A little while ago I put up a post explaining how body weight movements are less beneficial than weighted movements (stalk my instagram to see that: @jasondonnisontraining) and while I firmly believe that, there are some situations where you just can’t get to the gym to use equipment. IN times like these bodyweight training is your go to. Below are my 10 favourite bodyweight movements.
- Push up
When done correctly, the humble push up will light up most muscle in your body. Your upper body, your midline and even your legs need to work to perform a perfect push up. These can easily be regressed by going on to a wall or off of your knees or they can be made more difficult by slowing them down and adding pauses in different positions.
2. Pull up
So this might not be completely equipment free (you need a pull up bar) but if you look hard enough you can find somewhere to hang just about anywhere. A well done pull up, either in an overhand, underhand or neutral grip, is one of the greatest movements for shoulder health. Even just hanging from a bar will have great benefits.
3. Split squat
It can be argued that the single leg element of a split squat makes it more beneficial to most people than a normal squat. That discussion aside, split squats are great for your quads, hamstrings and your butt! They’re really easy to learn and can be progressed by raising either the front leg, the back leg or both.
The benefits of lunges are fairly similar to that of split squats with an added balance element. My two favourite variations are reverse lunges (hello glutes) and walking lunges. Not much makes your quads work like a high rep set of walking lunges.
5. Wall sit
Wall sits on their own: average. But when you pair them smartly with something else, this is when they’re really beneficial. Do a plank after a wall sit and you’ll be forced to use your midline more because your legs will already be smoked. A marching wall sit is also brutal.
Planks are great. I love them and I use them often. When done right they offer benefits to the shoulders and the core. Once you’re fairly capable with them you can start raising an arm or a leg to add a different element.
The squat is my go-to lower body movement, but I’ve included it here more for its variations. Doing a slow, unweighted squat is brilliant. as well as adding pauses to different positions. Jump squats are also awesome.
L-sits will light up your core like it’s nobodies business. These can be done either hanging (same place you found to do your pull ups) or with your hands at your sides raised up off the ground. To make these easier just bend your knees to a point that you’re able to hold.
9. Bear crawl
Hello quads! A slow, controlled bear crawl is so rough but has so many benefits. Shoulder strength, control of your midline and feel a proper burn in your legs. Want to see how unbalanced you actually are? Pop a book on your back. Want to feel it a bit more in your upper body? Do these in reverse.
When used properly a flat out sprint is probably more beneficial than everything else on this list combined. A few sets of anything between 10-50m will be enough to give you a proper workout. If you are going to do these, make sure to do a proper warm up beforehand.
Next time you’re stuck at home and can’t make it to the gym, throw a couple of these movements together and you’ve got the makings of a decent workout.
* I haven’t included videos because I’m a technophobe but an easy YouTube search of any of these movements will give you what you need.