Bodyweight Exercises - Details


Bodyweight exercises can be performed anywhere and there are many exercises to choose from.

The list below is a detailed account of how to perform each exercise:

Push-ups: are the simplest of the bodyweight exercises and can be performed either static or dynamic

Standard Push-ups

  • Start in a push-up position on the floor, hands wider than shoulder width apart, legs stretched out behind you
  • Engage core, press up onto hands and balls of feet, keeping torso flat
  • Return to start position without resting torso on the floor
  • Perform 8-10 repetitions
If you cannot perform full push-ups on hands and feet, start on your hands keeping knees and feet on the floor to perform push-ups and graduate to balls of feet (full bodyweight exercise) when your strength increases.

Walking Push-ups

  • Assume a push-up position with hands and feet on the floor, hands wider than shoulder width apart, and core engaged to keep hips in line with shoulders and ankles
  • Lower to a push-up and upon rising, move right hand and right leg forward 1 step
  • Perform another push up in this staggered position and upon rising, move left hand and left leg forward 1 step
  • Continue alternating between right and left steps until you’ve completed 10-12 steps along the floor

Core Work: there are several bodyweight exercises that will give you a strong, tight core

Front Plank

  • Lay on stomach with elbows under shoulders, make fists and move palms close together to create triangle with forearms
  • Tighten abdominals and raise body on to elbows and balls of feet in a plank position
  • Keep your torso flat like a board - do not raise your hips or sway your back
  • Hold for 30 seconds (work your way up to 30 seconds if need be) - remember to breathe
  • Repeat 8 times
If the original plank is too difficult to hold, start with an elbows and knees plank until you can graduate to the balls of your feet (full bodyweight exercise).

Push-up to Side Plank

  • Start in a push-up position on the floor, hands under shoulders (*Beginners - perform push-ups on hands and knees and omit the rotation)
  • Engage core, press up onto hands and at the top of the push-up rotate torso opening up to the left, lifting left hand and foot off the floor, balancing on right hand and foot (side plank position)
  • Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side
  • Perform 5 repetitions per side

Side Plank with Twist and Reach

  • Lay on your right side with legs stretched out, feet stacked on top of each other, hips in line, and right elbow under right shoulder
  • Tighten torso and raise up on right elbow and forearm
  • Raise left arm up and point fingers toward ceiling
  • In this position, shoulders should be stacked one on top of the other, and hips, legs and feet should also be stacked
  • From this starting position, bend and rotate left arm down in front and through the space between your right side and the floor
  • Return to starting position
  • Perform 10 repetitions on your right side then switch to your left side and repeat

Gliding Front Planks

  • Start in a plank position on your hands with legs extended and a disc (or towel) under each foot for gliding purposes
  • From the start position with knees drawn in toward chest, slide feet back and straighten legs to form a full plank position
  • Return to start position and repeat for 15 repetitions

Gliding Pendulum Plank

  • Start in a plank position on your hands with legs extended and a disc (or towel) under each foot for gliding purposes
  • Engage core, do not let hips rise or fall
  • Keeping left foot stationary, swing right leg out toward right arm in a pendulum motion, toes maintaining contact with disc/floor (like a pendulum)
  • Swing right leg back to centre and then swing left leg out in a pendulum motion toward left arm and then back to centre
  • Continue alternating back and forth to complete 10 repetitions per side

Gliding Obliques

  • Assume a full plank or push-up position on the floor with hands directly under shoulders and place gliding discs under your toes – keep your torso flat and in line with your shoulders and ankles (no sway-backs or camel backs)
  • **if you don’t have gliding discs, just use your sock feet on a slippery floor
  • Engage core and draw knees in toward chest, keeping toes in contact with the discs/floor at all times, back straight and hips in line with shoulders –this is your starting position
  • Straighten legs while moving diagonally out to your right side, then draw knees back up to the start position and out again moving diagonally to your left side (like tracing an upside down V with your feet)
  • Continue alternating back and forth until you’ve completed 15 repetitions on each side

Gliding Mountain Climbers – 10 repetitions

  • From the straightened full plank position, with discs/sock feet in contact with floor, draw right knee up toward chest
  • As you move right leg back to start position, simultaneously draw left knee up toward chest
  • Continue alternating legs, keeping feet in contact with discs/floor, until you’ve completed 10 repetitions per side

Gliding Straddles – 10 repetitions

  • In full plank position, draw both knees in toward chest
  • Straighten both legs out to a straddle position, maintaining contact with the discs/floor at all times
  • Simultaneously draw both knees in toward chest to return to the starting position
  • Perform 10 repetitions

Walking Planks with Alternating Arm & Knee Raises

  • Start in front plank position on elbows and feet
  • Walk four steps forward and raise right arm straight out in front, in line with head and torso
  • Lower arm to starting position and take four steps backward
  • Lift left foot off floor, rotate out at the hip and draw knee up to same level as the hip (knee is out to side on same plane as torso - like a dog on a fire hydrant)
  • Straighten leg and return foot to the floor in starting position
  • Repeat sequence with alternate limbs to complete one repetition
  • Perform 10 repetitions

"StarFish" - Side Plank with Rotations using Stability Ball

  • Lay on right side in a side plank position with stability ball between lower legs
  • Raise left arm to point fingers toward ceiling - this is your "StarFish" position (starting position)
  • Tighten core and slowly lower left hand in front of body and through the space between right side and floor
  • Bring left hand back up to starting position with fingers pointing toward ceiling
  • Perform 10 rotations with left arm and then switch to side plank on left side, performing 10 rotations with right arm
Want to kick it up a notch? Raise yourself on your hand instead of your elbow.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start on the floor in a push-up position, rise up to a full push-up
  • Keep hands firmly planted on the floor and jump right foot forward into a deep lunge position (knee under chest)
  • Without pausing, jump left foot forward while moving right foot back to starting position
  • Remember to keep hips down and core engaged
  • Continue switching back and forth for 20 repetitions (10 per leg)

Spiderman Crawls

  • Start in a push-up position with body slightly elevated (between a full push-up and lying on the floor, arms bent) with left hand about a foot ahead of right hand
  • Draw right knee up and step as close to right elbow as possible with right knee to the outside of right elbow
  • From this position, push off right foot to crawl forward with right hand while simultaneously moving left knee up toward left elbow
  • Keep your bottom low - this is a full bodyweight exercise similar to crawling under a fence without touching your torso or your knees to the ground
  • Crawl for 10 steps

Bicycle Crunch with Pilates Variation

  • Lay on your back with legs bent and knees pulled in to chest
  • Put right hand on the outside of right shin and left hand on the inside of right knee (both hands should be on the right leg)
  • While pulsing right knee at chest, straighten left leg and lower toward the floor - but do not touch the floor
  • Switch legs; release right leg and straighten toward floor while drawing left knee to chest and grasping outer left shin with left hand and inner left knee with right hand
  • Repeat 15 per side

Wood Chops

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold a weighted object overhead (sealed bottle of water or large can of soup)
  • Drop down into a squat while swinging object down in front of body, between legs (like you're chopping wood)
  • Keep torso engaged, head and shoulders upright
  • Swing object back up overhead as you rise to the starting position
  • Repeat wood chop for 20 repetitions

Dynamic Supermans

  • Start by laying on stomach with arms stretched out above your head, hands and feet on the floor
  • At the same time, raise right arm and left leg off the floor about 6 inches and hold for a two count
  • Alternate; as you lower right arm and left leg, lift your left arm and right leg and hold for a count of 2
  • Repeat 15 times per side

Four Legged Dynamic Pointers

  • Get down on your hands and knees
  • From this starting position tighten your torso, draw left knee to chest and touch left knee with right hand, then straighten left leg and right arm in line with torso
  • Bring limbs back to starting position (all four on the floor) and repeat with alternate leg and arm
  • Repeat 15 times per side



Lunges: are great bodyweight exercises that can be performed static or dynamic, stepping forward or backward

Static Lunge

  • Stand with feet together, hands on hips
  • Tighten core and step forward with right foot (approx. 11/2 to 2 feet)
  • Bend at the knees to lower left knee toward the floor - but do not touch - you should be in a forward lunge position with right leg forward and left leg back
  • Keep torso engaged and right knee over ankle
  • Stand up stepping right foot back to bring feet together
  • Continue alternating lead leg until you have completed 20 lunges (10 per leg)

Walking Lunge

  • Stand tall with feet together, hands on hips
  • Tighten core and step forward with right foot (about 11/2 - 2 feet forward)
  • Lower left knee toward floor - but do not touch - you should be in a forward lunge position with right leg forward, left leg back
  • Keep torso engaged and right knee over ankle
  • Stand up stepping left foot forward to bring feet together
  • Continue alternating lead leg as you walk forward until you have completed 20 lunges

Reverse Lunge & Lift

  • Stand with knees slightly bent and hands on hips
  • Engage your core, step back with right foot and lower into a lunge position (remember to keep left knee at a 90 degree angle and do not push past your toes)
  • Push off right foot (back foot) to straighten right leg behind you while rising up on left leg to a standing position (with right leg raised to the rear)
  • Squeeze glutes as you hold right leg up in the air behind you for a count of 2
  • Return to starting position and repeat lunge & lift with left leg back
  • Perform 10 repetitions per side

Squats: another great bodyweight exercise that can be performed in a static position, or moving sideways

Basic Squat

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold arms out in front just below shoulder level
  • Lower yourself into a squat position by engaging core, bending at the knees and hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor
  • Keep your head up, back straight and knees aligned over your ankles and toes
  • Pause for a moment at the bottom then push through your heels to raise back up to the starting position
  • Perform 10-12 repetitions

One-Legged Squats

  • Perform squat as indicated above, but put hands on hips for balance and straighten one leg and lift off floor so you’re performing the squat on one leg
  • Perform 10-12 repetitions per leg

Side Walking Squat

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, arms out in front for balance
  • Lower into a squat position
  • Engage core and step to the right maintaining squat position
  • Transfer weight to right foot and step left foot beside right foot, still maintaining squat position
  • Continue stepping right for 10 repetitions then switch to move left for 10 repetitions

Butt work: bridges and plié squats are two very effective bodyweight exercises to work your glutes

Bridges/hip raises

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides
  • Tighten core, squeeze glutes and raise hips up as high as they will go
  • At the top of the movement, squeeze glutes and let knees fall away from centre in an arc out to your sides while maintaining your hips in the raised position
  • Bring knees back together and lower your hips to the start position
  • Repeat for 12 repetitions

Plié Squats

  • Stand in a wide stance with feet greater than hip width apart, toes pointing out slightly, hands on hips
  • Lower into a squat position until thighs are parallel with the floor
  • Squeeze buttocks and raise to the start position
  • Repeat for 12 repetitions



Plyometrics: are bodyweight exercises involving explosive movements and should be performed a maximum of one time per week

Jumps & Burpees

  • Stand with feet together, swing arms out in front and jump as far forward as you can, landing on two feet
  • Drop hands to floor on either side of feet and perform 5 burpees (with hands and feet on floor, jump feet out behind you to straighten into a push-up position and then jump feet back up, bending knees and hips to bring feet back in line with hands)
  • Return to standing start position
  • Repeat jump & burpee combo for 12 repetitions

Jumping Scissor Lunges

  • Start in a lunge position with right leg forward
  • Jump up and switch legs to bring left leg forward and right leg back before landing in lunge position (be careful not to let back knee hit the floor)
  • Continue jumping and switching lead legs for 12 repetitions per side or 60 seconds – whichever you can handle

Squat Jumps

  • Start in a squat position with feet shoulder width apart
  • Jump up as high as you can and land back in a full squat position
  • Repeat squat jumps continually until you’ve reached 12 repetitions

Tuck Jumps

  • Start in a standing position with feet together
  • Jump up as high as you can tucking your knees in to your chest at the top of the movement, strightening legs on the way down and landing with knees slightly bent
  • Repeat tuck jumps continually until you’ve reached 12 repetitions




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