When it comes to fitness, exercise (movement) is king.
Bodyweight exercises are crucial to having a well-rounded body. They are versatile, can be done anywhere, and teach you how to use your body.
Agility, power, balance, and mobility will all get better as you start using bodyweight exercises.
There are 10 bodyweight exercises, in particular, that will strengthen joints, destroy your core, and help you develop an overall athletic body. So let's jump into them.
10 Top Bodyweight Exercises
#1 - Hip/Thigh Extensions
Build strength in your glutes and dominate your core stability muscles with this exercise.
The isolation of your glutes will allow you to build a bigger squat, activate your inactive glutes, and build confidence in your abilities.
How to do them: Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Stick one leg straight up into the air and with your other leg squeeze your glutes.
You'll push your body up through your heel and as you rise you should keep your leg extended. Switch sides and do the other leg.
#2 - Single-Leg Box Squats
These will build nice quads, improve your balance, and build powerful legs.
When isolating each leg, you are able to address any leg strength imbalances.
If you notice you can't do as many reps with one leg as the other, you can now focus on building that side up.
How to do them: Sitting at the edge of something you can sit on, point one leg in front of you and do a single-leg squat. Push through your heel to stand up.
If this gets easy for you, find a lower seat or bench to use. The extra range of motion will make it more difficult.
#3 - Skater Squats
While this looks to be more like a reverse lunge than a squat, skater squats trains you to sit back and use your posterior chain and hips.
How to do them: Stand up and bend one leg behind you. As you squat down with your other side, try to touch your knee to the ground. Keep your torso straight and go as low as possible.
This exercise will help with mobility, so if you can't get your knee to touch the ground, keep working on it.
#4 - Pushups
If you thought I would write a bodyweight workout without mentioning one of the best upper-body exercises, you're crazy.
Strengthen your shoulders, chest, triceps, and core with this exercise.
How to do them: Keep your elbows tucked as you descend, pressing yourself back up as you reach the floor.
If you're having troubles, try pushups on your knees or place your hands on a higher surface than your feet.
#5 - Pike Pushups
If you thought pushups were hard enough, try doing them in the pike position.
This variation places your body so that you are targeting your shoulders and your overhead-pressing ability.
How to do them: Start in a pushup position and raise your hips until you look like an upside down V. Descend and press yourself back to the starting position.
If you have tight hamstrings or this position is generally hard, slowly creep your hips up as you get stronger.
#6 - Inverted Rows
If you have something you can grab onto and do reverse rows, great. I recommend using a smith machine or an apparatus that will hold you.
Inverted rows build a strong back, healthy shoulders, and help build a good posture.
How to do them: Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Engage your lats and tighten your core as you pull yourself up.
#7 - Planks
One of my favorite core exercises, planks build static strength and trains your torso to be more stable.
How to do them: Get into a pushup position. You can either drop down to your elbows or keep your arms straight. Maintain this pushup position.
#8 - Pull-ups
A relatively hard bodyweight exercise for most to do, pull-ups are great for building a bullet-proof back, stronger biceps, and an overall stronger body.
How to do them: Grab a bar and pull yourself up. At the top, really get a good squeeze before slowly lowering yourself down.
#9 - Bear Crawls
This exercise builds great movement patterns and targets deep core muscles. Great for your conditioning and a warmup, these crawls will make you feel stupid until you feel how much work they put in.
How to do them: Get on all fours and crawl forward.
#10 - Hard Rolls
This is a weird one, but listen up.
Hard rolls improve mobility and help avoid pain by strengthening weak spots and improving mobility in others.
How to do them: Lie on your back with both of your arms extended overhead. Bend your right arm and left knee as if you were doing a side crunch. Now, turn your head to the left and pull your body into a roll.
Wrapping It Up
There's always going to be some reason why you "can't work out."
Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, at any time.
Make the decision to improve your health and simply start doing these exercises. Don't worry about what foods to eat, how much this, how many that... Just do it.
Once you start noticing health improvements from exercising, eating healthier and being healthier comes naturally.