Choosing the best bodyweight exercises is no easy task, as there are so many options out there. We chose these five moves for the following reasons: they tackle most of the main muscle groups. That means they’ll build muscle and burn fat effectively by ramping up your metabolism.
Secondly, they’re all scalable, and can (and should) be used in High-Intensity Interval Training, especially when you get expert help from coaches and training partners.
Lastly, they’ll all help to improve your cardiovascular fitness, build up your balance and upgrade your flexibility. Don’t get us wrong – we’re not hating on weights – we just know you can build the body you’ve always wanted without them. And by skipping the weights, it means you can train anywhere, and at any time. Let’s get started!
Don’t get us wrong, an air squat is excellent, and so is the tough-but-rewarding pistol squat, but this is easily our favourite leg exercise. It targets a helluva lot of big muscle groups in your legs to help kickstart your metabolism. That means more muscle growth and more fat loss. It’s also pretty versatile: you’ve got forward and reverse lunges, jumping lunges, curtsy lunges, and lunges that become part of other moves and stretches (the Crescent Lunge Pose in yoga, for one). They will help develop your balance and your core too. Walking lunges are also a great way to warm up for a run or sports session.
It’s the exercise with a funny name that most people love to hate, but here’s what can’t be argued: it works. Not only does it tackle almost all the major muscle groups to make you stronger and leaner, but it can also help make you fitter too. It might seem like a simple exercise (if you haven’t done one), but as soon as you start stringing a few quick reps together, your heart rate will climb, and your body will start feeling the burn. When it comes to pure exercise value, this move will challenge your body the most, especially if you maintain the right technique.
This may not be as popular as the other ones on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. A hollow hold may take a little getting used to, but we love it as a muscle builder and fat torcher that tackles all the main core muscle groups. It’s a challenging move, but once you’ve mastered it, it provides incredible benefits. And once the hold becomes easy, you can progress to the tougher, but also hugely beneficial hollow rock exercise. Both of these moves are also excellent add-ons to any warm-up routine.
Yeah, you can’t get away from this classic upper-body builder. The good news? There are plenty of variations and scaled options if you can’t do a normal one, but you can’t skip this move in your plan; it tackles several upper body muscle groups and is unparalleled at building strength and muscle tone in your chest, shoulders and arms. Here’s one of our more advanced favourites: the spiderman push-up. No matter which variation you choose, it will provide plenty of upper body benefits.
Ah, so you thought the burpee was tough? Say hello to its evil cousin. This total-body move is a core-builder, and it will also make you fit and torch plenty of calories. It might seem a little challenging to get the coordination right at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you will love the benefits.
So, there’s our top five, a potent mix of total-body moves that will help shed body fat and build long, lean muscle. If your goal is to look better naked, then these five moves must be part of your weekly plan. The good news? They are all part of the workout routines at The Movement Empire. Sign up here to get started (there’s a free seven-day trial!)
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