5 Best Body-Weight Exercises for a Total Body Workout

“Next week I am going home and I don’t have access to the gym, how am I going to work out?”

“I don’t have a gym in my society and have very less time to manage my workout, what am I supposed to do?”

“I have kids at home and I can’t leave them alone, how can I exercise?”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, nothing should stop you from being the best that you can be, because gym is not the only place where one can work out. One can achieve their fitness goals even while working out at home!

Few things that need to be kept in mind while selecting the exercises that you can do at home –

  • Focus more on the workouts involving compound movements. Compound workouts are the ones which engage more than one major muscle group for the execution. Pushups, Squats etc., are few such compound workouts.
  • Select the workouts which are performed with full range of motion. It will not only help in growth of muscles but also help in strength gain.
  • Understand the basic kinetics of the body and choose the workouts which simulate the bio-mechanics of human body. Avoid any such workout which makes your joints uncomfortable.
  • Incorporate exercises which involves more of both eccentric and concentric movements like pull ups.

There can be a lot of exercises that we can perform at home without any equipment, and only by using your body weight to give you a full body workout –

1. Pushups: It is one of the basic yet one of the most effective body weight workouts that impacts the chest, shoulders, back, and also the triceps to some extent.

With a little variation in this workout we can focus on various areas of chest and triceps. An inclined and decline pushup variation will focus on the lower (sternal head) and upper chest (Clavicle head) where as a close hand stance can stimulate more of the triceps. Few other variations can also be incorporated to focus on shoulders like Hindu pushups.

2. Pull-ups and chin-ups:  

Another most effective upper body workout are the chin-ups (pull-ups). They majorly engage the back (latissimus dorsi, middle and lower traps, rhomboid, etc.,) and bicep muscles, and work quite good for upper body strength and hypertrophy.

3. Body weight Squats:

 

It’s a lower body workout which can also be performed using only the body weight. Little variation in squats can provide a better engagement of the quads, calves, and hamstring muscles to some extent. Jumping squats are quite good to make your quads strong along with stimulating the calf muscles which are quite hard to develop in general.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Body weight deadlift: Deadlift is one of those workouts which impacts a majority of upper and lower body muscle groups. Variations like stiffed leg deadlift or Romanian dead lift will help in the development of hamstring and glutes.

5. Body weight lunges:

It works pre dominantly on the quads of your legs, glutes, and other stabilizing muscle groups. It can be modified with addition of variations like step ups.

 

These workouts can be mixed together and made into a single workout. For example, take a look at “Burpees”. This workout is a hybrid of pushups as well as jump squats. Performing such workouts will save time and also fulfill the requirement of training the upper and lower body muscle groups.

The objective should be to learn the course of action and performing the workout with the full range of motion (ROM).

 

Once you have advanced and have adapted to the workouts, then the workout will not be good enough to provide stimulus to the muscles without a high set of repetition which may not be optimal. In such cases adding few weights or even resistance band to the workout helps. As with progression, only strength and hypertrophy will get better.

 

So next time, let the lack of a gym not deter you from moving towards your fitness goals. Like the common adage goes, where there is a will, there is a way. Use these body-weight workouts to lead the way to a healthier you, even at home!

 

Article Credits – Suraj Ray

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22027847

Suraj Ray

Suraj Ray

Hi, I am Suraj Ray, an Expert Level Certified Nutrition and Training Consultant (INFS). I have 2 years of real time experience in fitness and lifestyle transformation. I prefer to understand the goals and limitations of my client before starting their program. The program is custom made based on the observations made by keeping the limitations and benefit under consideration. For me, fitness is an undetectable part and we are together for quite some time. The regime started long back when I used to train with my father and from where I learned the significance of a fit and healthy life. My objective is simple and clear, I want to make as many people as I can fit and healthier. I understand that the mission is not an easy one and “easy” is something that I am not looking for. With SQUATS I have taken an oath and will fulfill it by helping you with your fitness goal. It's will be a mutual job for me and you to bring your fitness goal and my vision into reality.