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5 Best Bodyweight Training Exercises

You'll be surprised how effective these bodyweight exercises can be for maintaining your muscle and fitness.

By Jim Smith, CSCS, owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning

Many people don’t realize the benefits of bodyweight training because in every magazine you see, there are dudes in the gym hitting weights. But, with all training, there is a regression and progression to every exercise.  For example a regression for hanging leg lifts is performing a plank. The progression would be performing the movement with a medicine ball between your feet.

Another example would be a bench press. Many people can’t do a conventional bench press because of existing shoulder issues, their form is bad or they just don’t have access to the equipment.

Push-ups are a great alternative. Not only can you perform push-ups with various hand positions but you can also do them from an elevated surface extending the range of motion for the shoulders and engage more muscle fibers.

Bodyweight Training Benefits:

  1. Free
  2. Versatile, many different variations
  3. Can be done anywhere
  4. Improves movement
  5. Improves relative strength
  6. Can improve reactive strength

Here are my top 5 bodyweight movements:

1. Push-Ups

Not only builds up the chest, shoulders and triceps, but is a great stabilizer of the torso and lower back.

Can be done with various hand, feet and elevated positions.  Push-ups variations such as EQI’s, hindus and push-up plus are incredible rehabilitative exercises.

2. Bodyweight Squats

This basic movement has huge benefits!  It can be an indicator for ankle, hip and thoracic mobility, or it can be an incredible conditioning tool.

Perform them against the wall to drill proficiency and technique, or perform linked in a bodyweight circuit.

You can also create a complex linking with a plyometric movement like sprints, jumping or zig zag hops.

NEXT: Pull-Ups & Split Squats >>

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