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Six Exercises To Get In Real Shape

Updated on May 31, 2016
RemySheppard profile image

Remy is a self improvement blogger from North Carolina whose writing has taught thousands of people to be much more confident and outgoing.

Weightlifting is important, but it isn't everything

Weight lifting is important. It is a great way to get in shape, to look your best, to get stronger, teach yourself discipline and become an all around awesome human being. But a lot of people take up weight lifting and neglect body weight exercises. And some people are too scared to join a gym so they feel like they can't work out at all.

Except that body weight stuff is awesome and will help build muscle, and put you in great shape. Body weight exercises help you get lean and mean and can be easily put into super sets for the cardio factor (because screw running, seriously). Body weight training also rocks your core, because most body weight exercises engage the core for stability, motion and power.

Seriously. Body weight stuff destroys your core.

If you don't believe me, do some weighted sit ups (say, 50) and destroy your abs. Wait a day and try to do a push up and let me know where it burns the most when you're done (#YourAbs).

Body weight training is also great for improving flexibility and joint strength. You aren't just swinging an arm around or pushing something with a leg, you're forcing your whole body to move through space under pressure, and your joints are the glue that holds it all together. I have a bad shoulder, so I make sure to do push ups, pull ups, and dips along with actual shoulder exercises to build the muscle. While those body weight exercises may not actively work the shoulder muscles, they engage the joint and help strengthen it.

So with that, I'm going to show you 6 body weight exercises that I mix into my gym routine. These 6 things are awesome and you'll see a huge benefit from them, whether you're a lift bro who thinks body weight stuff is pointless, or just someone who is too chicken to join a gym.

Doing A Proper Push Up

Push Ups

Simple. Easy. Push ups. I wake up and do 30 push ups a day, and then a few times a month I mix them into a super set at the gym. Push ups are great for strength and mobility and they're something you can see active improvement on. When I first started doing push ups I could do maybe ten of them, and only half way down. Now I can do 30 at a time and my nose touches the floor on each one.

How to do an inverted row

Inverted Row

If you're dealing with poor posture or forward head posture then you need to hit the inverted row. The Inverted Row is great for your back and it's a simple exercise to do. Heels on the ground, hang off of something, pull up to your chest. If you do it on ropes and rings then you'll have a serious workout on your hands because you have to provide a lot more stability than if you use a bar on the smith machine (like I do). I would try and get as close to the ground as you possibly can, and pull up as slow as possible.

Ab Rollout

These suck. You'll feel a lot of work in your shoulders and the essence of unbridled hate in your core. Start on your knees, holding a barbell with some weights on it, and then just roll foward. You want to get as close to the ground as you can without actually touching the ground, and then - using your core - roll back up to your starting position. The smaller the weight you use, the closer to the ground you'll get at your full extension. The larger the weight you use,higher off the ground and, consequently, the easier the workout. If you're wanting to do this one at home, get one of those ab wheel things, they're only like $12 and way worth it.

Woman Doing Pull-ups


Pull Ups

Pull Ups are great for your back. Just make sure you aren't doing chin ups, with your palms facing inward. Chin ups engage your arms more and take the struggle off of your back - so they're like pull ups for children. Also you want to avoid doing that crossfit crap where you swing around like a fool. Either put your hands in the neutral position - as shown in the picture - or put your palms facing away from you. This way, when you pull up, you're engaging your back and not your biceps and arms. If you need to you can grab one of those doorway pull up bars.

This is a weighted dip, but the concept is the same


Dips are awesome. They work your chest and triceps and require a lot of core strength for stability. When I first started working out hard in the gym back in July, 2014, I couldn't even do two of these bad boys in a row, but now I hammer them out (did 40 yesterday). There is a certain natural motion to dips that you'll find you engage in so you don't swing around like George of the Jungle. The real secret to dips, though, is to do them slowly. Really feel that burn. I doubt you'll be able to do this in your house, but hey - you gotta sacrifice something or you'll never gain anything. If you're adamant about avoiding a gym, I guess you could use a few chairs. Try and get as close to the floor as you absolutely can, and then go all the way up, so you get a full extension.

Isometric L-Sit & Knee Tuck

You know what sucks harder than one ab exercise? Two of them put together. So usually what I'll do is hop on the dip rack/machine/thing(?) and hammer this one out maybe 3 times a month. The L-Sit is where, while suspended, you bring your feet out in front of you with your legs straight, putting yourself at a 90 degree angle, as shown above.

The knee tuck is equally as easy a motion to complete: Just bring your knees up to your chest.

Now put the two together! Do an L-Sit, then, once you bring your legs down, bring them immediately back up to a knee tuck. Then down and repeat the L-Sit. If you count the two exercises together as one motion, then do a set of 10, you'll hop off that thing after a set and just kind of... sit down. Its cool bro, everyone does.

This "8 best body weight exercises" video is worth a watch

In Conclusion

So there you have it! 6 body weight exercises you should definitely incorporate into your routine (if you don't already). Great for tacking on to the end of other things for a super set and some cardio, great for flexibility and mobility, joint strength, and more. So get on it and get in shape!

© 2016 Remy Sheppard

What are your favorite body weight exercises?

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