Best Bodyweight Exercises

Best Bodyweight Exercises
Best Bodyweight Exercises

Video: Best Bodyweight Exercises

Video: 8 Best Bodyweight Exercises Ever (HIT EVERY MUSCLE!) 2022, December

If you are interested in sports, then you are undoubtedly fascinated by the most difficult tricks that athletes perform in competitions, for example, at the Olympic Games. Even a layman understands that athletes have tremendous strength, their movements are graceful, and the work of all parts of the body is well-coordinated. In order to gain such a physical shape and an athletic physique, professionals most often use bodyweight exercises, only they alone can significantly improve performance.


Physical strength and aesthetic beauty are not all indicators that professional athletes have. They develop their joints and ligaments, active and passive body flexibility, dynamic and static strength. A program is developed for the development of each of the indicators, this is the work of trainers. Most often, the program provides for the development in several vectors, it also includes exercises with weights, for example, lifting the legs with additional weight is used to develop the strength of the leg muscles. But all the same, the basis of the program is exercises with your own weight.

It is not surprising that ordinary sports enthusiasts who are engaged in fitness or in other areas not to achieve professional records, but solely for health improvement, show interest in these exercises. Amateurs are interested in whether exercises with their own body weight will bring them the same benefit, whether they can be practiced on their own without the intervention of a trainer, whether additional equipment is required. It is possible and necessary to use such exercises, they will be useful for every person. In addition, most of the exercises either do not require any equipment or use available tools such as horizontal bars.

The most effective bodyweight exercises are the front hang and horizon, and you will learn all the information you need to know about them in this article. Further, it is stated what progression will be required in order to master these elements, as well as possible ways to complicate them for those who are determined to work well on themselves and are not afraid of difficulties. The horizon is the bench press, the front hang is the pull, which is the foundation for an effective athletic program. Professional athletes add pull-ups to the front hang and push-ups to the horizon, which contributes to a more intense study of the upper body, lower back and abs.

What determines the effectiveness of basic exercises?

Before proceeding to practical exercises, a beginner athlete must understand the meaning of each of the elements. Sports activities involve mental alertness and high awareness. When uninformed people hear about exercise with their body weight, they think that they are aimed at increasing the body's endurance, but not strength. Without justification, it’s hard to get it into your head that exercising without weight can add muscle strength. This is not surprising, because people first of all imagine themselves such elements as squats and push-ups, they really are not intended for the development of strength, rather for general physical fitness.

It is important to understand that exercises with my own weight work due to the resistance force, it creates a load on the muscles in the process of their work. To achieve progression, resistance must increase gradually, increasing the load, this can be achieved without additional weights. If you do not delve into human physiology, then the body can be represented as a connected system of levers. If you reduce the number of levers involved in the exercise, then the resistance force and load will increase.For example, it is much easier to do leg lifting exercises with bent legs, but it is much harder to do the same with straight legs. In this case, the weight of the body and legs in particular does not change, and the load doubles, since straight legs use less leverage.

If you master the basic exercises and listen to the sensations of your body, you can develop many new, more challenging exercises. Remember: the fewer levers, the higher the load, the more intensive the development of the force indicator. Along the way, other indicators will develop, complicated exercises with their own weight require high flexibility, coordination of movement, and a sense of balance. Even such famous sports heroes as Mark Dacascos and Jackie Chan use this technique; elements of gymnastic training are always present in their training programs.

How strong can you become by doing bodyweight exercises?

Bodyweight progression is used by the US Men's Gymnastics Team, which means that the development of athletes is the result of extremely progressive strength training, the principle of which was described above. Not so long ago, the team was visited by Mas Watanabe, the undisputed leader in the field of gymnastics, holding his status for more than three decades. Watanabe has personally handpicked all the athletes on the US junior and national teams over the past decades. His assessment of the current development of the members of the gymnastics team was very high, he recognized them as the most prepared group that he had seen in all his time in the sports industry. This is undeniable proof that progressions actually work.

With the correct structure of the program based on exercises with your own body weight, you can achieve better results than using additional weights. A specific example is J.J. Gregory, 1993 US Ring Exercise Champion. Before entering the weightlifting section, he was engaged exclusively with his own weight, his starting performance was impressive: with a height of 160 cm and a weight of 61 kg, he could lift 181 kg in deadlift. The coach became curious about the maximum weight a young athlete could handle during pull-ups, and they tested it. We started with a 5kg weight, gradually adding weights after each rep. Since only a simple leather belt was available from the equipment, the test could not be completed, the belt broke at a weight of 34 kg. It should be noted once again that J.J. Gregory had never previously performed exercises with weights, such a potential helped him to develop work with his own weight. At a weight of 34 kg, the athlete felt great, he joked and laughed at the surprise of others. It remains only to guess what weight would become the maximum if it were possible to use full-fledged gymnastic belts and chains.

J.J. Gregory attracted attention not only for his strength, but also for his ideal physique, the same can be said about other athletes from the aforementioned team. They never worked with weights, as bodybuilders and weightlifters do, they were not faced with the goal of achieving an ideal athletic body. The national team members could well take part in bodybuilding competitions and would be very competitive against the background of those who are used to pulling weights. The main task of these athletes is to form a functional body, and its beauty comes as a side effect.

Tests for "carrying capacity" were carried out not only with J. J. Gregory, the results of very young athletes from the junior team, who also trained without weights, are no less interesting. A 13-year-old boy with a weight of 50 kg was able to pull up eight times with a weight of 23 kg, and this is almost half of his weight! Another child, weighing only 27 kg, was able to pull up five times with a weight of 11 kg.After citing these facts, doubts about the effectiveness of exercises with body weight disappear even among skeptics and supporters of other types of sports development.

Why are these programs so effective?

The main reason for efficiency is the correct work of the muscles, their contraction during work. It is known for certain that the more difficult a muscle contraction is given, the greater the benefit. On the other hand, work with body weight is not a sport at the limit of physiological capabilities, but the greatest muscle tension, well-coordinated work of all muscles in the body.

Another component of success is the use of the principles of statics. For example, when the body is in a hanging horizontal position, an increased resistance of its own weight enters the process. This is tantamount to keeping the weight in a static position, that is, overall strength develops, joints and ligaments become stronger. Bodyweight static resistance exercise is the core of the training program for renowned athletes such as John Grimek and Paul Anderson.

How to use power progressions correctly?

The main rule is to follow the sequence, that is, do not dramatically increase the level of load. There is no need to rush in this matter, you must immediately set yourself up for the fact that progress will not come immediately, but very gradually.

In order to see the first results of an increase in strength, it will take at least 6 weeks of training. You may feel progress earlier, but it will be an increase in endurance levels, not muscle strength. And in order to see dramatic changes in your physiology and body appearance, it will take at least six months to a year. The impressive results of young athletes, cited above, are the result of many years of work on themselves.

Gradual development will lead you to the ability to perform complex tricks such as horizontal handstand and horizontal front hang. But you should start gradually, with static exercises, the implementation of dynamic pressing and deadlift exercises will be connected later. Before moving on to the next element, you need to make sure that the previous one has been mastered perfectly.

Static progressions

In fact, all static progressions represent the holding of a certain position for a certain time. The time within one approach is set individually, this should be the maximum period that you can withstand. It is important that the total time for one exercise over several approaches is 60 seconds. Over time, your body will become more enduring, the number of seconds in one approach will increase, respectively, the number of approaches will decrease. As soon as you can hold one position for 60 seconds in one approach, this will mean that you have mastered it, you can move on to the next, more difficult element.

The best frequency for practicing static exercises will be daily workouts, but this indicator should be verified for yourself. You can train 3-4 times a week, the main thing is that you feel normal and have a training spirit. The body of each person is individual, for each recovery will take a different period of time. The best way to find a daily schedule for yourself is to try several and settle on one. It is also important to take into account everyday stress, for example, work. Three workouts per week, spread over different days, can yield different results.

Regarding the optimal period for practicing static exercises during the session, they can be included in any part of the workout. Often they are practiced at the very end of the lesson, but again, everything is individual. If for dynamic exercises it is important to follow a certain sequence, then with static exercises everything is much easier.When you get to the dynamics, new exercises can be entered in the middle of the lesson, and static ones can be left at the end of the program.

At the very beginning of the article, the horizontal and front hang exercises were not in vain mentioned together, they should work out simultaneously and complement each other. They affect different muscle groups, that is, they develop the body evenly, make the impact from the general training program more intense, strengthen the shoulder girdle and work to improve coordination of movements.

The horizon and its complication in progression

If you look at how this exercise is performed by someone else, it may seem very simple. In practice, tearing your legs off the surface and taking the correct body position is very, very difficult. Keep in mind that in any of the variations of the horizon, the hips should always be at shoulder level, and the elbows should be perfectly straight. If the hips move quite a bit from their place, and the elbow is almost straight, then the effectiveness of the exercise will sharply decrease, if you do the exercise, then it is only right.

If the position of the hips and elbows is strictly regulated, then some liberties are permissible in the position of the hands. Each athlete chooses a convenient arrangement of the brushes, place their fingers forward or to the side, make a horizon on the entire palm or on the fingertips, you can even use a push-up support. The correct position will be in which it will be most convenient for you to perform the exercise; it is selected by trial and error.

Variation - frog stance

In this progression, only this exercise will be performed with the elbows bent. To do it, you must first squat down and put your hands on the surface in front of your feet, as close to your feet as possible. If the position is taken correctly, then the knees will be just at the level of the bends of the elbows. Next, you need to bend forward until the body weight is distributed between the two points of support - the hands and knees, the main load will be on the hands, since it is they who stand on the surface. The challenge is to hold this position for 60 seconds.

As you build up your strength and skill, you will be able to lean forward to the point where your feet will lift off the surface, your hands will be your only fulcrum, and your knees will act as balance. In order to perform the frog stance and hold the position for a long time, it is necessary to have not only muscle strength, but also a sense of balance. At the beginning of your workouts, it is best to place something soft in front of you, such as a pillow, to cushion the fall. And you will inevitably fall, since it is difficult for a beginner to distribute his weight, which will overwhelm the body forward.

Closed horizon

The closed horizon exercise is more difficult than the frog stand, since the entire body weight will immediately fall exclusively on the hands. You need to squat down and put your hands on the floor right in front of your toes in the same way, then you need to bend forward so that your body weight goes to your arms and shoulders. Now the knees will not support the elbows, this will make the exercise more difficult. At first, you can press your knees to your chest, so it is much easier to maintain balance.

The goal is the same - to maintain the position for up to 60 seconds in one approach, there is another indicator of success - this is the position of the legs. At first, you will be able to tear your feet off the floor a small distance, then it will increase. Raising the hips to the level at which the shoulders are located is considered the top of skill in performing a closed horizon.

Complicated closed horizon

So, you can perform a closed horizon, hold the position for at least 60 seconds, while the arms do not bend at the elbows, and the hips are raised to the desired level. It's time to complicate this exercise, complication will occur due to a change in the location of the back.A closed horizon allows for a curved back position, making the exercise much easier. A complicated or advanced closed horizon assumes a straight back, this is achieved by moving the hips back. An even back in a closed horizon significantly increases the load and effect of the exercise, although if you look from the side, the changes seem insignificant. It is difficult to assess them visually, but you can feel them practically. You need to maintain a position for 60 seconds in one approach, during which the elbows and back will remain perfectly straight.

Horizon with feet apart

It will take you several months to perfect the previous exercises. Now you have mastered them and you can move on to a more effective exercise - the horizon with legs apart. Subsequent exercises in progression will be even more fun - push-ups in the closed horizon, push-ups in the horizon with legs apart. But first you need to master this element, it is already equated with the skill of working with your own weight.

The starting position is a complicated closed horizon, in which the knees and shoulders are at the same level, and the athlete's back is straight. From this position, you need to start spreading your legs to the sides, it is not easy to keep the position, a developed sense of balance will come in handy. Balance occurs between the legs and the body: the further the legs are pulled back, the more you need to bend forward. At first, the legs need to be spread as wide as possible, so it is easier to maintain balance, then, to complicate things, it will be possible to bring the legs together.

The horizontal with feet apart is a very difficult exercise, you don't need to try to hold it for 60 seconds. Once you can keep the horizon of your legs apart for 10 seconds, you can move on to the next stage of the progression. You can temporarily not go over and work out this exercise, that is, learn how to perform its complicated form. You can increase the load by spending more time in the stance, or by bringing your legs closer and closer. Do not simultaneously complicate an already difficult exercise on two points at once, do not forget about the principle of consistency.

Dynamic progressions

If you have followed this progression and have already reached the horizon with your legs apart, then you are ready for a new stage - connecting to the dynamic exercise program. The first of these will be push-ups from the position of the previously mastered static position.

Push-ups in the position of the difficult closed horizon

You need to take the position of a complicated closed horizon, your legs are bent in it, then try to push up. The correct technique for such push-ups requires that the hips be flush with the shoulders both during the descent and on the rise of the body. This performance implies the greatest stress on the body. When the body is in the top position of the exercise, the elbows should be straight. The number of repetitions and approaches is determined individually, depending on how easy it is for the athlete to give such push-ups.

Push-ups in the horizon position legs apart

This exercise combined the horizon with the legs apart and the push-ups described above. It can be described as a lighter version of the bench press, however, the element hides in itself a number of difficulties. Not only the triceps, pectoral and deltoid muscles will work, the trapezius and latissimus muscles of the back, the lower back and the muscles that extend the back will be connected to them. At this stage, you will noticeably strengthen the elbow joints through the active work of the forearms and triceps. The oblique and serrated muscles, the hip extensors, the lower and upper abdominal muscles will hold the body in a horizontal position. It was mentioned above that bodyweight exercises use a huge amount of muscles, now you will feel it to the fullest.

The starting position is the horizon with legs apart, from which you should proceed to push-ups.When lowering the body, the hips should be in the same horizontal line with the shoulders, not higher or lower, when lifting, the position of the body should be the same, rising up, it will be much more difficult to maintain balance. At the beginning of learning this exercise, the shoulders will stubbornly push forward, this must be constantly monitored. You need to push up from the floor and return to the starting position with your legs wide apart.

Anterior vis and its progression

The preparation itself for the front hang is not easy, it covers basic exercises in statics with the transition to more complex forms of hanging, smoothly leads to the elements performed in dynamics. Horizontal front hang is performed with a grip from above, hands are shoulder-width apart, thumbs are looking to the sides. You cannot bend your elbows, a bent arm simplifies performance, but significantly reduces the intensity of the impact. Correct execution guarantees a serious load and effective development of the muscular system.

We will begin our preparation by studying static lead exercises, gradually moving on to more complex options for the front hang, and then to dynamic exercises. To perform a horizontal hang in front, be sure to use a grip from above shoulder-width apart (fingers to the side), which will allow you to increase the load, and therefore your strength, trained in this exercise. It is also very important to keep your arms straight at the elbows, otherwise the load, and with it the benefits of these exercises, is greatly reduced.

Closed front hanging

The starting position is a hanging position, any crossbar is suitable for this, the knees need to be raised to chest level. Further, the body goes back through the shoulders, and the hips are lifted forward. You need to raise your hips to shoulder level so that they are on the same horizontal, while the ratio between the positions of the arms and body will be an angle of 45 degrees. The goal is to hold the position for 60 seconds, only after that it will be possible to move on. Achieving the goal will not be easy, you can start with the fact that you will raise your hips as high as possible, gradually you will be able to raise your hips higher.

Complicated Closed Front Hang

The next stage will be a sophisticated version of the previous element. By analogy with the horizon, the difference will be in the position of the back. The complicated or slanted version of the closed front hang assumes a straight back, this position increases the load and involves additional muscle fibers in the process. The goal is to keep the hips level with the shoulders with a straight back, and the angle between the arms and the body is still 45 degrees. In this position, the knees will no longer be pressed against the chest; it must be held for at least 60 seconds in one approach.

Front hanging with legs apart

Take the position that you held in the previous step, start gradually straightening your legs and directing them in different directions. There is an analogy with the horizon - the wider the legs are spread, the easier this exercise will be given. The back should remain as straight as possible, and if you cannot straighten it, you should tuck your legs a little, that is, not stretch forward so much.

Closed Front Hanging Pull-ups

In fact, the exercise is a horizontal pull-up, one of the most difficult forms of pull-ups. To perform it, you should take a position, as with a complicated closed front hang, and perform a pull-up up to the crossbar. The number of approaches and repetitions in each of them is determined individually, the main thing is that each pull-up is performed technically correctly: the back remains flat at any of the points of the exercise, and the hips do not leave shoulder level.

Front Hang Pull-ups with legs apart

Physically challenging exercise that involves pulling your own body weight in a horizontal plane. In order to start pull-ups from the front hang with the legs apart, you must perfectly master each of the exercises given in this article. Dangers like the risk of injury when working with your own weight are almost excluded, but without proper preparation, this exercise will not be given to you.

Take the position of the front hang with your legs apart, then pull your upper abdomen towards your arms. At the top point, you should fix the position of the body for a few seconds, and then smoothly return to its original position. Always make sure that your hips are at shoulder level, as the wrong position of the hips affects the position of the legs, and the wrong position of the legs makes the most difficult exercise the most unpretentious pull-up. If performed correctly, each of the back muscles will work, they will be intensively pumped and developed. Also, development will occur for the shoulder girdle, forearms, biceps and core muscles, because they will be responsible for keeping the body at the top of the exercise.


Consistency, persistence, and patience are essential to mastering effective bodyweight exercises. You do not need to make an effort on yourself and train at the limit of strength, it is important to have the correct effect on your physiology. The result is worth the effort - it is the physical strength of the body and its aesthetic beauty. This can only be achieved with patience and taking just a few minutes a day to practice!

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