A bodyweight workout can be done anywhere, any time – there are a vast array of bodyweight exercises to choose from, so how can you design an intense workout to lose weight and build muscle?
Many peopleunderestimate just how effective a workout without weights can be in helping to burn fat, pack on some muscle and burn huge amounts of calories.
A properly constructed bodyweight workout will target every area of your body, improving your overall fitness and conditioning and doesn’t require an expensive gym membership.
Pretty much every bodyweight exercise can be done at home, in a hotel room, on the beach, wherever you happen to be – with no expensive equipment required.
I would suggest though that you invest in a stability ball, which is pretty cheap at around $20 and a pull up bar to hook onto a door frame if you’ve not got anything convenient in the house to do them on, like an exposed rafter in the garage for instance.
The following is an example workout that works well for me. This is an intermediate to advanced level workout.
Now there are no strict rules regarding the exercises you do – and there are so many to choose from. However, I would suggest that you:
OK, so here’s a sample bodyweight workout done as two supersets of 3 exercises. The suggested reps will depend on your fitness level.
Warm up – Take 5 minutes to jog on the spot or around the room you’re working out in and stretch.
Jumping Jacks/Star Jumps – Repeat for 30-60 seconds to get your heart pumping and your body really warmed up
Superset 1 – Repeat 2-3 times
Jumps Squats – 8-15 reps. Squat so your thighs are parallel to the floor and then explode off the floor, jumping as high as possible and reaching your arms above your head. Land and move back into the squat position, pause and hold for a count of 2 then repeat.
Pull ups – 5-15 reps. I do these on a garage roof rafter, but you could use a pull up bar attached to a door frame. Hang from the bar with a shoulder width grip, then pull your body up, arching your back until your chin is level with the bar. Slowly lower until your arms are fully stretched and repeat.
Press up – 10-20 reps. Keep your hands shoulder width apart and your back straight. Lower yourself slowly until your nose nearly touches the floor, pause and press upwards in a controlled fashion. Pause and repeat.
Superset 2 – Repeat 2-3 times
Stability Ball Leg Curls – 8-15 reps. Lay on your back on the floor with your heels on the stability ball. Raise your back off the floor so your body is in a straight line, then bend your legs, bringing your heels back towards your butt rolling the ball with them. Straighten your legs out again, rolling the ball away from you and repeat.
Inverted Row – 8-15 reps. I do these under our kitchen table, which is pretty sturdy. Lay on your back under the table with your hands gripping either side of the table top. Keep your body straight and your knees slightly bent. Keep your feet on the floor and pull your upper body up towards the table top, pause and lower then repeat.
Dips – 8-15 reps. I use the corner of an L-shaped kitchen counter to for this, although the backs of two chairs or some other pair of parallel surfaces would do. Rest your palms on the surface and keeping your body reasonably upright lower it until your elbows are at right angles then lift your body by straightening your arms using your chest and triceps. Pause and repeat.
The two supersets, performed one after the other with minimal rest should take around 20 minutes to complete.
It should take around 20 minutes to complete your bodyweight workout as 2-3 circuits if you prefer.
I follow this strength training bodyweight workout with 20 minutes of interval training.
Other exercises can be substituted for the ones in this example – one legged squats or lunges for the jump squats, close grip press ups for the dips, close grip chins for the pull ups…but you get the idea!
A bodyweight workout, particularly done as supersets or a circuit with minimal rest in between exercises can be made as tough, demanding and intense as you want to make it and is an excellent way to burn fat and build muscle in three, short workouts a week.
If this way of working out appeals to you, you may be interested in our review of Turbulence Training – probably the best and most effective workout program for busy people we’ve come across.