Bodyweight Strength Training

Your own amazing body is the best strength training piece of equipment you will ever own. But before you get started, run in place, do some jumping jacks or hit the stairs for 5 minutes to get warmed up.

The simple bodyweight exercises below allow you to target multiple muscle groups at one time. This puts your whole body to work improving lean muscle mass, which in turn cranks up your metabolism and burns fat.

The Basic Crunch

Used primarily to strengthen your abs, crunches also help elevate your heart rate. Done correctly, your obliques and rectus abdominis also benefit. Lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent, leave at least one foot of distance between your heels and your rear end.

With your elbows to the side, interlace your hands behind your head and keep your neck straight. Simply move your chest and shoulders up, trying not to yank with your head and shoulders.

Hold at the top, slowly return to your starting position and repeat. Crunches are a core-strengthening form of exercise that improves overall athletic performance, and can even help correct bad balance and posture.

The Bird Dog

This simple exercise uses your own body weight for strength training by working your back, hip muscles, glutes and abdominals. With your hands directly aligned under your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor, assume a position on your hands and knees.

Keep your back straight and your knees in line with your hips. Simultaneously reach out with your right forearm and left leg until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for a moment, return to the starting position, then switch sides.

The Classic Push-Up

Push-up diagramStrengthening your chest, shoulders triceps and even your core, the traditional push-up has been around seemingly forever because it works so well. Place your hands palm down on a mat or rug, slightly wider than your shoulders and aligned with your chest.

Your legs should be close together and straight behind you, then simply push up slowly. Slowly return to the starting position and begin again. Keeping your back stiff is very important, as this helps prevent lower back pain.

The Squat

This exercise uses your body weight to strengthen your quads, lower back and glutes. You simply stand with your feet a little wider than your hips with your hands at your sides. Looking straight forward bend your knees slowly and squat down.

Your weight should shift to the back of your heels, and remember to keep your spine stiff and straight and your abs contracted. Return to the starting position slowly, and repeat. Try to keep your weight on your heels to prevent pain in your knees, and to target the appropriate muscles correctly.

Don’t have a gym membership? That’s okay, because you can learn how to use your own body weight for strength training.