Struggling to find motivation to go back to the gym? We spoke to fitness guru and personal trainer Jess Neill, from JN Fit to learn more about the benefits of bodyweight workouts. Here are some genius workouts that will help you to build your summer body.
Bodyweight workouts are a great way to tone up and build core strength. You don’t need any equipment, you need very little space and you can make them as low- or as high-intensity as you’d like.
They’re versatile too, so you can switch up between cardio, bodyweight strength or high-intensity training circuits. Even walking can count as strength training, depending on the intensity. Perfect for slotting into your daily routine. Here’s why we’ll be adding them to our weekly at-home workout routine…
You Can Workout Wherever You Want
Whether you prefer to workout outdoors or in your living room, you can develop a routine that fits your schedule and space. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and make them as quick as you like. There’s no need to wait until a class starts, or until you have time to get to the gym. You can even do some exercises sitting at your desk at work, sitting at home on the sofa or even travelling on your daily commute.
You’ll Build Strength and Get Your Heart Pumping
The beauty of bodyweight training is that you can combine cardio and strength training all at the same time for a great all-round workout that guarantees results. Combine burpees, arm workouts, chest, legs, jumps, running — anything you want. You’ll tone up and get a serious sweat on.
It Can Improve Mobility and Flexibility
You’re generally moving your body through its full range of motion during a bodyweight workout, which will also help protect your body against injury. (Remember, mat Pilates and yoga are both bodyweight workouts too, so there are plenty of options to choose from).
It Burns Fat
Bodyweight workouts build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. The idea is to jumpstart your metabolism and burn calories. But the caveat is that you need to really put the effort in if you want to see results.It Works Different Muscle Groups
If you suffer from any problem areas like a sore back or tight calves, bodyweight exercises work to strengthen muscles, ironing out any niggling aches and pains. It’ll give you more stamina too — any runners out there, bodyweight routines will take your race game to the next level.
It Improves Your Overall Health & Fitness
The cardiovascular system is usually given a good workout, because generally a lot more repetitions are needed, than when using weights. A great way to improve your overall health and fitness.
You can nail a high-intensity routine within 20 minutes. That’s your exercise done for the day. Genius.
You Can Try Different Routines
You can tailor bodyweight workouts to be as easy or as challenging as you like. Mix it up by swapping squats for a more challenging single-leg movement like a pistol squat, or by elevating your feet while performing push-ups to really get your muscles burning.
There’s more variety so you won’t get bored.
You Don’t Need Equipment
All you need is yourself and a big dose of motivation.
It’s Completely Free!
You don’t need to worry about being locked into a gym membership, and as a bonus, there are thousands of effective bodyweight workouts available on platforms like Instagram or Youtube.
Keen to get started? Below is a sample of some fun bodyweight exercises you can do from home online. These and many more can be found in my online programs.
5 BODYWEIGHT WORKOUTS
Perform these 5 exercises as a circuit, 15 reps* of each exercise, for a total of 4 rounds.
*Pilates Hundreds has 100 reps, hence the name!
Bulgarian Split Squat
Begin standing with one foot on a chair or couch behind you, the other foot on the ground. Use a wall for balance if needed. Lower your back knee toward the ground, then squeeze your front leg to stand back up.
That’s 1 rep. Do all reps on one leg, before switching sides.
Tip: Keep your chest tall and core engaged.
All-Fours Tricep Dips
Begin on all fours, with hands slightly in front of the body and spine neutral. Lower your elbows to the floor (they should finish directly under your shoulders), then push hard through your palms and squeeze the back of your arms to straighten them up again.
That’s 1 rep.
Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out. Breathe into your tummy and brace your core (like you’re about to get hit in the belly), squat down as low as you can, squeeze your thighs to come halfway back up, lower yourself down to full depth again, before squeezing your glutes to stand all the way up.
That’s 1 rep.
Begin on your hands and feet, with hands slightly wider than shoulders. Engage your core so you’re in a straight line from shoulder to heel. Bend your elbows and squeeze your back muscles to lower your chest toward the ground, then push up away from the floor to return to the start position.
That’s 1 rep.
Begin on your back, flatten your lower back to the ground by bracing your core, curl your head and shoulders up, reach your hands forward and extend your legs into the air (bend your knees if you need to). Begin pulsing your arms up and down. Inhale 5 reps, exhale 5 reps.
Perform 100 pulses to complete the exercise.
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We hope you found our workout tips helpful. We've got plenty more health advice for you. Back Pain? These exercises will help to ease your bad back. Sick of suffering with chronic joint pain? We round up the best joint supplements. If you have a sensitive stomach, we've also got some expert tips on how to improve your gut health. Head over to our Health & Wellness Edit to get all your health questions answered.