do?

Depending on your starting point, you may need to begin with just five lunges per leg, for a total of 10 lunges. As you advance, you can build up to 3 sets of 10 or even 20 lunges per leg.

And, once again, you can add weights to make it even more challenging once you’re ready.

3. Bicycle crunches

One of the most common bodyweight exercises people do is a bicycle crunch. In fact, I bet that if you think back to your childhood gym classes, you’ll recall doing these with your gym teacher!

This easy-to-do bodyweight exercise target your transversus abdominis, which are your deepest abdominal muscles. Accordingly, they’re known to improve your core, stability, and even your coordination!

While bicycle crunches are also popular for relieving back pain, if done improperly, they can actually cause more damage or exacerbate pain in your neck and back. That’s why it’s important to know the proper form for this as well as all bodyweight exercises.

How To Do a Bicycle Crunch

Lie on the floor, preferably on a yoga mat or carpeted area, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Your legs should be in the shape of an upside-down V.

With your hands behind your head and your elbows facing out to each side, straighten your legs and hold them above the floor so that your legs are parallel to the floor.

Bring your right elbow across in front of you and bend your left knee so that they’re “crunching” in toward each other. Switch and do the same with your left elbow and right knee as you return your right elbow and left knee to their original starting points. This is considered one rep.

How Many Bicycle Crunches Should I Do?

Try to begin with two to three sets off 10 to 15 reps. If you find that you’re capable of doing more, increase it to three sets of 25 to 30 reps. Just make sure to rest for about one minute between each set.

4. Planks

Finally, the last of the bodyweight exercises we’ll review is the plank. While often considered not as fun due to the fact that it requires less movement, this is one of the more challenging at-home bodyweight exercises you’ll attempt. But it’s well worth it!

Planks are known to not only strengthen your spine but also your arms and core. As a result, it’s great for improving poor posture, which is a common cause of back pain.

Plus, some people prefer planks to crunches because they activate even more muscles in your body, including your abs!

How To Do a Plank

While getting into the plank position isn’t tough, holding it can be quite challenging.

You begin by getting to the high point of a pushup. Your back should be straight while your core is engaged and your hands and toes are on the floor. Look down at the floor to keep your neck in line with your spine.

Stay in this position for at least 10 seconds and for up to 30 seconds, if you’re a beginner. Those who are more advanced can hold the plank for a full minute or slightly longer and/or even rock side to side.

How Many Planks Should I Do?

Begin with one plank but you can work up to three sets of one-minute planks. Alternatively, you can try to stay engaged in the plank position for longer than one minute and do fewer sets. The longer you stay in the proper plank position, the more it’s working out your muscles!


Bodyweight exercises - Dr. Pingel

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