The Ultimate Guide To Bodyweight Exercises

By August 17, 2020November 9th, 2021No Comments
Ultimate Guide To Bodyweight Exercises Tittle Page

This is a complete guide to bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere and anytime without the use of any equipment.  The only thing you need a little bit of disciple and you’re on your way to building the strongest, fittest version of yourself.


Bodyweight Exercises: Lower Body Strength

Lower body exercises primarily focus on your quadriceps (the front of your legs), your hamstrings (the back of your legs) and your glutes (your butt!!).  Having a strong lower body is critical to your overall health.  Without a doubt, whether if you’re focused on sports performance, looking good or functional daily fitness, having strong legs is where you should start.



This is a classic lower body exercise.  Most importantly, focus all of your weight on your heels as you lower your hips.  Plus, keep your chest proud and your back straight.




Lunges are a great exercise to build strength and stamina in your legs.  Pull your shoulder blades back and you want a 90 degree angle in your knees as you lower your knee to the floor.




Lunge With A High Knee

This is pretty much a complete lower body exercise.  You’re working your gluteals, your hip flexors, your hamstrings and your quads – all at the same time.




Single Leg Squat

If you’re looking build a greater degree of strength in your legs but you don’t have access to weights, the Single Leg Squat is perfect for you.  In addition, this is great if you’re trying to develop more stability in your knees.




Alternating Lunges

Be sure to explode back up to the standing position.  This way, you’re developing power and explosiveness as you build stamina in your legs.



Kneeling Squats

A variation of the classic Squat that’s modified for BJJ practitioners.



Kneeling Lunges

As you’re lunging up from your knees, this helps BJJ athletes to open their partner’s Closed Guard.



Side Lunge

The Side Lunge acts as both a more difficult progression from the standard lunge; and plus, it’s a great stretch to do!



Squat With High Knees

With the Sqaut, you’re working your glutes and quads.  Not only are you working your legs, but by adding the high knee, you’re also working your hip flexors.




Bodyweight Exercises: Upper Body Strength – Pushups

Building strength in your upper body means developing your shoulders, your chest and your back.  Having a strong upper body means better posture which leads to increased confidence and well being.  Furthermore, upper body strength exercises improve bone density and decrease the change of injury.


Spiderman Pushups

A hard bodyweight exercise not only for the upper body but also for your core.  Bring your knee up to your elbow.  Unquestionably, the key thing is to keep your knee and your foot off the ground as you do your pushup.



Pike Pushup

Here’s a more advanced Pushup variation.  For the Pike Pushup, you want to focus on keeping your legs and your back straight.  Along with brining your forehead as close to the floor as possible. Then drive back up to complete the sequence.



Close Grip Pushup

This is my favourite Pushup variation.  Have your elbows close to your ribs as you do these.  In particularly, I like these Pushups as they mimic your arm position when you’re throwing straight punches in Boxing.



Dive Bomber Pushup

The Dive Bomber Pushup exercises the full range of motion in your shoulder.  Start with your legs straight and your hips up high.  Finally, end the sequence with your hips low and your head up high.




Diamond Pushup

Diamond Pushups really burn out your triceps!  Connect your thumbs and your index fingers and always keep your abs tight as you hit your pushups.



Typewriter Pushup

The Typewriter Pushup truly tests the range of motion of your shoulders.  Bring your head close to your right hand.  Drive up and then bring your head close to your left hand.



One Handed Pushup

Chanting “Eye Of The Tiger” certainly helps when doing these!  Have your feet slightly greater than shoulder width apart for more stability as you do your One Handed Pushups.



Pike Pushups On A Chair

This is the gateway exercise to doing a full Hand Stand Pushup!  The chair allows you to have your hips as high as possible.  Do your best to keep your back straight as you do your Pike Pushups on the chair.



Walk Out Pushups

If you can’t do a lot of Pushups in a row, the Walk Out Pushup is perfect for you.  By walking out on your hands, you’re still building upper body strength.



Elbow Rock Up Pushups

This one’s a killer for your triceps!  I’m making a mistake 🧐

It should be noted that I’m rocking up on my right side first – this is wrong!  Clearly, you want to do your best to move both arms at the same time.



Alternating Arms Pushups

The count is 1,2,3,4.  Alternate starting the sequence with your right arm and then switch to your left arm.



Scapula Pushup

Your scapula is your shoulder blade.  Bring your shoulder blades together; and then, subsequently, drive them apart.


Bodyweight Exercises: Upper Body Strength – Back


Reverse Pushup

This is a great exercise to build up strength in your back. Start by first grabbing two books the same thickness.  Next, drive your elbows down into the books thus picking up your chest.  And lastly, do your best not to use your abs for this!



The Breast Stroke

This is my favourite exercise to build up strength in my back without needing any equipment.  Clap your hands over your head and then clap your hands behind your back.  Above all, try to keep your hands from touching the floor the entire time!



The Superman

Here’s a great bodyweight exercise to build strength in your lower back without using any equipment.  First, lie on your belly.  Next, drive your hands and your heels up to the sky.  And above all, try to keep your arms and your legs are straight as possible.



The Airplane

We all slouch too much – it’s from sitting in front of our computers for too long.  The Airplane really helps correct our posture.  Have your arms out like an airplane and try to touch the sky.



Bodyweight Exercises: Abs & Crunches

Having 6 pack abs is the holy grail of fitness.  Although you can’t spot train, by focusing on diet, cardio and strengthening your abdominal muscles, you’ll have a better change of getting that six pack!


V Ups

This is one of the harder ab exercises you can do. Do your best to keep your legs and your back straight.  As well, try to keep your feet from touching the floor.



Crucifix Crunch

This one’s really tough.  The key is to balance on your tailbone the entire time.  Do your best and try and keep your feet and your shoulder blades off the floor.




As far as ab crunches go, Tucks are one of my favourites.  First and foremost, do your best to keep your shines parallel to the floor as you do your Tucks.




Side Tucks

Side Tucks are a great way to hit the muscles on the side of  your ribs.  Basically, you’re going to sit on your side pocket.  Bring your knees to your chest and then kick out.  In particular, do your best to keep your knees together.  Good luck!  These are tough!



Alternating Side Tucks

Basically the same as Side Tucks; however, you’re switching from your right hip to your left hip as you straighten out your legs.  Try to keep your feet up the entire time!



Flutter Kicks

Flutter Kicks are a fantastic way to build up strength in your lower abs.  Especially, focus on trying to extend your legs as much as possible as you’re doing your Flutter Kicks.



Criss Cross Abs

Criss Cross Abs are a great way to build up strength in your lower abdominals.



Side Crunches

For the Side Crunches, you want to try and keep your heels higher than your knees.  Plus, you want to have your knees pointed to the ground as much as possible. From here, you’re just going to pop your shoulder up off the ground.



Reverse Crunches

Have your hands by your hips as you try and reach for the sky with your feet.  Most notably, a common mistake is to create momentum with your legs.  Keep in mind that this is tough; but, try and keep your legs vertical as much as you can.



Windshield Wipers

Have your hands out like an airplane for stability.  Most importantly, don’t let your legs touch the floor as you kick your legs up from side to side.



Bicycle Abs

My personal favourite ab exercise!  The main thing to focus on is you want to have as little of you on the mat as possible. Most importantly, only the small of your back should be on the mat.  First, crunch forward so your shoulder blades are not touching the mat.  And then, bring your elbow to the opposite knee.



Seated Twists

A little bit of balance is needed for this one as you try and keep your feet off the floor.  In addition, you can also put a medicine ball or a dumbbell in your hands for added difficulty.



Toe Touches

This is your standard crunch but just done at a higher level.  Most importantly, focus on keeping your feel up the entire time!



Seated Cross Toe Touches

This is a pretty tough ab exercise.  Bang for your buck, it’s one of the best as it hits your core, lower abs and your obliques all at the same time.



Bodyweight Exercises: Core

Having a strong core is critical to a well rounded fitness program.  Your core is the combination of your hips, back, ribs and abdominals and all the muscles that connect those things together.  Thus, having a strong core allows your hips, back and abs to work together in harmony so you’ll have greater strength, stability and balance as you play sports and do daily activities.



The Plank is the classic core exercise that everyone should do.  In particular, to do the Plank correctly, keep your head, hips and heels all in a straight line.



The Side Plank

The Side Plank keeps your entire core strong.  Clearly, you need to keep your head, hips and heels straight as you maintain this position. Furthermore, I like doing the Side Plank on my elbow for better balance.



Up & Down Side Plank

This is your standard Side Plank with your hips moving up and down as the only addition.  The key thing is to keep your hips square.  There’s no twisting of your trunk with this exercise!



Planking Leg Lifts

To build strength in your lower back and gluteals while you’re doing the Plank, try adding leg lifts.



Of course, you can do leg lifts with the other leg as well 😉



Bird Dog Plank

As you’re doing your Plank, try lifting up your arm and your leg for adding difficulty.  Plus, this also works your posterior muscles!



Shoulder Taps

Essentially, Shoulder Taps is an exercise to build your core.  It should be noted that as you quickly bring your hand to touch your shoulder, you want to focus on keeping your head as still as possible.




Bodyweight Exercises: Cardio

Cardio is basically anything that gets your heart and lungs pumping.  Cardiovascular exercise helps with lowering blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces stress, helps with better sleep, reduces weight and increases life expectancy.  Bottomline, cardio is one of the best things you can do!



Sometimes called Ski Poles, this cardio exercise mimics cross country skiing.  It should be noted that you want to ensure that it’s your right hand that goes back as you drive your right foot forward.



Jumping Jacks

A staple of stationary cardio.  I like to clap my hands behind my back as well as clap my hands over my head.



Butt Kickers

Heels up to your hips as you’re running in place.  This cardio exercise mostly focuses on your hamstrings.



High Knees

Here, we’re pretty much running in place.  Bring your knees up to your hands to get your heart pumping.



Jump Twists

Warm up your arms, legs and your core with the Jump Twist.  Try to bring your arms all the way across your chest for a full range of motion.



Two Foot Hop

Basically, you’re skipping rope with an invisible jumprope.  Stay on your toes and keep a nice rhythmic pace.




Forward/Back Two Foot Hop

If you’re looking to improve your agility and footwork, then the Forward/Back Hop is perfect for you.  The secret tip is to try and keep your head still as you’re moving your feet forward and back.



Side To Side Two Foot Hop

Build agility and strength in your ankles with the Side To Side Hop.



Forward/Back One Foot Hop

To build maximum agility and balance, try the Forward/Back One Foot Hop.



Side To Side One Foot Hop

Only do the Side To Side One Foot Hop if your ankles are already fairly strong.  This exercise is fairly advanced and you could be hurt your ankle if you do a misstep.



Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers are meant to get your heart pumping!  Do your best to keep your head still as you do these.  And then bring your feet as close to your hands as possible.  “Heels up to your hands” is what I say to my students!



Jumping Jack Plank

This is a core plus cardio exercise.  Focus on keeping your abs tight as you keep your feet moving fast.



Ski Slopes

This body weight exercise really gets your heart pumping!  Try to keep your knees together and your feet constantly moving.



Ski Slopes With A Pushup

If you’re looking to combine an upper body workout with cardio plus build core strength, then this is the perfect exercise for you!  Hit a pushup each time your feet fall back to the centre position.



The Sitout

The Sitout is a staple wrestling and BJJ move. It’s also a great way to get your heart pumping while working your entire body.  Give this one a try!



The Sitout Pushup

A Stout is a classic wrestling and BJJ move and it’s a great way to build your core.  Combine that with a pushup and you have a total body workout!



The Back Step Pushup

The Back Step is a classic BJJ movement; but it’s also a great way work your legs, core and cardio. In addition, do a pushup each time your feet come back to the centre and you now have a full body workout.



The Backstep

The Backstep is primarily a BJJ technique but it’s also a fun, dynamic way to build cardio while giving you a full body workout.



The Scorpion Kick

The Scorpion Kick works your gluteals, your core and your upper body. Additionally, it’ll also get your heart racing in no time!



Donkey Kicks

To build your upper body strength and to improve your lower body explosiveness, try doing the Donkey Kick.



Bodyweight Exercises: Plyometrics

Plyometrics use explosive movements to build strength, improve power and torch calories.  Originally developed to improve performance for Olympic athletes, plyometrics can greatly improve your strength, stamina and explosiveness.


Lower Body Plyometrics

Jump Squats

Explode up from the base of your squat.  Unquestionably, speed is the key for this one!  Make sure your feet leave the floor or else it doesn’t count!



Forward/Back Jump Lunges

Use your arms and your back muscles to propel you forwards and backwards.  It should be noted that this is fairly advanced for most athletes.




Narrow/Wide Stance Jump Squat

This Jump Squat variation uses a bit of footwork to improve your agility.  In addition, the narrow stance and the wide stance builds different muscles in your hip.



Star Jumps

The explosiveness necessary to do the Star Jump is huge.  Undoubtedly, you need to jump high enough so you can spread out your hands and your feet.




Kneeling Squat Jump

Mostly, the Kneeling Squat Jump is an upper body movement.  It should be noted that you need to use your arms in an explosive manner in order to garner the power to pop up to your feet.



Tuck Jump

This plyometric exercise is super tough.  You need to explode up high enough so you have enough time to pull your knees up.  Finally, you have to drive your feet down to the floor in time to catch your own weight.  Build up to his one. It’s tough!



180 Jump Squat

When you’re doing the 180 Jump Squat you need to use your arms and your abs to pull yourself around when you’re in mid-air.



180 Tuck Jump

Unquestionably, one of the hardest bodyweight exercises you can do.  Give it a try and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do it your first time around 🙂




Heel Kick Jump Squats

This is way harder than it looks.  You need to jump up as high as you can and pull your hands and your heels back super fast.



Jump Lunges

Explode up and switch your legs in mid-air.  Importantly, at the bottom of your lunge, both knees should be bent at 90 degrees.



Lunging Jump Knee

This exercise will make you run faster – Guaranteed!



Hockey Jumps

A fun exercise to do that’s staple dry land training for hockey players.




A classic!!



Upper Body Plyometrics 

Burpees With A Pushup

Adding a Pushup to this classic exercise for added difficulty.



Inside Outside Pushups

These are exceptionally difficult Pushups to do.  They are; however, great for developing speed and power in your upper body.  Clearly, for the Inside Outside Pushup, you’re transitioning from the Diamond Pushup to the standard Pushup.



Handclapping Pushup

This is a classic plyometric Pushup.  Build explosiveness and power with this Pushup variation.  Most importantly, be sure to keep your abs tight as you do these.



Elbow Up Pushup

An explosive Pushup variation that also works the muscles of your back.  Explode up and quickly drive your elbows up to the sky.



Bodyweight Exercises: Sample Workouts

19 Minute Total Full Body Circuit:

Do each each exercise for 1 minute with a 1 minute rest between rounds.  Repeat for a total of 4 rounds.


Sample Workout #1:

Jump Lunges

Shoulder Taps




Jumping Jacks




Sample Workout #2

Jump Squats


Alternating Arm Pushups


Seated Twists





Sample Workout #3

Alternating Lunges



Walk Out Pushups


Alternating Seated Toe Touches


Jump Twists



Sample Workout #4

Squats With High Knees


Dive Bomber Pushups


Windshield Wipers


Hockey Jumps




Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip is the Head Instructor for InFighting Training Centers located in Downtown Vancouver and Brentwood Burnaby. InFighting Training Centers offers programs in Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bootcamp Conditioning Classes and Personal Training

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Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip is a life long martial artist, BJJ Black Belt, and the head instructor of the InFighting Martial Arts Gym in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.