Lose Fat with Bodyweight Exercises: Use these bodyweight exercises to lose fat while traveling or if you don't have time to go to the gym.
That's right. You do not need to work out at a gym in order to get in a fantastic fat loss workout. My own current workouts, for example, consist of a combo of bodyweight circuit training and cardio. By using this type of bodyweight training, I have been able to achieve and maintain the lowest body fat level that I have had since I was, well....a tween!
Now please don't misunderstand, I whole-heartedly believe in weight training. My message here is that you don't HAVE to train in a gym for fat loss. If your circumstances at this time only allow you to train at home, or if you travel for work often and don't have access to a gym, these types of body weight exercises can help you to achieve your goals just the same.
How to Put Together a Kick-Butt Bodyweight Workout
Choose 5-8 exercises from the following list (5 for beginners and 8 for more conditioned/experienced individuals). Perform 8-12 repetitions for each exercise. Take 30 second breaks between exercises, and 2 minute breaks between each circuit. Complete each circuit 3-5 times (again depending on experience level). Try to vary exercises, so you have a balanced plan, working all areas of the body.
1. Back Pedal
Great warm-up exercise.
- Find a large open area. Sprint forward approximately 20 feet. Stop and run backward (keeping an eye on where you are going over your shoulder). This is one rep.
- Keep a low center of gravity and keep chest up.
2. Alternating Split-Squat Jump
Builds strength, explosiveness, and burns some serious fat!
- Stand with feet 18-24 inches apart, front and back, arms bent, holding them in opposite front/back position as legs. Jump up, and quickly switch leg and arm positions, forward and backward. Land, and absorb the impact by squating down, into a lunge position, with back knee 1 inch from the ground. Your back shin should be parallel to ground. Repeat for other leg. This is one rep.
- Keep chest up, and maintain good posture throughout. Swing your arms to help you gain height in your jump. Your front knee should not extend past your toes.
3. Box Shuffle
Used for speed, agility, and conditioning.
- Find an open area of approximately 15 square feet. Facing forward, sprint to the corner of the square. Shuffle sideways, to next corner, then back pedal to the next corner, and shuffle to next corner. This is one rep.
- Keep center of gravity low.
4. Forward Alternating Lunge
Excellent for sculpting the lower body.
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward 16-20 inches into lunge position and bend until back knee is 1" from the ground. Push back up to starting position, keeping torso straight throughout. Hands can be placed on your hips or you can simulate a shoulder press, thrusting your arms over your head, extending them up each time you return to standing position. Repeat for other leg. This is one rep.
- Keep good posture, and make sure front knee does not extend beyond toes.
5. Jump Burpees
Strengthens the entire body, great for sculpting legs, and excellent fat burning/conditioning exercise.
- Stand with feet at hip width, drop down with hands placed flat on floor, kick feet back, and perform a push up, pull feet back in, and jump up in the air, with arms thrust over head. This is one rep. As you land, absorb and drop straight down into another rep.
- Make sure your back is straight during push up and knees are bent when absorbing jump.
6. Jumping Jacks
-Start with feet side by side and arms at sides. Jump up, swinging arms up, extended over head, and landing with feet shoulder width apart. Immediately jump again, returning to starting position. This is one rep.
- Keep your chest up and maintain good posture throughout.
7. Lateral Alternating Lunge Touchdown and Thrust
Strengthens the legs, torso, hips, arms, and shoulders.
- Stand with your feet at shoulder width, arms down at side. Step with one foot out to side, about 16-20 inches and lower to ground. Touch hands on ground in front of you. Return to standing position, thrusting arms up over your head. Repeat for other leg. This is one rep.
- Allow torso to hunch forward, when touching the ground in front of you. Keep core muscles tight throughout exercise to protect the spine.
8. Push Ups
Strengthens chest, core, and tricep muscles.
- Balancing on your toes, supported by your arms/hands in a push up position, lower your body down as close as you can to the floor by bending at your elbows. Do not let your body touch the ground. Raise back up to starting position. This is one rep.
- Keep your head, neck, torso, hipps, and legs in a straight line, and be sure to keep core muscles tight so your hips do not droop down or pop up too high. You may perform this exercise on your knees rather than toes, if necessary. Strive to eventually perform it on your toes though.
9. Single Leg Squat
-Balance on one leg, with one leg bent, holding your foot up behind your butt. (Alternate option: cross bent leg over knee on supporting leg, with ankle directly above your knee on the supporting leg.) Place hands on hips. Squat down as low as you can, maintaining balance throughout. Return to starting position. This is one rep. Perform all reps for one leg, then move on to other leg.
- Choose a point at eye level in front of you to focus on. Hold core muscles tight, shoulders back, and head up. This helps you to maintain balance. Do not let your knee on the supporting leg extend beyond your toes.
The advanced form of the one legged squat, arguably the most demanding and beneficial exercise in existance. Pistols will help you to build strength, stability, endurance, flexibility, and coordination.
- Stand on one leg, with the other leg extended in front of you, parallel to the floor. Arms extended out on either side or out in front of you, whichever is most comfortable. Lower your body to the floor, so your butt touches the back of your calf (other foot still stretched out in front, parallel to floor). Your bottom foot is still flat on the floor. Now raise yourself back up into the starting position. This is one rep.
- Yes, this exercise is HARD, and takes time to master. For beginners, a doorframe, pole, or thin tree can be used for support. Stand facing the doorframe, parallel leg stretched out to one side of the doorframe. Grab ahold of frame with both hands, and lower your body to the floor, using the frame for balance. As you progress you should be able to ween yourself from using the support, and eventually complete exercise with arms outstretched. Another beginner version would be to perform the squat with a bench behind you. Bend until your butt touches the bench, and then raise back up. Use this exercise to push yourself!
Strengthens core muscles.
- Balance on toes and forearms, with torso 6-8 inches from floor. Keep your head, neck, torso, hips, and legs in a straight line. Hold for 30-90 seconds, depending on experience level. Do not perform reps with this exercise, just hold for alloted time period.
- Be sure to keep core muscles tight so your hips do not droop down or pop up too high.
12. Straight Leg Sit Up
-Begin lying flat on your back, legs extended out straight, hands behind your head. Slowly sit up, using core muscles. Return to starting position. This is one rep.
- Focus on using core muscles, do not strain neck or pull on head in order to sit up. If necessary, you can tuck your toes under a heavy piece of furniture (couch) until you gain enough strength to perform the exercise without help.
- Using a bench, the arm of a couch, a sturdy chair, or some type of heavy furniture, place hands on furniture behind you. Feet can either be placed on the ground in front of you (knees bent at 90 degrees) or for added difficulty, placed on raised surface in front of you. Lower your body so that biceps are parallel to floor. Raise back up to starting position. This is one rep.
- keep your back close to the bench/piece of furniture throughout exercise.