Unlock True Strength with These 12 Bodyweight Exercises

If there’s one thing 2020 has shown everyone, it’s this: You’re not always going to have access to a gym or gym equipment.

For a host of reasons, the dumbbells, kettlebells, treadmills, and weight machines that are the backbone of your routine won’t always be available. Sometimes you’ll be traveling, other times, you’ll be stuck at home, and even when you have gym access, you might not always want to be there.

The one thing you will always have, though, is your bodyweight, and if you use it correctly, it’s a potent tool that can help you break a serious sweat, or pack on plenty of muscle and strength. Bodyweight exercises have another benefit, too: They teach you to manage your bodyweight in various ways, and sometimes, that’s more important (and useful) than moving the heaviest barbell in the gym. There are plenty of strength athletes out there who can bench heavy weight, for example, but can’t do, say, an archer pushup.

Functional strength is about developing a balance between an ability to generate raw force (as you would when bench pressing) and an ability to manipulate your body through space (as you would when doing, say, a typewriter pushup).

You should build both facets of strength, and these bodyweight moves can help.

Upper Body Moves

Typewriter Pushup Countup Hell

There are standard pushups, and then there’s this pushup variation from fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., which does something few pushups do, challenging you to build chest and shoulder strength in multiple planes. Most pushups have you pushing in the sagittal plane. This has you working in other ways, too.

Archer-Position Bodyweight Skullcrusher

Think you can’t isolate your triceps and move serious load with only bodyweight? Think again with this unique triceps exercise, which has you shouldering most of your bodyweight with a single arm on every rep.

Rocker Bodyweight Skullcrusher

The rare bodyweight exercise that places your triceps on stretch for a brief moment. Don’t expect to do oodles of reps here, but expect your triceps to be on fire nevertheless. Just 6-8 reps will, um, rock your arms.

Inverted Bodyweight Row

Sure, you need some gear (a bar, or even a table will work) to pull this off, but then it’s all about managing your bodyweight, which is inherent to all bodyweight moves. This is also a backbuilder, a critical brand of move you want to load up on in your training for physique balance and shoulder health.

Towel Inverted Row Hold

Build grip strength and blast your back with this row variation. Your abs and glutes will be on fire too, if you do it right.

Lower Body Moves

Total Body Moves and Workouts

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