Updated: May 4
We all have to start somewhere and before getting yourself under a barbell, using dumbbells or swinging kettlebells it's pretty essential to understand how to move efficiently, effectively and most importantly safely.
Compound movements (mulit-joint, mutli-muscle exercises) are going to be your best friend in terms of strength progression, body control and overall longevity of exercise and training.
Thankfully, all the main compound movements can be progressed or regressed as a bodyweight exercise. If you're new to the gym, it's a great idea to start with bodyweight exercises anyway and then progress into more complex and demanding movements.
There's a load of benefits of starting with bodyweight exercises. As mentioned, you'll master the main movement patterns before loading the exercises, you'll learn how to engage the correct muscles through the movements and you'll also work your core effectively all at the same time! So as the old saying goes, 'keep it simple, stupid'.
Furthermore, as personal trainers we firmly believe you must master the main movement patterns before progressing to loaded exercises so without further ado here are 5 effective bodyweight exercises that you can try today to perfect and implement into your training routine:
(Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Core)
Get on all fours with your arms straight and your hands placed slightly wider than your shoulders. Keep your legs in line with your back.
Bend your elbows to lower yourself toward the ground. Stop when your elbows are at 90-degree angles.
Using your chest muscles, straighten your arms to push yourself back up into your starting position to complete a rep.
Complete as many reps as you can while maintaining proper form.
(Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Core)
Stand with feet shoulder-width, with toes slightly turned outward.
Tighten up your core to stabilize yourself, start to shift your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips behind you as you squat down.
Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the ground, and your knees should remain over your toes.
Keep your spine neutral, chest out and push through the heel to return to the start position. Keep the core tight.
(Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Core)
Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forwards.
Keeping your left foot flat and planted in the ground, step back with your right leg.
Putting the weight through your front (left) leg, drop the right knee down to gently kiss the ground while simultaneously bending the left knee. Both knees, hips, and ankles should be bent to 90 degrees.
Drive the left foot into the ground through the heel, squeeze your glute and push your hips up and forward as you bring the right leg back to the starting position.
(Glutes, Hamstrings, Core)
Lie on your back and set your knees about shoulder-width apart, with your feet flat to the ground and your knees bent.
Make sure your toes are pointed straight forward and that your heels are 6–8 inches from your glutes.
Lay your arms flat on either side of you with your palms open toward the ceiling.
Slowly raise your hips, engage your glutes, and squeeze your abs.
Be careful not to arch your back as you lift your hips as high as possible. A perfect glute bridge consists of elevating your hips until your torso makes a straight line from your shoulder up to your knee.
Once you reach the top of the glute bridge, squeeze your glutes as tightly as possible and hold for a few seconds.
Lower your hips back down to the ground in a controlled motion without releasing the tension in your abs and glutes.
(Back, Arms, Core)
Set up your suspension trainer so the handles hang at chest height.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the handles with your palms facing each other. Lean back until your arms are extended, taking your weight.
The position of your feet will determine how difficult the exercise is: moving them forwards towards or even past the anchor point increases how much you lean back and makes the move harder, and stepping backwards makes it easier.
If you're still unsure about how you can master these exercises or you want to learn how to do them in the first place, don't hesitate to get in touch to book in a consultation with one of our expert personal trainers to learn and master all the movements before loading up with extra weights.