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Bodyweight Workout for Weight Loss - Gym Free Workouts

Updated on October 19, 2012

Can a bodyweight workout help with your weight loss? Undoubtedly yes.

Many people do not like going to gyms, they may not have the time, do not want to pay for a gym membership or perhaps are intimidated by the gym environment.

For many people in search of a greater quality of life, be it weight loss, muscle gain, improved fitness or all of the above, the gym can be an uncomfortable place to go to work out.

If you're looking to lose weight, you may see your bodyweight as a hindrance but your bodyweight is a great tool you have at your disposal to give you an effective machine free workout.

Many (to use a broad term) exercise machines isolate specific muscle groups; biceps, triceps, quads etc, and achieving a full body workout using these machines can be very time intensive and can be difficult to maintain the motivation to continue.

These machines do not effectively mimic how your body would act in a real situation. You wouldn't life a weight with just your biceps.

Bodyweight exercises replicate the pushing and pulling that your body will utilise in real life to do your daily tasks, and when performing these exercise you are using many different muscle groups together to do the required pushing or pulling action.

In terms of strength what do you value more?

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By performing a workout utilising a few bodyweight exercises you can build strength and gain muscle, which will promote fat loss when applied with a healthy diet and cardio workouts.




Squats are a brilliant exercise for building up strength in the lower body and recruits the most of the muscles in the lower body; primarily hips, thighs and buttocks.

There variations on the squat that can put a greater emphasis on certain muscles by shifting the body weight more forward, to use calves and quads more for instance.

If you were lifting something from the ground, you would bend at your knees pushing your hips back while maintaining a straight back. When executing the lift you will squeeze the buttocks, push the hips up and straighten the legs to push your body upwards.

This natural movement is replicated by the squat to build lower body strength. Squats are one of the most effective exercises for the legs and buttocks as it recruits many of the muscle instead of isolating a particular muscle, like the leg press does to the quads.

When maintaining the form correctly you'll notice your abs are braced also, so your core is also given a workout at the same time.

Abdominal exercise should be one of the final exercise you perform, they abs are braced in most of the bodyweight exercises to maintain the form and if you tire the abdominals your performance in the other exercises would suffer.

Push Up


Push Up

Push ups (or press ups in the UK) work the chest and arms through a raising and lowering of the body while in the prone position.

The Standard push up is performed with the hands on the floor, shoulder width apart with the legs together and lowering the body till the chest is an inch or two from the ground and then pushing back up till the arms are almost straight.

It is important to keep the body in a straight line when performing the push up; many people have a tendency to push the hips up or down, reducing the work done by the arms and chest. The core muscles will be engaged when maintaining the correct form.

There are many variations to the standard press up to target specific muscles in more detail and to increase intensity.

The body's weight is distributed between the lower and upper body when in the prone position.

Shifting more of the bodyweight to the upper body than the lower body, e.g. by raising the legs, more pressure can be placed on the chest and arms. Alternatively to reduce the intensity, push up can be performed with the knees on the floor.



Core Strength

The plank is a great exercise for building up abdominal and lower back strength and endurance.

Many people will spend hours in the gym working on specific abdominal exercises like crunches or purchase some miracle machines that will give you perfect abs.

Having a relatively overdeveloped abdominal area had been shown to lead to lower back problems, the abdominals are too strong and pull the body forward, creating a hunch which can lead to lower back pain. You do not want to cause injuries to one area of your body while strengthening other areas. This is why the plank is such a great exercise.

With both your feet on the floor, laying on you forearms with a straight back, brace your abs and hold the position (or attempt to) for 60 seconds, maintaining a straight body throughout.

This may not feel as intensive on your abdominals as crunches but will yield great results, not only will you build stronger abdominals, you lower back will become stronger, giving you a stronger core and more effectively linking the strength of you upper and lower body together.

I've highlighted a few bodyweight exercises which can effectively implemented to build muscle and increase strength while at the same time developing your body's functional strength and endurance.

These exercises are by no means the complete solution to achieving weight loss but makeup one of the 3 main factors in effective weight loss.

A healthy Diet, weight training to build more muscle and exercise to burn calories, when combined together will make your body a much better functioning machine and will stimulate weight loss.


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    • infomanic profile image

      infomanic 6 years ago

      very complete and informative hub on a body weight loss program without weights great job!

    • Dale Mazurek profile image

      Dale Mazurek 7 years ago from Canada

      What a great hub. Now no one can use the excuse that they dont like the gym.

      I an glad to have your hub up on my blog now.

      You can find the link to my blog at the bottom of my profile page.

      Great work


    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      This is a great hub; well written and fun to read!!

    • hublim profile image

      hublim 7 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks PaulaK. I love going to the gym too; it’s a great way for me to shut out everything else and quietness the mind. The gym environment can be daunting for many people; many of my friends are very self conscious and will not go near a gym full of “fit looking people”. It’s great that they have another option with bodyweight based workouts.

    • PaulaK profile image

      Paula Kirchner 7 years ago from Austin. Texas

      Thanks for the hub, good one! I must say I do love my gym!

    • Betty Reid profile image

      Betty Reid 7 years ago from Texas

      Nice article. Working out at home is much more convenient than going to the gym. And the plank is the best exercise ever. Nothing tones your lower abs better than the plank.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I was a US Army Master fitness trainer and this is an excellent hub! You've covered the basics very well and your Ab philosophy is right on time for most folks. Only "elite Athletes really need to do the 6 pack thing and even then they don't need that much definition. Good Good work here!

    • zeehman profile image

      zeehman 8 years ago from Port Orchard

      what a hub.....awesome

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Hublim, I agree. The versatility of bodywt exercises is exciting. Too many people feel defeated and let equipment and gym membership stand in their way. I think you could do a lot with hubs on modifications, or even hubs on progressions of each exercise or exercise group. In Occupational Therapy, we call this "grading activity". I'm looking forward to your coming hubs!

    • hublim profile image

      hublim 8 years ago from Scotland

      Hey ripplemaker, thanks for your comments and selecting me to be a wannabe.

      I'm in the same position just now, being overweight, push ups are very difficult for me and I'm not happy with the number of push-ups I can do. I’ve just started the 100 push up challenge, a 7 week program to develop your press up ability.

      I’ve just completed the first week and feel like it’s going well.

      Hey rmcrayne

      Thank you for your comments, I’ve been looking to develop the ideas I touched on here further.

      The great thing about bodyweight exercises is how versatile they are, by redistributing your bodyweight you can make the workout easier, or tougher to suit your specific needs.

      I’ll develop a hub, perhaps a few for specific exercises to build on this article.

      Thank you again, your comments mean a lot to me.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Great job Hublim. So well written and easy to read. You should do a follow-up hub with modifications for people who are lower functioning. For example squat or lunge 40% of range of motion for those with knee pain, wall or swiss ball push-ups for those w/ really poor upper body strength etc. Congrats fellow Wanna-Be!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I know I need to do more push!! LOL

      Congratulations for being a Hubnugget Wannabe. Go, go, go! Be sure to promote your hub to your friends and family. And let them vote right here:

    • hublim profile image

      hublim 8 years ago from Scotland

      Cheers Duchess. Thank you for your comment.

      I was very surprised to be nominated and now becoming very excited about the voting.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub, and hope it was of use to you.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Great information. I just wanted to pop in and read your Hub as it was nominated as a HubNugget Wannabe candidate. Congratulations and good luck.