Body weight exercises get a lot of hate in the world of humans who prefer weight lifting. But the panorama proved how valuable body weight exercise can be. So, let’s set some things straight.
Body weight does not mean NO WEIGHT. A pull up is a body weight exercise and most people (women in particular) struggle to successfully perform this movement. Same goes for a proper push up. The ways we position and leverage our weight is how one can make body weight exercises more challenging.
This becomes very apparent when you look at sports like gymnastics. They build incredibly strong bodies via majority body weight work.
From a practicality standpoint, for most people, body weight isn’t going to cut it long term. To build muscle and strength we need something to happen known as progressive overload. Adding load is one of the easiest ways to do this. Less work or volume is required to provide a challenging stimulus to the muscles.
The videos below provide demos of some of my fav BW exercises. Below you’ll find a brief breakdown of WHY these are my choices.
▪️A frame push up – The incline bench press meets handstand push-ups. Shoulder bias and way hard that it looks 🤣
▪️Inverted row – Horizontal pull – can be done under a dining table as well. Use different grips to change stimulus slightly.
▪️Bear crawl – FuNcTiOnAl CoRe – forward and backward for coordination. Keep neutral spine and minimal excess movement.
▪️Push up – Can be done from knees or elevated hands as well. Horizontal pressing. Keep elbows at 45’s, tight glutes.
▪️Step up – Single leg squatting – did ya know? Done laterally here. With no weight, focus on eccentric (lowering) portion with control.
▪️Single leg hip thrust – Single leg hinging – if you’ve never thought of the trust as a hinge, now you know.
▪️Pistol squat – Heel elevated for more quad bias (seen here). True single leg loading + larger range of motion = higher load. Important when doing body weight. BONUS: supine hamstring slides. Not videoed – but basically a hamstring curl with feet on towels on hardwood or sliders on carpet. Hips stay extended, feet slide out and back to 90 in a “hamstring curl” fashion.
I know plenty of humans are still on that at home body weight work. There will always be a need and purpose for BW exercise. I know a lot of people, like myself will prefer weights no matter the situation, but that doesn’t mean body weight holds no value. Not at all.
What are your favorite BW exercises? GO!
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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