Due to the popularity of “boot camp” style exercise programs such as CrossFit and Insanity, bodyweight exercises are once again at the forefront of people’s exercise regimes.
There’s just one problem… these types of exercises are not all beginner friendly.
No matter how many times you watch a video of an extremely fit workout instructor doing burpees or tuck jumps, it doesn’t mean you can safely pull them off in your living room, without formal instruction or a spotter.
So, let’s walk it back a few steps and start at the beginning. Here are some excellent bodyweight exercises that beginners can do at home.
There’s a reason these show up in virtually every workout – they work! This one simple exercise targets muscles in your back, shoulders, arms, chest, and core. Not bad, huh?
To do a push-up, begin by lying face down on the floor with your feet hip distance apart. Tuck your toes under your feet and place your hands directly beneath your shoulders with your elbows bent. Slowly push upward until your elbows are straight, lifting both your chest and hips off the floor. Lower yourself back down, and repeat.
Squats are another exercise that target many major muscle groups, specifically your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
To perform a squat, stand with your feet hip distance apart, and your toes pointing forward. Bend your knees, and push your butt back as though you were preparing to sit in a chair. Keeping your knees pointing forward, lower yourself down below the level of your knees, and then come back to a standing position. Repeat.
This exercise is great for your core, lower back, glutes, and shoulders.
To do a spinal balance, come into a table position on your hands and knees, keeping your back flat, not arched. Keep your knees directly below your hips, and your hands directly below your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward.
Slowly extend your right hand forward until it’s level with your shoulder, while at the same time extending your left leg backward until it’s level with your back. Come back to the center, and repeat on the opposite side.
Another great exercise for your legs; lunges work your quads and hamstrings while also helping you to improve your balance.
To perform a lunge, stand tall with your arms relaxed at your sides and your toes pointing forward. Take one giant step forward with your right foot and bend your right knee until it is at a 90-degree angle. Bend your left knee down, but do not let it touch the floor. Spring back up to a standing position, re-center, and repeat on the opposite side.
Perhaps the mother of all core workouts, planks can be difficult to achieve at first, but you can build up your ability over time.
To do a plank, begin by lying face down on the floor, bending your elbows and tucking them in tightly to your sides. Push up until you are balancing on your toes and forearms, and hold your core as straight as possible like a plank. Hold for as long as you can, and as your workouts progress try to maintain the position for longer.
Double Leg Lifts
This is a great exercise for working your lower abs.
Begin by lying on your back, with your arms close by your sides, palms facing down. Keeping your knees straight, raise both legs up until they are perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower them back down until they touch the floor, and repeat.
Another great ab workout that works both your upper and lower abs.
To do a sit-up, you may find it helpful to tuck your toes underneath a sturdy piece of furniture such as a couch. Lie on your back with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling, and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly roll your head, shoulders, and torso up off the floor until you are fully sitting up. Lower back down in a controlled manner, and repeat.
These seven beginner-friendly exercises should offer you a pretty comprehensive full body workout. If you are just getting started, remember to take it easy and listen to your body. Over time, you will build up strength and ability.