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Get Fit With Body Weight Exercises

Updated on February 28, 2011

Are you still trying to start that New Year’s Resolution to exercise more often, but can’t find the time or money for a gym membership?  All over the country the secret is being revealed that you do not need a gym to get and stay in shape.  There are a wide variety of body weight exercises that can be done anywhere and many others that only require minimal equipment. 

Some of the most effective exercises are push-ups and pull-ups.  These work many different body parts and build a great deal of strength.  Any body weight work out plan should start with these two exercises.  Other staples of a body weight routine are dips, body rows, squats, and burpees (squat thrusts).  All of these exercises can be adjusted to increase or decrease difficulty.  For instance, push-ups can be done in a V or downward dog shape, with feet elevated on a step or chair, or for the most difficulty, in a hand stand.  Pull-ups can be done with feet on a chair to make them easier, or with legs extended in front in an L position to make them more difficult.  Squats can be done on one leg, frequently called pistols, or while holding almost anything to help create resistance. 

Although many body weight exercises do not require equipment, it is relatively easy and cheap to build a home gym.  You probably have much of what you need already.  A pull-up bar can be made with old closet rods or at least PVC pipe at least one inch thick.  Squats can be done while holding salt bags, dog food or anything that weighs at least ten pounds.  There are many do it yourself equipment ideas on the Ross Training website that are both easy and cheap.

There are a great deal of online resources to help with workout routines and videos to demonstrate the exercises including Body Weight Culture, Monkey Bar Gym and the Ross Training website mentioned earlier. Some of the most powerful athletes in the world are gymnasts, and they almost exclusively use bodyweight exercises.  There are two excellent websites centered on gymnastics style exercises.  Gymnastics Bodies is an excellent site for building strength the same way gymnasts do.  Gymnastics Wod is actually meant as a compliment to CrossFit, but it has a lot of great exercise ideas and examples. 

If you are interested in taking body weight exercise to another level there is MovNat.  Short for Natural Movement, MovNat is a system based on the natural survival skills of humans from centuries past.  MovNat has been featured in many magazines such as Men’s Health and Outside.  The creator of MovNat, a Frenchman name Erwan Le Corre, puts on clinics around the world and is writing a book on the principles of MovNat.  Look here if you are interested in finding out more and watching some cool videos. 

Regardless of what you will be told by the trainer or salesman at your local gym, it is possible to get in shape and build strength without much equipment.  Your own body will provide all the resistance you need to lose weight and build muscle.  That does not mean it will be easy, but it is worth it.


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    • powerofknowledge1 profile image

      powerofknowledge1 6 years ago

      Great Info! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      I had never an idea about Body Weight Exercises but you realy opened my eyes. Thank you for the information.

    • ryhill profile image

      ryhill 6 years ago from United States

      Great article. I have found bodyweight exercises to also be easier on the joints, since using weights in the gym can potentially lead to bad form. Thanks for the links to the gymnastic sites. Gymnasts are always in great shape from bodyweight exercises.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice info.Actually exercise helps the body to function very well and improves the body physical outlook,thereby keeping the body fit

    • Plarson profile image

      Plarson 6 years ago from Alabama

      Jennifer- It's too late to prevent me from spending the 25.00 a month with a year contract for the gym. But I will start doing these types of exercises for a work out at home on my off days from the gym workout. -Paul