A man uses a benchpress to do backwards push ups at the gym

Bodyweight workouts are a bit of a neglected weapon when it comes to getting fit. They’re great for a whole host of reasons, and even more so if you need to fit in a strength workout when you can’t get to the gym.

They’re a challenging exercise for almost everyone and not only can they enhance your daily movement patterns but they’re also a great way to perfect form for important weighted movements such as squats and lunges. Here are a few tips that will help you incorporate them into your routine.

Try plyometrics

Lunges and push-ups are classic parts of a bodyweight workout and these can easily be turned into plyometric movements as well. To make them plyometric, you need to add a bounce into the movement. So, taking push-ups as an example, when you push yourself up you can also jump your bodyweight off the floor and land on your hands again, ready to do another push-up. Adding explosive movements can be quite hard but they’ll also make for a great workout as it helps you add some cardio into your routine.

Change the tempo

Sometimes we get sucked into the habit of finishing reps as quickly as we can, although there are benefits to be had from doing things slowly, because it can increase the time a muscle is under tension. For example, you could do a press-up slowly and then hold it at the bottom before returning to starting position. This could make your workout even more challenging.

Engage the core

This is a common phrase when it comes to fitness, but it’s not to be confused with simply sucking in your stomach. A better way to think of it may be to squeeze the belly button until the whole mid-section is tight. A classic exercise for this would be the plank.

Add progression to your workout

Much like a gym session with dumbbells, you can increase and decrease the difficulty of your bodyweight workout. An example of this might be to try a squat on a single leg, or a push-up with one hand. Similarly, you can make push-ups easier by doing them from your knees rather than your feet. This means you can change the emphasis of your bodyweight workout from strength training to endurance.


Bodyweight Boosting FAQs

How can I increase my bodyweight exercise intensity?

The best way to increase bodyweight exercise intensity is shortening rest periods between sets. For example, if you take a minute break, reduce it to 30 seconds.

How do I build my bodyweight routine?

If you’ve already got a bodyweight routine and want to build on it, it’s important to remember that you are working with your own bodyweight. Adding accessories such as a weight vest, hanging weights on you, or putting a dumbbell between your legs, will increase the weight you are working with.