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8 Best Body Weight Exercises

Updated on December 15, 2011

You don’t need dumbbells, machines or barbells to get a good strength-training workout in. Using your own body weight for an exercise session can be a great way to build muscle, burn fat, and save time. The best moves are ones that target multiple muscles. Combine these eight exercises in your next exercise session to get the results that you want.

Inverted Flyers

Inverted flyers target your legs, abs and butt and is a balancing exercise. Begin in a standing position with feet hip-width apart. Plant the right foot in the ground as you lift the left knee to a ninety degree angle and swing the right arm forward. Lean forward kicking the left leg behind the body. At the same time reach forward with the right hand and extend the left elbow behind you. Point the left toes and straighten your left arm for full extension. Your body will form a "T" position. Return to starting position and repeat several times. Increase the intensity my moving quickly.

Extended Lunge

Changing the position of your upper body in this lunge hits the inner and outer thigh more than the traditional lunge and engages your shoulders, back and abs. Begin with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended above your head and palms facing each other. Lunge forward, keeping your knee in-line with your ankle. Bend at the hips, forming a straight line with your body. Stay in this position as you rotate palms out pulling and lower the arms down by your side. Step back and repeat.

Pushup Variations

Drop down and give me 20 is one of the best ways you can work your chest muscles. Steer away from the standard pushup to add variety to your workout and to tone your chest and arm muscles quicker. Start with simple variations, like hands in close or raising one foot as you lower down to the floor. As you get stronger, perform pushups with your feet on a balance ball or on a bench.

Jump Rope

You don't need an actual jumprope to hop in place and move your arms in circles. Maintain the form of jumping rope and burn calories fast. Jump in different patterns, like jumping side-to-side or high-knees.

Squatting Variations

Squats are very effective when it comes to toning the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Maintaining proper form is crucial in order to protect your knees. There are several ways you can mix up the standard squat, including taking your legs out wide to form a pile squat. Another variation is staggering your feet some, some one foot is slightly in front of the other. If you have access to a hill or an incline, stand with your toes going down hill and perform squats on an incline. In any squat, make sure your knees do not cross the line over your ankles.


This exercise is the most effective exercise you can do for your abdominals. The movement targets the entire ab muscle and the obliques. Perform it by lying flat on your back, bringing your knees up to a square. Place your hands behind your head and engage the core. Instead of crunching straight up to the ceiling you will crunch up at an angle, meaning your left shoulder is going to come towards your right knee and vic-versa. As you crunch up, kick the opposite leg out. Rotate side to side.


Performing planks not only works your abdominals but works your shoulders, back and triceps. Doing different variations will keep your muscles guessing, helping you tone your entire body. If you can hold a plank for more than 30 seconds, it's time you added a challenge to it. Start with raising a leg. Then, raise a leg and the opposite arm at the same time. Another variation is putting your feet on a raised platform. Side planks are an effective way to tone your obliques. Play with the placement of your arms and legs and see how you can make a difference in your routine.

Back Stretches

Stretching should be part of everybody's exercise routine. Improving your flexibility will improve the range that you can lift weights, move throughout the day and can decrease your risk for injury. One of the most neglected muscle are the back muscles and since the back causes so many problems and pain, make sure you stretch it every day. To stretch your entire back, lie flat on your stomach with your legs and arms stretched out, like you're superman. Point your toes and fingers and pull apart. Imagine you're increasing the space between each vertebrae. Other good stretches include arching and rounding your spine or performing twists.


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    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 

      6 years ago from United States

      Really great exercise advice here. There's a few that I've never seen before, so I'll have to give them a try.


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