I am a huge fan of lifting weights, but there is power in body weight training.
I tend not to do yoga or pilates as much as I should, but I do strive to incorporate body weight moves into my routine to mix things up.
My favorites even make up an entire routine:
The Push-Up: Sometimes I am great at these and I can reach the ground and come back up again in the typical position several times. Other times, I have to go on my knees. My push-up is a work-in-progress, but whichever way you do it, it’s a great upper body and core exercise.
The Squat: Ah, the essential lower body exercise. Nothing quite makes the legs burn as much as the squat. Whether you’ve got weight in the front, the back, none at all, or include a jump in there, it can be difficult, but it gets results.
The Tricep Dip: There are a few ways to do these, but if you have no equipment or make-shift equipment, you can get this one done. The triceps are a tiny but essential muscle in the back of your arms. With the right technique, you can make it burn.
The Lunge: Personally, lunges are a necessary evil. I don’t know if it’s because I have short legs, but these, no matter how many I do, never get easier. Whether walking or stationary, split or jumping, they can be straight up nasty.
The Superman: A great core and back exercise, the super”woman” can feel easy, but is still effective. I love this move because it works the whole back, which makes you aware of your whole back.
The Plank: No matter how long you can hold this exercise, it works like a charm. Body weight exercises in particular are effective when completed slowly and with a hold. It’s important to have perfect form in this move to avoid hurting the upper body, like shoulders, wrists, and the neck. Start off slow and increase for however long you can hold the pose with proper technique.
The Twist: Start with legs down, keep your neck in a neutral position straight ahead, and twist your torso side-to-side. This move works out the core, the obliques in particular. As you progress, you can lift up your legs, lower your back, and involve some kind of weight, like a medicine ball or kettlebell.
Body weight training can feel like a return to the basics, but there’s a reason why they are the basic, they work! When you’re in a rut or want to start working out, start with these exercises, master the techniques, and increase in reps or weight as you go.