My name is Ben, and I’m a fitness enthusiast, marathon-runner, husband, and father to two beautiful girls. I run a website called BestHealthGear, and today I’ll be sharing my favorite body weight workout.
If you’re like me, there are many reasons why you might not want to go to the gym.
- A gym membership can be extremely expensive, with places like Equinox charging as high as $200 USD per month. I live in the Bay Area, and the average gym costs upwards of $80 per month!]
- Some gyms can be unclean or too crowded. Those $80/month gyms I mentioned are over-run with people, to the point that when I belonged to one, I couldn’t ever get a good workout without being bothered!
- – Or – and this is definitely true for me – gyms can be intimidating. Overbearing guys (or girls) with huge muscles screaming and being aggressive isn’t fun for anyone. In fact, this is the number one reason my clients self-report for why they don’t consistently go to their gym.
One solution? You might consider doing body weight exercises in the comfort of your home. No crowds, no mess, no intimidation. But this is also a drawback — no (or limited) equipment. How can you get a good workout without all those machines and plates?
The good news is that there are tons of ways to get an effective workout using nothing but your body. In this article, I will give you a simple, concrete framework for getting a great workout with just your body weight.
Full Body Workout with 5 Simple Exercises
Here are the five exercises that you’ll need for your full-body workout. Follow along and use this as an every-day way to kick your body in to shape!
Exercise #1: The Push-Up
5 Sets of 10 Reps (60 seconds of rest between sets)
One of the most popular exercises of all time for both men and women, the humble push-up is a complete upper-body movement. Get set with your body parallel to the ground and your arms at a 90-degree angle. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your chest – don’t flare them out. Do 3 sets of 10.
There are two ways you can adjust your push-ups to target different parts of your chest. To make it a more intense upper-chest workout, do decline push-ups. Put your toes on a chair or small bench, so that your body is angled about 30 degrees off the ground. Alternatively, for a more intense lower-body push-up, put your hands upon a raised platform, 3 or 4 inches from the ground.
Exercise #2: The Plank
Three 60-second Reps (60 seconds of rest in between sets)
This is one of the hardest exercises for me personally, but the absolute best for a shredded core. Get in your typical push-up form, but instead of anchoring yourself on your hands, anchor yourself on your elbows. Your elbows should be at 90 degrees and you should be facing down at the ground. Your back should be straight, creating a flat surface. A great test is if you could balance a glass of water on your back – if you can do this, you’re set up perfectly.
Try to hold your plank for 60 seconds. If you’re a beginner, you’ll have trouble getting to just 20 seconds. And that is OK! Do this workout at your own pace, and increase the time as you get more fit and used to it. Whatever length of time you can hold your plank for, you must do three sets, with a long 60-second rest between sets.
Exercise #3: The Glute Bridge
Three sets of 20 reps (45 seconds of rest between sets)
Here’s a great exercise to get your glutes – your butt muscles – into fabulous shape. Lay with your back flat on the ground and your head facing up. Bend your legs at the knee and lay your hands flat, palm-down, at your sides. While keeping your hands in place and your head against the ground, raise your groin/waist area to the ceiling until you create a flat plank from your neck to your knees. Hold at full contraction for a moment, then lower your waist back to the ground. Do 20 reps in each set, for three total sets.
This exercise looks a bit weird, but it’s supremely effective, making it a great option for doing in the comfort of your home 😉
Exercise #4: Body Weight Squats
Four Sets of 20 (60 seconds of rest between sets)
Here’s a great total lower body exercise. You might hear people saying that squats are the absolute best exercise you can do for your body, and that’s definitely true. But for me, it was hard going to the gym and using the squat machine. It’s just a totally intimidating, crazy looking contraption, and it can be dangerous. But once I discovered bodyweight squats, I got super comfortable with the exercise.
Stand with your legs slightly more than shoulder width apart, and while keeping your back straight, lower your butt to a 90-degree angle. Don’t let your knees pass the tops of your feet as you bend – this indicates you’re overcompensating with other parts of your body. You want to pretend you are sitting back on a chair, rather than going straight down. This will keep your knees from flaring out. Do four sets of these, with 20 reps each.
Exercise #5: Pull-Ups
Three Sets of 10 (60 seconds rest between sets)
Beginners: Three sets of 3
Pull-ups aren’t really an equipment-free exercise, but they still make it on to my list because they’re versatile and you can do them with just about any raised bar. We recommend going out and buying a pull-up bar, but if there’s a rounded, secure pipe nearby — or better yet, a jungle gym — you can use that too.
When I was first getting into shape, pull-ups were one of the hardest exercises for me to do. I have long arms and a 200 lb frame, which makes pull-ups extremely difficult to do. I could do 3 or 4, but then I’d be totally exhausted. Feel free to ease yourself into pull-ups if you find them challenging at first.
Here’s how to do pull-ups safely. Start by hanging on the bar with your hands facing away from you. Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart and your arms should be straight. Begin pulling yourself up while keeping your elbows pointed toward the floor. Continue your pull until your chin makes it above the bar. Lower your body slowly, then repeat. To make pull-ups more arms-oriented, grip the bar with palms facing you.
So, how did it go? Did you enjoy your body weight workout? I hope you found this safe, effective workout to be fun and easy to do in your own home. If you do this every day, or even every other day, you’re sure to become much more fit. This workout proves you don’t need great home gym equipment to get yourself in shape!
Drop us a line in the comments if this worked well for you, or follow me on Facebook.