Table of Contents
- Bodyweight Exercises: Lower Body Strength
- Bodyweight Exercises: Upper Body Strength – Pushups
- Bodyweight Exercises: Upper Body Strength – Back
- Bodyweight Exercises: Abs & Crunches
- Bodyweight Exercises: Core
- Bodyweight Exercises: Cardio
- Bodyweight Exercises: Plyometrics
- Bodyweight Exercises: Sample Workouts
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.
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.
A variation of the classic Squat that’s modified for BJJ practitioners.
As you’re lunging up from your knees, this helps BJJ athletes to open their partner’s Closed Guard.
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.
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.
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 Pushups really burn out your triceps! Connect your thumbs and your index fingers and always keep your abs tight as you hit your pushups.
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.
Your scapula is your shoulder blade. Bring your shoulder blades together; and then, subsequently, drive them apart.
Bodyweight Exercises: Upper Body Strength – Back
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A staple of stationary cardio. I like to clap my hands behind my back as well as clap my hands over my head.
Heels up to your hips as you’re running in place. This cardio exercise mostly focuses on your hamstrings.
Here, we’re pretty much running in place. Bring your knees up to your hands to get your heart pumping.
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 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.
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 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 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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
A fun exercise to do that’s staple dry land training for hockey players.
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.
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:
Sample Workout #2
Alternating Arm Pushups
Sample Workout #3
Walk Out Pushups
Alternating Seated Toe Touches
Sample Workout #4
Squats With High Knees
Dive Bomber Pushups