Here’s my Bodyweight Exercises List.
Use it in Your fitness Program!
Bicycle Crunches: Get in the crunch position and keep your butt and shoulders elevated for constant tension on your abs. Extend one leg fully and touch the opposing elbow to the leg that isn’t extended. (Your knee and elbow will form a diagonal line across your stomach.) Now extend the other leg while contracting the one that was extended and touch the other elbow to the leg that is now contracted. (Alternate legs and elbows, each touch counts as a rep.)
Board pushes: Get in the push-up position with your hands on the balancing board and extend your arms-as slowly as you can while keeping your abs tight and back straight-until you’re a few inches off of the floor. Then hold for a second before letting yourself touch. Then get back in the starting position and do it again. You can also do these without the board, just use something that slides.
Front Bridge: Place your feet a little wider than shoulder width and place your forehead on floor. Roll slowly to the top of the head and hold. Use hands for support if needed. Your Body should be at about a 90% angle–legs to stomach. **Once you’re strong enough in the static position, try moving your head around to increase flexibility and strength.
Wrestler’s Bridge: Lie on your back. Place your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart with your hands on the floor by your head. Use your hands for support. Arch your body off the floor until you rest on the top of your head. Then gently roll toward your nosed and try to touch it to the floor. This will push your chest and waist toward ceiling. You can gently rock back and forth for a greater stretch.
**When strong enough remove your hands and hold on your head and feet.
The Wrestler’s Bridge is one of the best bodyweight exercises I’ve ever found for getting rid of lower back pain. Heck, it’s one of the best exercises period for getting rid of lower back pain! But approach it carefully.
Sick and Tired of being caught on the health and fitness yo-yo?
Gymnast’s Bridge: Lie on your back with your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Place your hands on the floor by your head, about shoulder width apart. Arch your body upward pressing your chest forward and hips toward ceiling until your entire body is supported by your hands and feet and your arms are locked.
Bridge ups: Get in the same starting position as the Gymnastic Bridge. Lift your hips off the floor until you’re resting on your shoulders. Press into the full Gymnastic Bridge. Lock your arms if possible. Then lower your shoulders to the floor and repeat.
Chair Dips: Place two chairs with the backs facing each other about 2 to 2.5 feet apart. Grip the top of the chairs. Support your weight with your arms. Lift your feet until you are supported entirely by your arms. Lower your body by bending your arms–until your shoulders are near the level of your hands. Press back to full arm extension. Repeat.
Counter-Dips: AKA Bench Dips. Use a desk, dresser, kitchen counter, weight bench, etc and a chair, weight bench, or other mobile piece of furniture. We’ll use a desk and a chair in this example. Place the chair far enough away from the desk that you can reach it with your toes when you sit on the edge of the desk. Now sit on the edge of the desk and place your hands at your sides, about three inches away from you, on the edge of the desk with your palms down and your fingers front and curled over the edge to grip it securely. Place your feet on the chair. Lift your bottom off of the desk and push it forward until it is clear of the desk. Now bend your arms–lower your body–until you’ve reached a comfortable stretch. Hold for a second and press back to the start.
The island in my kitchen is the perfect distance from my sink for these. That’s why I call them counter-dips.
Crunches: Lay on your back. Bend your legs to form a 90% angle between your lower abs and the top of your thighs and another 90% angle between the back of your legs and your calves. Place your hands behind your head with fingers gently interlocked. Lift your pelvis and upper shoulders until your elbows are touching your knees, squeeze your abdominals. Then slowly lower your pelvis and upper shoulders to the ground. This is one rep.
Deep Breathing: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your hands on your hips. Inhale as deeply as you can, first into your lower lungs and then into your upper lungs. Now slowly exhale while contracting your abdominals. As you exhale the last of your breath, contract your entire stomach as hard as you can for a moment. Then repeat the process.
**While contracting your abs, learn to focus the tension on different areas of your stomach. This increases overall body awareness and muscular control.
Donkey kicks: get in the pushup position and spring your lower body off of the floor until you are in a handstand (or near handstand) position. Balance as long as you can. Then lower your legs and do it again.
Floor Pike: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place your hands, palms down, fingers forward, right next to your bottom. Tighten your abdominals and press down with your hands until your body is supported by your hands only and you are in an “L” position. Hold as long as you can. Repeat up to 10 times.
Forearm Stand: Kneel down and place your forearms flat against the floor with palms down and elbows about shoulders width apart. Place your weight on your forearms and look at the ground between your hands. Bring your feet as far forward as you can without hunching your back. Now kick up slowly with one leg and follow with the other. Keep your legs together and your toes pointed with your nose close to the floor and your back slightly arched. Once you can hold this position comfortably, try raising yourself until your arms are at a 90% angle and holding that.
**When you can hold this for 60 seconds you’re doing great!
Frog-Stand: Squat down and place your hands about 1 to 1.5 feet apart. Place your elbows inside of your knees. Lift your body and balance on your hands with the majority of weight resting on your elbows.
Grasshoppers: Get in the push-up position with arms locked. While holding your shoulders and arms still, bring one leg under the other and across your body. Keep the leg straight and try to bring it to your opposite hand. Now swing it back to the starting position and repeat the movement with the other leg. This exercise should be done in as fluid a method as you can manage. Each touch counts for one rep.
Hand Stand: Place both hands on the ground about 1.5 to 2 feet from a wall. Lock your arms and kick your legs up just hard enough to touch the wall, not slam into it. Keep your legs together and toes pointed. Press your hands into the floor, extending your shoulders and your arms as far as you can. Now hold as long as you can. You’ll be surprised at how hard this is.
Head Stand: Place your hands about shoulders width apart. Place the top of your forehead between your hands and about 1 foot back–fingertip side–to form a triangle. Now press into the floor with your hands hard enough to counter balance your body. Bring your knees in close to your chest and lift both legs into the air with feet together and toes pointed.
Hill Sprints: Exactly what it sounds like. Find a good steep hill. Sprint up it as fast as you can, or sprint as far up it as you can in a shot. Repeat as many times as your screaming legs (and lungs) will allow.
**Warm up with some Hindu-Squats first.
Hindu Jumpers: Stand tall with your feet shoulders width apart and your hands pulled back by your lower ribs. Squat down and raise onto the balls of your feet. In an explosive motion, swing your arms down, forward, and up while jumping as high as you can. When you land use your legs as shock absorbers to reduce the impact. Stand and repeat.
Hindu Jumping Squats: Stand tall with your feet shoulders width apart and your hands pulled back by your lower ribs. Jump forward at least 1.5 to 2 feet. Land on the balls of your feet–you should already be in the
descending motion of the squat. At the bottom of the squat, jump up and backward to land standing in the starting position. Repeat.
Hindu Squats: Stand tall with your feet shoulders width apart and your hands pulled back by your lower ribs. Squat down while pressing your hands to the rear and down in a sweeping motion. As you squat rise onto the balls of your feet. At the bottom of the squat your hamstrings should touch the top of your calves. From the bottom position stand while sweeping your arms forward and up until they are parallel to the floor and you’re standing. That is one rep. These should be done in a smooth circular motion.
Decline Push-ups: Do push-ups with your feet on a counter, bed, or chair. For extra difficulty, use push-up handles. You can also vary hand widths to target different areas of your chest.
Handstand Push-ups: Do a handstand against a wall with your hands slightly wider than shoulders width. Lower yourself as far as you can and press back to full arm extension. Try to lower yourself until your upper arms are at a 90% angle with your forearms.
Hindu Push-ups: Place your hands about shoulder width and your feet about 3 feet apart–Your hands should be close enough to your feet that when you’re in the starting position your torso and legs form a 90 degree angle. Push back and raise your bottom into the air until your arms are straight out (above your shoulders, as if you’d pressed them straight overhead). This is the starting position and your torso and legs should form a 90 degree angle.
From the starting position, using your arms, lower your head toward the floor until you’re almost touching and then continue forward in a sweeping motion and start pressing up until your arms are fully extended and your back is arched. In the end position your hands will be by your stomach, your arms straight, your back arched, and your head pointed toward the sky. This is supposed to be a fluid motion. Think of it as drawing a half circle with your head.
From the end position, push straight back until you are in the starting position. That is one rep. Make sure you don’t drag your belly on these. Do as many reps as you can in a consistent fluid manner. If you need to rest to reach your goal, rest in the start position.
Regular Push-ups: Place your hands shoulder width apart–or slightly wider–with your fingers pointing forward, your feet together, and your body straight. In the starting position, your body should be held rigid and supported by only by the balls of your feet and your hands.
In a controlled motion, lower your chest until it is almost touching the floor and then press your body back to the top position. It’s important that you keep your stomach tight and your back flat while doing pushups.
Note** Wider hand placement focuses on the Pectorals and a narrower placement focuses on the Triceps.
Reverse-grip Push-ups: These are the same as regular pushups, but your hands are rotated 180 degrees and your fingers are pointed toward your feet. Also, your hands will need to be placed farther down next to your waist or hips to comfortably do these.
Straight Arm Push-ups: Lie on your belly with your arms straight overhead, palms down, feet together, and toes planted firmly. Take a good breath and tighten your abdominals. Then press down with your hands until your body is held 3 to 6 inches off of the floor.
Note** This is a difficult exercise and shouldn’t be done until your abs are strong enough to hold your body rigid–to keep your lower back from pinching.
Lying Scissor kicks: Lie on your back and place each hand about 6 inches out from your waist, palm down, for support. Without lifting your head, keep your legs straight and lift one heel about 2 feet from the ground. Then, in a controlled manner, lower that leg while lifting the other. Keep alternating until you’re done. Don’t let either heel touch the ground while doing these.
Mountain Climbers: From the top pushup position, bring one leg up under your chest until your foot is level with your chest. Jump slightly and snap your other leg to your chest while extending the first one. Repeat as many times as you want. Remember to keep your abdominals tight during the exercise.
Prone Lunges: From the top pushup position, keep your body rigid and press forward slowly until your wrists are stretched as far as they can comfortably go. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and relax back to the starting position.
Alternating Pull-ups: Grip the bar with palms out and hands a little wider than shoulders width. Pull up to the right side—only using the left hand for stability—and then lower to the center. Repeat to the left and alternate on each rep. Also, make sure you do an even number of reps to hit both sides equally.
Gymnastic Pull-ups: These are really a super-set of pull-ups. Do 8 pull-ups, switch to another grip and do 6, then switch to another grip and do 4, etc; when doing these, try to switch grips while still hanging and without touching the ground. See example below:
Wide Grip Pull-ups (palms out) – 8 reps.
Close Grip Pull-ups (palms in) – 6 reps or as many as you can.
Medium Grip Pull-ups (palms out) – 4 reps or as many as you can.
Medium Grip Pull-ups (palms in) – 2 reps or as many as you can.
Regular Pull-ups: Grip the bar with your palms facing you and arms about shoulders width apart, pull yourself up until you chin is higher than the bar—or as high as you can. Now let yourself down slowly until your arms are almost straight but still have some tension on them and repeat. – For added difficulty you can pull yourself up and touch the bar with your chest while arching your back.
Reverse Pull-ups: Grip the bar with your palms facing away from you and arms about shoulders width apart, pull yourself up until you chin is higher than the bar—or as high as you can. Now let yourself down slowly until your arms are almost straight but still have some tension on them and repeat. – For added difficulty you can pull yourself up and touch the bar with your chest while arching your back.
Wide Pull-ups: With palms facing away from you and hands at least 6 inches wider than your shoulders, pull yourself up until you chin is higher than the bar—or as high as you can. Now let yourself down slowly until your arms are almost straight but still have tension on them and repeat.
Regular Dips: These are just like Chair Dips, but you’ll use Dip Bars. Basically Regular Dips can be done on anything that offers two parallel bars or surfaces that will support your bodyweight and are far enough apart for you to fit between.
Rope Extensions: These are a specialty exercise I found in a Men’s Health magazine that profiled the workouts of Dwayne Johnson–the Rock. To say they kick butt is a massive understatement!
Hang two ropes about 2.5 to 3 feet apart from something that will support your weight. Make sure the ropes are the same length. Now place a bar through loops at the bottom of the ropes–I use a 1 inch thick wooden dowel that I got at the local hardware store. The bar should be as level as possible and about three inches off of the ground.
Get in the starting Push-up position with both hands on the bar about shoulders width apart. From that position, slowly extend both arms forward as far as you can without losing control. Hold for a few seconds and then bring the bar back to the starting position.
**Be sure to work into this one slowly, it requires a great deal of Core Strength.**
**Contract your abdominals as tightly as you can during the whole movement to prevent undue strain on your lower back.**
Rope Holds: Use two ropes that are .5 to 1 inch thick. Grasp them above the level of your head and pull yourself up until you are as high as you can lift yourself. Hold as long as you can and then lower yourself. Once your hands are strong enough, you can do pull-ups in this fashion. It helps to wear gloves–to prevent rope burns if you slip.
Stairs: Take the stairs anywhere you can! When going up, take every other stair and make sure you get a good stretch. Pace yourself and try to take all of the flights you’d planned without having to use the hand rails or topping. I’m always wearing a 20lb – 30lb backpack when I take the stairs at my office. When going down, don’t go too fast and pay attention to the impact on your knees.
Stair Sprints: Sprint up the stairs hitting every other step and making sure you only use the balls of your feet. As you sprint down, hit every stair and make your body as light as possible. Up=strength and explosive speed, down=fast footwork and agility.
Straight Leg Lifts: Use the same area you use for regular dips. Support your bodyweight on your hands and then, keeping your feet together and your legs straight, lift your feet until your legs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second or two and lower your legs in a controlled manner. That’s one rep.
Stretcher: Sit with your legs together, extended in front of you. Place your hands a little behind your waist, palms down. Plant your hands and lift your body until you are rigid and you are only supported by your heels and hands. Contract your abdominals and lower back, focusing on holding your torso and waist as straight as possible for the time you’ve set.
Up-Downs (AKA Burpies): Start in a standing position. Squat down deeply and place your hands on the floor. Kick your legs out so you’re in the pushup position. Now jump your legs back in near your hands and stand again. Repeat as quickly as you can.
**You can also add a push-up at the bottom before standing
Upside-down pull-ups: Jump up and grab a pull-up bar. Flip your body upside down and hold in the pike position. Now pull your rear up until it touches the bar and let back down slowly. Repeat as many times as you can. You can also do these with your legs over the top of the bar.
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The contents of this page are not to be considered medical advice. Always consult a
physician before beginning or changing any fitness program.
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