There is a longstanding misconception that people can’t build muscle without weights. Although weights can expedite the strength gain process, bodyweight exercises are also very effective, improving cardiovascular endurance while also increasing strength. Incorporating bodyweight movements into your weight training program can maximize results. Here are some of the exercises to include:
1. Pushups— The King
Primary muscles worked: pectorals, deltoids (shoulders), triceps, abdominals, serratus anterior
Beginner- Place hands and knees on the ground creating a straight plane from knees to the top of the head. Gently lower body to the ground by bending the arms. Begin with 10-20 repetitions.
Intermediate- Assume a standard plank position with feet shoulder-width apart. Gently lower body to the ground by bending the arms keeping the back as straight as possible. Descend until the chest touches the ground.
Advanced- Clap pushups are a great way to increase normal pushup intensity. The explosive movement is of higher impact and designed to improve power.
2. Pull-ups— The Back Shaper
Primary muscles worked: Lats, biceps
Beginner- For a standard pull-up, be sure to grab the bar with outward-facing palms, hands shoulder-width apart. Use a box to assist your movement, removing the weight born by your lats and biceps.
Intermediate- Perform a standard pull-up making sure your arms are straightened at the bottom of the motion and your chin is above the bar at the top of the motion.
Advanced- If done correctly, muscle-ups are the pinnacle of pull-up mastery.
3. Leg Lifts— The Core Burner
Primary muscles worked: lower abdominals
Beginner- Lay flat on your back, straight as a board. Lift one leg up 6 inches into the air, keeping it completely straight while leaving the other leg on the ground. Hold for 15 seconds. Switch and repeat.
Intermediate- Perform a standard leg lift motion lifting both legs into the air keeping them completely straight. Keep arms flat on the ground to each side.
Advanced- Perform a standard leg lift then begin moving your raised legs in a figure 8 motion.
4. Reverse Lunges— The Leg Builder
Primary muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstrings
Beginner- Stand upright with your back straight. Step backward with one leg, bending at the knee. Lower yourself to the ground until your back knee gently touches the ground making sure the knee of your front leg does not push past the front toe. Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement.
Intermediate- Perform a standard reverse lunch. While at the bottom of the movement, pulse slowly up and down an inch or two making sure to flex the muscles of your legs and abdominals. Continue for 20-30 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
Advanced- Perform a standard reverse lunge. When at the bottom of the movement, jump upwards switching legs at the top. Lower yourself down with the other leg and repeat.
5. Jump Roping— Full-Body Recruiter
Primary muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, shoulders
Beginner- Perform a ‘double jump’ skip sneaking an extra jump in before the rope completes a full rotation.
Intermediate- Perform a single jump per rope rotation.
Advanced- Double-unders or high-knee skips are two great advanced jump rope motions.
Get the Most Out of Your Workouts at Performance One
A solid post-workout routine is almost as important as the workout itself. Keep these insights in mind and you are sure to see better results. At Performance One we provide athlete training and guidance for those who want to reach their fitness benchmarks. Whether a complete beginner or seasoned athlete, our gym has a place for you. For more information on how to become part of the P1 family, contact us at (801) 769-6779 today. We are here to help you.