Workout Programs Using Only Your Body Weight

Workout Programs Using Only Your Body Weight
It's easy to design a workout program using nothing but the weight of your own body. Body weight workouts are a great way to keep your routine on track while traveling or camping. Tufts University's GrowingStronger website reports that the benefits of strength training include some relief of arthritis, back pain and depression. Strength training also promotes weight loss, bone strength and better balance. All you need is a wide open space, such as a basement, living room or other open area.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Open area
  • Towel or yoga mat
  • Belt, towel or strap
  • Sturdy chair, bench or low table seat
Step 1
Do three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. Each week, increase the number of repetitions by two to five, depending on strength. To increase the intensity of body weight workouts, incorporate five to ten minutes of cardio, such as jumping jacks or running in place, in between sets or exercises. Do a body strength workout every other day, or three times per week.
Step 2
Start with a few basic stretches. Be sure to do each stretch two or three times, holding each extension for at least 20 seconds.

Stand with your legs together and try to touch your toes (or go as far as possible) while keeping your legs straight. Bend your knees as little as possible.

Spread your legs wide apart and reach to one side, and then the other.

Sit on a towel or yoga mat with your legs in front of you. Extend a belt, towel or strap around your feet. Grab an end of the towel in each hand and pull your upper body toward your knees. Go as far as you comfortably can, but don't overstretch.

Other stretches you can do include back twists and arm stretches.
Step 3
Lie with your stomach on the floor to do push-ups. Your toes should support your feet upright. Place your hands palms-down under your shoulders. Push up with your arms, straightening your elbows, keeping your legs and back straight, staring straight ahead. Lower yourself as far as you can while still keeping your body straight, almost parallel to the floor.

Beginners or others with less upper body strength can do a half push-up, keeping your knees on the floor instead of your toes. Keep your back straight, parallel to the floor, at the starting position. This exercise works the shoulders, triceps and ab muscles.
Step 4
Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip distance apart to do squats. Lower your upper body down from your hips, using your legs and buttocks, and keeping your back straight. Lower yourself until your knees are bent just over the toes, and then rise back up to the standing position.

Make sure your knees do not go farther forward than your toes extend. Going down once counts as one repetition. This exercise works the buttocks, quadriceps and thighs.
Step 5
Choose a sturdy chair, bench or low table seat (such as a picnic table bench) to do chair dips. Stand with your back to the seat. Place your hands on the edge of the chair, with your fingers forward and your palms down. Bend at your elbows, keeping your arms close to your sides. Lower yourself as far as you can. Be sure to use only your arms for support, not your legs. You can either keep your legs straight out in front of you (more advanced) or keep your feet flat on the floor, bending at the knees as you go down. Going down once counts as one repetition. This exercise works the triceps.
Step 6
Lie on the floor or mat to do crunches. Keep your feet on the ground and your knees bent and pointed towards the ceiling. Cross your arms on your chest or behind your head. Only using your abdominal muscles, lift your upper body up and curl towards your legs. Don't lift with your arms, or you could strain your neck. Don't let your back rise completely off the ground, as it would with a sit-up. It should rise about halfway, to the middle of the spine. Going up once counts as one repetition. This exercise works the abdominal muscles.

Tips & Warnings

Vary your routine by including other body weight strength exercises such as sit-ups, planks, pull-ups, bicycles, wall sits, reverse crunches, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and walking lunges.

Article Written By Kelsey Childress

Kelsey Childress runs a freelance creative business called Awen Creative that specializes in SEO Web content, social media marketing and blogging. She has been writing for online and in-print publications for over six years, and has a bachelor's degree in English literature and creative writing from Kansas State University.

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