Bodyweight Exercises
Build Strong Bodies

Bodyweight exercises can be used successfully for strength and fitness training. The musculature of gymnasts is an example of what can be achieved using a trainee’s own weight for resistance training.

Because bodyweight movements do not require weights or other apparatus, they are ideal when you don’t have access to weight training equipment. And certainly travelers should be familiar with a variety of exercises that can provide full-body workouts without equipment of any kind.

Before the steroid era of professional bodybuilding, it was common for weight lifters and bodybuilders to incorporate hand balancing and gymnastics of various sorts in their weight training. Photos of old time bodybuilders and strongmen often showed them doing handstands, climbing ropes, and building human pyramids on the beach. Frankly, they appeared more well-rounded and athletic than over-inflated pro-bodybuilders of today, and they probably were.

Though bodyweight exercises can build a high degree of fitness, they do have limitations. Since the trainee uses his or her own weight to provide resistance the weight being lifted is always the same, though the repetitions can be increased.

Yes, leverage adjustments can be made to make bodyweight movements more difficult (a one-arm push-up is tougher that the standard variety, for example). But if free weights are available, why not use them? For strength and muscle development, weights really can’t be beat. And what is wrong with using both methods?

[Personally, I discontinued bench presses several years ago because they made my shoulders sore. Instead, I do a wide variety of push-up movements. To make them more difficult, I sometimes have someone put a 45 lb plate on my back. It doesn't bother my shoulders and it’s a heck of a workout. -LF]

For convenience sake, familiarize yourself with several basic exercises for those times when weights are not available. Or, for variety, include them regularly in your weight training workouts.

For upper-body . . .

Dive Bombers
•Hindu Pushups
•Chin-ups & Pull-Ups
•Windshield Wipers
•Leg Raises

Lower-Body . . .

Mountain Climbers
Squat Thrusts (Burpees)
•Wall Sits

Total Body . . .

Alligator Push-ups
•Jumping Jacks
•Bear Crawls

Return from Bodyweight Exercises to Weight Training

Subscribe to my Free
Gray Iron Fitness
(twice monthly)

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter.

Here is what our subscribers are saying . . .

"Thank you for your newsletter. I loved it, and please keep them coming. I found the last one very inspiring. I like the food control portion a lot." -Amy Harwood

"My wife and I are just now starting to get off the couch and back in shape . . . we have a ways to go but you two are an inspiration." -Joey & Lynn Everhart

"Thanks Logan for your inspiring newsletter each month. I have taken your advice and am riding my stationary bike 20 minutes each morning and just started using my Weider Crossbow. I am feeling better each day." -Dennis C. Ewert (64 years old)

"As an almost-52 year old woman who's just gotten 'turned on' to weightlifting, I really appreciate your newsletter and look forward to getting it." -Wanda Araujo

"Really enjoyed your thoughts on retirement in the latest newsletter." -Larry, 56

"Great articles. I look forward to your newsletter and the interesting and informative articles you share." --Pete

"I love your newsletter. May it go on forever."

- TJ Granack