This isn’t a list of every bodyweight exercise on the planet, but it’ll give you a good idea about the variety available.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly away from each other. Send your hips down, and then back until your hip crease goes below your knees. Engage the glutes to stand up. During the squat, your knees should track out over your toes, but should not pass the toes. While squatting, try to keep the weight in the mid-foot. If squatting below parallel is difficult for you to achieve, you should regularly practice performing squats against a wall.
ALTERNATING LUNGE STEPS
Lunge forward, then back. Switch legs each step. Always stay in the same place.
Begin on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and the knees right under the hips. Lift your knees to about 6 inches off the ground, step forward with the left foot, then the right hand; the right foot, and then the left hand. Stay in this position for the prescribed time or distance. Keep your hips low and your weight evenly distributed between your feet and hands.
BENCH STEP UPS WITH KNEE RAISE
Stand facing a box or bench of appropriate height with the feet together. Step one leg up onto the box and fully extend that hip. As you stand up, flex at the other hip, drawing the knee up as high as you can. Reverse this movement to step down. Perform this movement holding a dumbbell if possible.
Lay on your back with your hands behind your head. Bring your knees up to your chest and extend one leg straight out. Keep your lower back flat on the ground. Quickly bring your right elbow to your left knee, and then alternate sides as quickly as you can.
BOTTOM TO BOTTOM SQUATS
This is performed like an air squat, except that the resting part of this movement is completed at the bottom of the squat position.
From a standing position, swing your arms back. And then sweep the arms forwards, bringing both knees up and landing with your full foot on a high step, bench, or other stable surface you can jump on. Stand up fully, and extend your hips at the top. Jump back down.
Lie down on your back with your feet between hip and shoulder-distance apart. Keep your knees bent at about 45 degrees. Take a deep breath, drive your heels into the ground, squeeze your glutes, and then send your hips towards the sky while trying to make your body into a straight line through the shoulders, hips, and knees. Keep your glutes tight, and continue to push your hips higher as your flexibility increases.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Fold at the waist and place your hands just in front of and outside of your feet. Jump or step with both feet back to the Elbow Plank position, perform a push-up, and then jump both feet up close to the hands as you send your hips straight up. Then stand up. If the push-ups are too difficult, you can take it out until you develop more strength.
BURPEE BOX JUMPS
Perform a burpee, but instead of jumping up and clapping above your head at the end, jump up or step up onto an appropriate size box or bench.
BURPEE LONG JUMPS
Perform a burpee, but instead of jumping up and clapping above your head at the end, stand with both feet hip distance apart. Sweep your arms back, and jump as far as you can with one leap. Perform another burpee when you land.
BURPEE LUNGE STEPS
Perform a burpee, but instead of jumping up and clapping above your head at the end, perform a lunge step with each leg.
Leaning forward, run as quickly as you can, while bringing your heels as close to your buttocks as possible.
Lay on your back with your upper and lower back pressed into the floor or mat. Extend your legs and arms and lower them as close to the ground as you can while maintaining a flat back. Raise one arm and the opposing leg slowly, and then return them to their starting position as you raise the other arm and leg.
Perform a push-up as usual, but keep your feet elevated off the ground. The higher you can lift your feet, the more difficult the movement will be. As with all push-ups, keep the abs, glutes and quads engaged to be sure you use your core.
Perform a push-up with your hands elevated on two stable surfaces, which allows for a deeper range of motion. You can use yoga blocks, two even-sized kettlebells, or two same sized dumbbells. To make this movement more difficult, elevate your feet on a stable surface.
These are killer. Perform a push-up as usual, but with your hands positioned under the sternum. Keep your index fingers and thumbs touching, in the shape of a diamond. Touch your chest to your hands with every repetition. Make sure your body is perfectly flat.
Use two stable chairs or parallel bars. Lower yourself until your shoulders dip below your elbows and your arms are at 90-degrees.
You may also sit on the floor with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and your buttocks lifted off the ground. Lower your body down until your butt touches the ground, and then press back up.
If you use a regular gym that has a dip machine, set the machine to the appropriate height. Beginning with both arms locked out and your shoulders back, lower your body down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle or less, then press back up. Try to keep your feet pointed at the ground.
Variations of this exercise include Bench Dips, Triceps Dips, and Elevated Dips.
Begin by lying face down with your elbows directly under or slightly in front of your shoulders. Lift your hips so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are in a straight line. Tighten your quads and glutes. The plank may also be performed on your hands.
Lay on your back with your hands placed under your lower back to support it. Keep your feet about 6 inches off the ground. Repeatedly alternate your feet like you have a pair of scuba flippers on.
HAND RELEASE PUSH-UPS
Perform a push-up as usual, but at the bottom of the push-up, when your chest touches the ground, lift both hands off the ground. Do not worm at all on the way up; keep the movement completely strict, using your arms and core to lift your body off the ground.
This is a great workout for your delts. Place your hands firmly on the floor, about shoulder-width apart, with your fingertips spread apart. Walk your feet towards your hands until you are in a triangular position. Stretch one leg up towards the ceiling behind you and try to kick off with the other, only going as far as you are comfortable in this position. If you feel okay with kicking your feet over your head, continue to kick up until you are in a full handstand position with your back to the wall. Try to maintain the same body position as when you are in the Elbow Plank, with the tailbone tucked and the abs and glutes engaged. Performing a proper handstand is a combination of both balance and strength.
There are many variations of handstand push-ups. A basic way to get started is to place a very firm mat or cushion under where your head will touch to protect your head and neck. This movement should only be done with complete control and consideration for your safety. If done incorrectly, this movement can cause severe neck injury. Begin in the handstand position; lower your head towards the mat so that it comes into contact as the top of a three-point triangle with your hands. Touch the top of your head to the mat, and then push back up with your arms. You can begin practicing this movement by lowering yourself as far as you can with control then pushing back up. Gradually, your strength will increase and you will be able to achieve a full handstand push-up.
Hold your hands at waist height or higher. Taking short, quick steps, pump your knee to your hand and then quickly repeat on the other side. The focus of high knees should be on taking a lot of very quick steps in a short distance, not on taking a few steps over a long distance.
Lay on your back with your hands extended behind your head. With your arms fully extended behind you, grab an anchor, like a heavy kettlebell or a piece of furniture that will not move. Lift your legs straight up in the air, pressing your upper and lower back flat on the ground, and slowly lower your feet, maintaining the position of your back. Keep your legs as low as possible and your upper and lower back flat to the ground. Start to press the hands into the anchor as though you were trying to lift it straight up to the ceiling, but do not move it. This will engage your arms, lats, and upper abs, making the movement more difficult.
From the bottom of the lunge position, jump with both legs and land in the lunge position with the opposite leg forward. At the top of this movement, both legs should be straight, causing you to jump higher, instead of keeping your legs bent and not jumping very high (which will be easier, but not very effective).
Stand with feet shoulder distance apart with the toes pointed slightly out. Pull the hips down and back until the hip crease is below the knee. Launch yourself into the air, fully opening your hips at the top of the movement. Land with feet shoulder distance apart, resetting the feet if needed, and repeat. Be sure to keep the knees tracking out over the toes. If you ever have knee pain during this movement, switch to regular air squats.
With your feet hip-width apart, swing your way back, and then sweep them forward as you jump as far as you can while landing with your feet out in front of you.
Place two stable, non-slip chairs facing together. Place your hands on the chairs, with your hands under your shoulders, and in line with your hips. Begin by lifting the knees up and feet off the ground, then attempt to straighten the legs. Try to keep your hips in line or slightly behind your arms. If you cannot get your legs straight, keep trying! Just keep the knees as high as possible and keep trying to straighten the legs. As you get stronger, this will improve.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with one foot and plant the front foot firmly on the ground. Lower your body, touching your back knee to the ground (if you are able). Keep your front knee over the ankle at all times. Press your body off the ground with the front foot and bring both feet together. Repeat on both sides for one repetition. If you want to do this with weights, you can hold one in front of your chest, or two in either hand.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS & ALTERNATING CLIMBERS
Begin in the Tall Plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, with the shoulders, hips, and ankles all in a straight line. Bring your left knee to the outside of your left elbow if your flexibility allows for it (if not, bring it as close to the elbow as possible). Then, launch both legs in the air to switch positions, landing with your right knee outside your right elbow.
Increase or decrease the intensity of this movement by performing the movement quickly or slowly. For an additional challenge, you can try Grasshoppers, which are performed similarly to the Mountain Climber, but instead of touching your knee to the elbow on the same side you bring the knee under the belly and touch it to the opposite elbow.
While in the bridge position, lift one foot off the ground and point it straight up to the ceiling. Keep the opposite foot flat on the ground. Alternate sides each interval.
Perform push-ups as normal, but with only one leg on the ground. This will target the core and abdominals more than a traditional push-up.
From an Elbow Plank position, place one hand flat on the ground, then the other hand flat on the ground, and fully extend both arms. Lower yourself back to Elbow Plank position in the same way you got up.
Assume the top of a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line. If this is already difficult, you may stop here. To proceed: maintaining your body in this position, take small steps with your hands in front of your body. Get as low as you can by walking your hands straight out in front of you while maintaining a neutral back position. You should not have any lower back pain. If you do, it means that you lowered your hips and are not maintaining a neutral spine.
Skip the same way you did as a kid, but with each stride bring your knee as high into the air as you can, utilizing a pumping motion with the opposite arm to propel your body as vertically as you can.
Begin with your hands directly under your shoulders, fingertips pointed away from each other. The shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be in a straight line. As you initiate the descent, the elbows should travel backwards, with the upper arms staying as close to the body as possible.
Maintain full core tension for the entire time you are descending. Your body should travel downwards until your arms are at 90-degree angles, or until your chest touches the ground. If at any time you lose core tension and are unable to maintain the straight line through the shoulder, hip, and ankle line, you have gone too deep into the movement.
Perform a push-up as usual, but outside your hands should be two large books or blocks, or raised platforms that are totally stable. Note that the higher the height of the blocks, the more difficult the movement. When performing the push-up, explode from the bottom of the push-up and land with both hands on top of the raised platforms, instead of on the ground. This should be an explosive jumping movement with your hands, not a step. Walk or jump your hands back down to the ground, and repeat.
Lunge one leg back behind your body, and then step forward. These are much more stable than forward lunges, as your center of gravity does not change (as it does with other lunge steps). You may hold a weight for an additional challenge.
Laying flat on your back, bring your knees up so your thighs are at 90 degrees to your torso, and fully extend your legs over your hips. Raise your hips off the ground as if you are trying to touch the ceiling above you with your toes. Lower your hips back to the ground with control.
Begin in the Elbow Plank position but lift your left arm off the ground, until your torso and hips are at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Extend your left arm towards the ceiling. If this is difficult, you can take your left leg and place it either in front of or behind the other leg.
Begin on your hands and knees and lift your knees about 6 inches off the ground. Keeping the hips low, step forward at the same time with one hand and the opposite leg, and do a push-up getting your chest as low to the ground as possible. Push back up, and then step forward with the other hand and opposite foot. Continue to walk forward in this fashion.
Begin in either the Elbow Plank or the Tall Plank position. With a neutral spine (no arch in the low back, keeping the tailbone tucked) bring your knee to your elbow or the upper arm, and push the knee into the arm as hard as you can before returning the leg behind the body. Repeat on the other side. If you cannot reach your knee to your elbow, get it as close as you can.
This exercise can be performed with a weight, but try it without a dumbbell first to test your strength and ability during this movement. Stand with your feet together, and then jump one leg forward and one leg back, flexing at the knees and lowering your hips. Do not allow your knee to crash into the ground (although it may gently touch the ground if you can control the movement). Immediately reverse the movement, switching the position of your legs. You may return to standing in between. To make the movement more difficult, your legs should be straight at the top of the switch, without touching the ground.
Stand with your feet together, and your hands behind your head. Send your hips back as you jump your feet out to about shoulder-width apart, and then jump your feet back together and stand up completely.
Begin in a standing position. Bend at the waist and place both hands on the ground, directly under your shoulders. Kick both legs back, so that your body is in a straight line going from the shoulder, through the hips and ankles. Jump or walk your feet back up outside your hands and stand up completely.
From a standing position, flex at the hip, bringing one foot up on the box or bench. Stand up, fully extending the hips at the top. Step back down and repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your stomach with your arms fully extended in front of you, while simultaneously raising your upper torso and your thighs off the ground. Keep your shoulders pulled down and back while fully engaging your glutes. If you cannot raise the shoulders and the thighs at the same time, first raise the shoulders, and then raise the thighs. Eventually you will develop the strength and flexibility to raise both simultaneously.
From an Elbow Plank position, reach out in front of you fully extending your arm to touch a target at least forearms distance away from you.
Begin with your feet hip-width apart, holding your hands in front of you at about waist height. Bend at the knees and dip down slightly, driving your feet off the ground and up towards your hands. Try to touch your knees to your hands. Re-extend your legs and land on the balls of your feet. Make certain to absorb the shock of the landing by bending your knees. Try to keep your weight in the balls of your feet; do not slam your heels into the ground.
The Tuck Jump is meant to serve as a substitution for jumping rope. You may jump rope in any place where this book calls for Tuck Jumps.
Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs extended. Keeping your buttocks on the ground, touch your fingers to your toes by folding your body in half at the waist. If this is too difficult, begin by touching your knees, then ankles, and toes when it becomes easier.
Take continuous forward lunge steps, alternating sides each step. You can use a dumbbell as your strength increases.
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