Get A Full Body Workout With Body Weight Exercises

Get A Full Body Workout With Body Weight Exercises

Man doing body weight exercises.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Did you know that it’s possible to strengthen the muscles in your arms, legs and core with little or no equipment?

Body weight workouts are exercises that use your body weight to provide the resistance needed to develop your muscles without the use of dumbbells, barbells, or weight machines.

Many people, especially men, believe that you have to lift weights and work out on machines in order to build bigger and stronger muscles.

But fitness experts will tell you that body weight exercises can help strengthen the muscles in your upper body, core and legs without the need for fancy gym equipment.

Your body weight can provide the resistance needed to develop and maintain muscle strength and endurance.

Body Weight Workouts for the Upper Body

One of the best exercises for multiple muscle groups in the upper body is the push-up.  Push-ups work the muscles in the chest, biceps, triceps, and back.  Push-ups can be modified to suit your fitness level.

If you are a beginner, you can use your arms and knees to help hold up your weight.  As you gain strength, you can progress to full push-ups where your arms and toes support your body weight.

You can also target specific muscles in the arms and chest by modifying your hand grips and positions.

Another simple but effective way to develop upper body strength is by doing pull-ups.  This exercise requires a pull-up bar, but a low-hanging tree branch will also work.

Body Weight Workouts for the Core

There are many body weight exercises that are very effective when it comes to developing the muscles in the abdomen, pelvis and back.  Core exercises that use mainly your body weight include sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, bridge exercise, and bicycle maneuver.  The Superman exercise, which is done by lifting the arms and legs at the same time off the floor while lying prone, is a great workout for the lower back.

Body Weight Exercises for the Lower Body

To strengthen the muscles in your thighs, legs and glutes, you can do lunges, squats and calf raises.  These exercises are great for developing lower body strength.  Side leg raises develop the muscles in your hips and outer thighs.  Jumping jacks strengthen leg muscles and also provide a good cardio workout.

There are many exercises for maintaining strength and endurance using your body weight that can help you stay fit at home or while traveling.
Push UpsPlank ExerciseSide JumpsLeg ExercisesSupermansTuck Jumps
Push ups are considered the best body weight exercise when it comes to strengthening the arms and upper body, particularly the chest and arm muscles.

This exercise can be modified to suit your strength level as well as to target specific muscles.

Newbies can perform push-ups on arms and knees to support their body weight, gradually progressing to full push-ups with the arms and toes holding up their weight.

The plank exercise starts in the same position as push-ups. You can support your body on your hands and toes, or on your elbows and toes.

When performing the plank, contract your abs and keep your back straight. Hold this position for as long as possible.

This body weight exercise strengthens the core muscles.

You can develop your leg muscles with this body weight exercise.

Stand with both feet together.

Jump a few feet to the right. Keep your knees bent and land in a squat position.

Jump to the left and repeat on alternate sides.

There are a number of great exercises to strengthen your leg and thigh muscles.

Lunges and squats are some of the best body weight exercises for the leg muscles and glutes.

Calf raises, which involves rising on your toes and lowering back onto your heels, develop the calf muscles or the muscles in the back of the legs.

Leg exercises – such as side leg raises – can also help strengthen the muscles in the hips as well as the outer thighs.

This is a popular body weight exercise.

Lie face down on the floor and stretch out your arms and legs.

Raise your arms and legs off the floor a few inches. Hold the position for several seconds, and then lower your arms and legs.

The exercise can be modified by alternating the arms and legs. Repeat.

Develop good cardio and explosive power with tuck jumps.

From a full squat position, powerfully explode straight up.

Bring your knees close to your chest while in midair and grasp your knees quickly with your arms.

Your thighs should touch your torso at the top of the jump.

Release your legs and make a controlled landing, descending into a full squat for the next explosive jump.

Get Fit and Stay Fit

  • Body weight workouts can help you get in shape and develop strength and endurance.
  • Body weight exercises are not limited to push-ups and pull-ups.
  • There are many types of exercises using your body weight that can provide a very challenging workout.
  • Some exercises can be done slowly while others are done fast or explosively to build speed and strength.
  • The right body weight workout will not only build muscle but can help you lose weight as well.



Garth is a writer and publisher of information on health and fitness, small business development, and other approaches towards personal empowerment.

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