Do you wish to be an athlete? If so, train like one. I currently do. As soon as I envisioned to have an athletic build, I’ve been doing bodyweight workouts. I couldn’t overemphasize how the best bodyweight exercises can help you have that needed intensive training. In this post, I’m going to showcase what I believe are the very best bodyweight training methods to involve myself in. You should definitely check them out and apply them for yourself.
Can’t wait to tone that body up? Combine strength training and conditioning with these 8 best bodyweight exercises for men.
1. Pull-Ups and Variants
Bodyweight training doesn’t require additional weights, so you won’t need to bring those dumbbells all the time just to build some muscles. That doesn’t mean you’re going to dismiss any equipment, especially for this first featured exercise. Pull-ups need at least a decent pull-up bar, but that’s all. And why do you think pull-ups are among the best?
Well, they’re great for your back, that’s why. Now refer to the demo images above to see how to perform the exercise. To start, simply grab the bar with your arms widely set apart. “Pull” your body “up” the bar as in the second image. Lower yourself and prepare for a second pull up.
A More Intense Variant: The Commando Pull-Up
Now it turns out that you can add complexity to any basic bodyweight exercise. That way, you’re working on two or more muscle groups at the same time. Take a look at images 1c and 1d. They’re an illustration of an effective pull-up variant: the commando pull-up.
Basically, you’re just positioning your arms as if you’re a soldier on a haunt for some enemy and you got to cling to a horizontal bar. You then pull yourself up, aiming your head to one side of the bar. You lower down, and then pull your entire body up again, aiming your head to the other side of the bar.
The commando pull-up is an excellent variant of the regular pull-up for a number of reasons:
- It offers a more intense back exercise.
- The exercise works on your forearms.
- It builds your biceps.
- The over-under grip engages your core as you call for stability.
All these benefits explain why pull-ups (including their variants) are among the best bodyweight exercises for men.
2. Chin-Up Knee-Up
So, I guess you know what a chin-up is, except if you confuse it with pull-ups. The basic difference between the two is that with chin-ups, your palms face you. With pull-ups, your palms are facing away from you.
But this second on a list of the best bodyweight exercises for men is no ordinary chin-up. It’s a chin-up knee-up.
To perform it, just do a regular chin-up first (Image 2b). With palms facing you, grab the horizontal bar (Image 2a) and pull up (2b) so that your chin passes over the bar. Now here comes the modification for more intensity. Before lowering your body back to position 2a, pull your knees up and bend them toward your chin (see Image 2c).
The regular chin-up alone already works effectively on the biceps. The added knee-up involves the abs, too, so the combination makes a powerful bodyweight exercise.
3. Slick Floor Bridge Curl
This and the rest of the best bodyweight exercises on the list will ditch all equipment. Well, the slick floor bridge curl will only require a little more:
- a pair of socks worn on your feet
- a slick floor (made of tiles or shiny wood)
Start by lying on your back on the slick floor. Extend your arms sideways. Then, slide your sock-wearing feet toward your butt while raising your butt and back up with bent knees (Image 3b). Slide your feet out (forward) as in Image 3c. Just keep on sliding them back and forth and you’re essentially doing hamstring curls.
The excellent thing about this exercise is that it engages both your glutes and hamstrings and challenges them to work well together.
4. Levitation Squat
Did you ever make an attempt at a pistol squat? If you found it hard, you can do a levitation squat instead. The squat works out the front side of the leg.
As you can see from the screenshots above, the starting position is a half-kneeling one. Let’s say you’re working on your right leg balance first. To do that, kneel on your left, and then slowly transfer your body weight to your right leg as you go up. Bend your upper body forward as you do, with your arms positioned as in Image 4a for an excellent balance.
Move back down to the starting (half-kneeling) position and move up again. Focus on one leg first with your reps. Then, work on the other leg by simply switching sides.
The levitation squat belongs to this list of the best bodyweight exercises because they work on your legs, knees, and thighs so well. Plus, it develops your balance!
5. Divebomber Push-Up
Do you want a push-up that has multiple hits? The dive-bomber push-up should be the answer. It works on the following upper body parts:
Take a look at the starting position in Image 5a. You’re basically starting from above (unlike the regular push-up in which you start just a little off from the ground). Your next step is to “dive” into the regular push-up starting position, which is what you see in Image 5b. Then, move your body forward and upward as in Image 5c. For reps, you simply move forward and backward as if you’re diving and then reversing the motion.
In a sequence, you’re doing 5a-5b-5c-5b-5a, and that’s a full round.
The descent part works great on your shoulders. At the bottom of the rep (5b), you’re working heavily on your chest. As you move up, you’re contracting your triceps. That’s how this modified push-up hits all three regions.
Now, if you want to focus more on one region, you can stay there a bit. Let’s say you wish to focus on your triceps. To do that, simply do half a rep more instead of directly coming back to position 5a. In other words, you pause at the bottom (5b), push back up to do another 5c, then back to 5b towards 5a. For a shortcut, that’s 5a-5b-5c-5b-5c-5b-5a.
You can also do similarly for your shoulders. Just do a 5a-5b-5a-5b-5c-5b-5a.
6. Mule Kick
If you want to do more for your shoulders, this sixth on the list is what you need. The mule kick is incredibly demanding as you got to support your entire body weight while you’re kicking the air like a mule.
Start with position 6a as if you’re a mule. With your hands and toes on the floor, bend your knees but don’t touch them on the ground. Push your body up as in 6b and stretch your legs toward the ceiling, as if kicking it (6c). Get back down to the starting “resting mule” position and get ready for another kick.
To serve the purpose of conditioning, do this exercise for a minute straight. Your heart will pump out loud as you do this bodyweight version of an explosive shoulder press.
7. Kick-through Burpee
Ever found burpees boring? Then, take your burpees to the next level. Add rotations to this common conditioning exercise and you’ll get your lungs burning within a few reps.
To be specific, this 7th entry on the list of the greatest body weight exercises is a side kick-through burpee. You’re doing it alternately on your left and right sides.
To begin, start with a somewhat push-up position, but do not lower yourself close to the ground just yet. Instead, turn to one side (can be to your right as in Image 7b) by rotating your body. Rest your weight on your left arm and left leg. Rotate to the other side and let your right arm and right leg carry your body weight.
Then, proceed to a push-up (7c) before standing up on both feet toward a jump (7d) as in a regular burpee.
8. Front Lever
For the last exercise on this list, you’re going to make use of the pull-up bar again. The front lever can be your most rewarding upper body bodyweight exercise ever. It works on both your upper back and core.
Just grab the horizontal bar as you would in a pull-up (8a). Then lift your body up, maintaining it as straight as possible. Make it a goal to position your whole body (except your arms) parallel to the floor. This is what you see in Image 8b.
As you would notice, you’re really strengthening your upper back and core as you fight against gravity in this exercise. The whole thing just commands respect because it is pretty hard to do! You may have to use an assisted band to try this out the first few times. Make it a goal to develop your strength and progress to the actual exercise. Believe me, it can be your most rewarding body weight exercise!
Give These Best Bodyweight Exercises A Try
So, there you have the 8 best bodyweight exercises to challenge yourself in the next couple of weeks or months. If you find some of them too hard to perform, don’t hesitate on regressing a bit. If you’ve been used to some of them and it starts to get boring, add more modifications or recombine exercises.
As you progress, keep this principle in mind: just hit every muscle! You’ll soon get that six-pack.