Last Updated on August 11, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
Some people believe that “lifting weights” is the only way to get in shape or stay in shape. Well, if you believe that, please read on and ask yourself that same question after you are done reading.
While lifting weights is good for many reasons, it is not an absolute must to increase your body’s strength and shape your figure. Many people are amazed and often become the biggest advocates of using body weight only after avoiding weights for an extended period of time.
And, even if you are into weights, it is always good to mix things up so your muscles don’t get used to your approach, which could lead to flattening results.
For most folks, however, simply working out with their own body’s weight is sufficient.
Whether you are working out at home, at the office, or while visiting a friend or family member, your body weight is plenty for achieving gains, and we’ve compiled a list of 12 movements that don’t require any weights to help you feel those body burns!
Rotational jacks, a variation on the famous jumping jacks, are a wonderful way to start a workout. They will raise your pulse rate and also get your muscles warmed up.
How to perform rotational jacks:
- Begin with a wide stance and keep your knees loose. Raise your arms laterally so with your palms facing the ground.
- Bend the knees and rotate your body from one side to the other by alternating your hands as they hit the ground.
- Before each hand touches the ground, you should go back to the starting position and leap with both feet.
- Perform at least 3 sets of 12–15 reps per side.
Planks are a simple, but challenging, workout that engages our full body. Adding the reach-under variation further stimulates your core.
How to perform plank reach-unders:
- Take a high plank stance with your hands.
- Make sure your core is tight and your lower back isn’t sagging. Your neck and spine should be in a balanced position.
- Lift your one hand off the floor and touch the cross-side leg with your palms.
- Return to a plank position and then do the same with your other hand.
- Perform 3 sets of 10 taps on each side by alternating from one side to the other.
For that booty burn, move on to performing some step-ups. Not only are they beneficial for strengthening your lower body, but they are also fantastic for practicing control and improving your balance.
How to perform step-ups:
- Using a bench or even your couch, step on it with one leg and engage your glutes as you do so.
- Then step backward off the bench, and step with your other leg.
- Perform 30 alternative reps (15 on each side) for 3 sets or do one leg and then swap and perform 15 reps with your other leg.
There’s no need for dumbbells when a few rounds of mountain climbers can burn as many calories as many other exercises.
Holding your own body weight, in conjunction with the knee thrust, will set fire to your body and make you feel so good!
How to perform mountain climbers:
- Get in a high plank position with your arms outstretched.
- By alternating your knees, drive them up towards your chest while activating your core and retaining your spine and neck straight.
- Perform 3 sets of 30-40 reps each, moving as quickly as possible while maintaining proper form.
Plyometric workouts like Squat Jumps challenge your muscles to exert a large amount of force in a short amount of time.
You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with just a couple of sets of them. They’re very effective and, if you perform them correctly, they will burn like heck!
How to perform jump squats:
- Do your normal squats and keep your hands joined to maintain a proper posture.
- On your way up, instead of just standing, jump as high as you can and land back on the ground to perform the next squat.
- Perform 3 sets of 10–15 reps.
Burpees are a full-body movement that burns calories rapidly and is another type of high-impact plyometric workout.
How to perform burpees:
- Standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and fall into a push-up position.
- Then add force with your feet to get back up on a squat stance and stand upright again. If you are really up for a challenge, add a jump to make the exercise even more challenging.
- Repeat the movement for 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Standing Side Hops
Lateral motions are an essential part of a well-rounded fitness program, and side hops are one of those exercises that will challenge your body.
How to perform standing side hops:
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides and keep your knees flexible.
- Keeping your feet together, jump from one side to the other; if it helps, add a towel on the floor to jump over it.
- Do 20 reps for 3 sets.
Even experienced lifters find it difficult to accomplish a basic pullup. However, the payoff is well worth it, even if you are just trying to work up to doing just 1 rep.
How to perform pull-ups:
- Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on a pullup bar or something else that is very strong and can take your weight.
- With your arms straight out, supporting your body, try lifting your chin over the bar using your upper body’s strength.
- Try not to swing or use your body as momentum when performing the exercise.
- As stated, this is a very difficult exercise to perform, so just do as many reps as you can for 3 sets.
Holding a squat stance and pulsing there improves time under tension or the amount of work your muscle performs throughout a workout. Are you ready to feel the heat?
How to perform squat pulses:
- Get into a squat stance with your hands together out in front of you.
- Perform a squat and slowly pulse without going all the way up.
- Keep pulsing for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.
Flutter kicks target the core and are a perfect ab variation for that body-burning feeling.
How to perform flutter kicks:
- Lie on your back and extend your legs, forming a 90-degree angle with your body.
- Gradually drop your right leg to the floor without letting your lower back move away from the floor.
- Bring your leg back to the starting position and drop your other leg in the same way.
- Complete 15 alternating reps per side for 3 sets and make sure you are never resting your heels on the floor.
Pushups are a staple exercise but not an easy one. They demand strength and endurance as well as abdominal and lower-body stability.
They’re a basic exercise that may be easily modified by dropping to your knees to make them easier or putting your legs on a couch for an extra challenge!
How to perform Push-ups:
- Get in a plank position by tucking your pelvis and keeping your head neutral and your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Try to get your chest to touch the floor by bending your elbows and keeping them tucked into your body while bracing your core and maintaining your spine straight.
- Go all the way back up without locking your elbows and repeat as many times as you can for 3 sets.
Any workout that strengthens your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings will yield amazing results. Lunges are exactly what they sound like as you will be “lunging” forward with each rep.
How to perform lunges:
- Take a broad step forth with one of your feet and bend until it forms a 90-degree angle, keeping your other foot stable on the ground.
- Push back up with the front leg and do the same on the other side.
- Perform 3 sets of as many reps as you can for each side.
To see results, you should be consistent in your workouts and perform these exercises for several reps and sets daily as well as repeat the workouts at least three times per week.
And do not be deceived by the seemingly ease of bodyweight moves. This combination of cardio, plyometrics, and bodyweight workouts will be a challenge and will give you results!
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