The Six Toughest, Most Effective Bodyweight Exercises (Video)

The Six Toughest, Most Effective Bodyweight Exercises (Video) 1


Bodyweight exercises are time-tested, effective components of a good workout regimen. With minimal equipment and space, you can strength train a variety of muscle groups without ever going to the gym.



Push-ups work mainly the chest, tricep, and front shoulders, but also utilize the abs for stabilization. In addition to the fact that they can be done virtually anywhere, push-ups can be modified to increase their difficulty and/or work other muscle groups. Examples include the one-handed push-up and knuckle push-ups that strengthen the forearms and wrists.


Often used in yoga and pilates routines, planking is an isometric exercise done face down, with the back straight, and only the elbows, forearms, and toes touching the ground. It improves strength in the abs and middle back, and can be modified in many ways, including the side plank, which works the gluteus (outer pelvic) and oblique abdominal muscles.



Dips can be done at a body weight station, or between any two waist-high surfaces that will support your weight, like a counter top or table. Hold your body up on the surfaces or bars using your hands and arms, lift your feet behind you, lower your body, and push back up. This exercise works the chest, triceps, and shoulders.


Handstand Push-ups

This advanced exercise requires a lot of shoulder and tricep strength. This exercise is exactly what it sounds like, doing a push-up in handstand position, but you can handstand against a wall to help prop you up. Doing freestanding handstand push-ups takes quite a bit of forearm and core strength to maintain stability.


Wall Sit

This exercise is done by standing with your back firmly against the wall with feet shoulder width apart and about a yard in front of you. Then slide your back down the wall until your legs form a 90 degree angle at the knee. This exercise is not recommended for those with knee problems, but it’s a great workout for the quadriceps and hamstrings in the thigh.



One of the oldest and most popular bodyweight exercises, these can be done at home by simply installing an inexpensive Stud Bar Pull Up bar in a doorway. Pull-ups primarily target the latissimus dorsi, which are prominent back muscles, but also work the arms and shoulders, and tightening the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles helps to stabilize the body during the motion.