Body weight a minute!
What are the best body weight exercises for women? So glad you asked! If you’re not a big fan of lifting heavy weights in your pursuit of building strength, we’ve got some good news for you.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Body weight exercises are just as effective a form of strength training as workouts that involve free weights or weight machines.
Since body weight exercises are quite literally just fitness moves that use your own, well, body weight as resistance, this should help you simplify your full body workout routine. No extra equipment required!
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Take a look at the best body weight exercises for women
- Mountain Climbers
- Lunge Jumps
- Calf Raises
- Tricep Dips
- Boat Pose
- Chair-Twist Lunge-Twist
- Table Top Leg Out (knee down)
- Table Top Leg Out (knee up)
- Warrior 3 Knee Crunches
Below, we’ll give you info on each of these great body weight exercises.
But, before we give you the deets, there’s one important thing to add… online yoga classes will offer you a full dose of these great exercises and will give you a healthy dose of cardio and stretching. If it sounds to you like a winning trifecta, you’re right! And, you’ll get other great health benefits as well 😀
They’re among the oldest workout moves in the book — but that’s probably because they’re effective. In fact, according to Muscle & Performance, push-ups are the ultimate, the quintessential body weight exercise. Things stick around because they work, people.
Push-ups give you the chance to work your shoulders, arms, and chest while keeping your core, hips, and glutes engaged. Talk about getting a full body workout with just one move!
If you want to reap the full benefits of this body weight exercise, be sure to bring your chest no more than two inches from the ground before pushing off for another rep. Keep your chin tucked and your eyes looking down to avoid injury to your neck!
*Modified version above*
Everyone knows that if you really want to throw a bulldog-style yoga party, you’ve gotta include plenty of planks. This body weight exercise is what you might call one of our money moves. Anyone who’s checked out one of our in-studio or online workout classes can probably attest to the fact that bulldoggers spend quite a bit of time engaging that core any time they hit the mat.
To do a proper plank, plant your hands directly under your shoulders, ground your toes into the floor, and squeeze your glutes as you lift your core off the ground. Resisting your body weight will force your abs and booty to engage, which will help you build strength over time.
Start by holding your planks for 20 minutes and then increase from there!
Seasoned yogis might know this body weight exercise better as a chair pose, but the title is much less important than the move itself — not to mention its benefits. There are many variations of a body weight squat, any of which should definitely be included as part of a full body workout routine.
For a basic squat, set your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes turned out, then slowly bend at the knees, dropping your hips to lower the rest of your bod. Pause for a moment at the bottom of the exercise before using those strong legs to push back up to where you started.
Squats are a fantastic body weight exercise because they require you to lift your full weight with your lower body. They engage your core, as well!
#4) Mountain Climbers
You don’t actually have to get yourself to a mountain to perform this body weight exercise — in fact, like our online yoga classes, you can do them in your own living room! And we all know that working out at home is a total game changer.
Use mountain climbers to strengthen your core and abs. Start in a traditional plank with your shoulders over your hands and your weight in your toes, then engage your core and bring your right knee forward below your chest, keeping your toes off the ground. Return to the original plank pose, then repeat the movement with your opposite leg.
Switch your legs back and forth, picking up speed until you’re kind of running in place while nearly parallel to the ground.
All you need for this body weight exercise is a wall. Yep, it’s really that simple!
Practice this move by standing with your back straight against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, sliding your back down the wall until your knees are 90-degree angles. Hang out there for a sec then push back up and do it all over again!
Wall-sits use your body weight to strengthen your quads (front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs), adductors (inner thighs), and core. Win, win, win!
#6) Lunge Jumps
Lunges of all kinds are a key element of our fitness-fueled brand of yoga. You’ll see it as you flow through Warrior poses, high lunges, low lunges, and more in our studio and online classes. You could say we’re pretty bought into the power of a lunge as a body weight exercise.
Take your lunge to the next level by making it a lunge jump! It’s exactly what you might think of based on the name. Start with a lunge on one side, then push explosively off the ground and switch the position of your legs before you land. The impact of your body weight on the ground will work your lower body.
#7) Calf Raises
This body weight exercise is about as simple as it gets. One of its biggest perks? It allows for some serious multitasking, since you can do calf raises while you cook, work (if you have a standing desk), fold laundry… you get the picture.
Stand straight, keeping your hands at your sides. Slowly raise yourself up on the balls of your feet, engaging your calf muscles. Because your calves are lifting the full weight of your body, you should expect to feel them getting stronger over time as you incorporate this body weight exercise into your full body workout routine.
#8) Tricep Dips
Grab yourself a short step, a bench, or a chair. Facing away from it, position your hands shoulder-width apart on that surface and extend your legs in front of you, keeping your shoulders above your hands. Straighten your arms (while keeping a teeny bend!), then slowly bend your elbows until they form a 90-degree angle. Then, press down into the surface to return to the starting position. That’s one rep of this body weight exercise!
POPSUGAR Fitness recommends that you complete two or three sets of fifteen to twenty dips to start building that strength in your triceps. Get those upper arms poppin’!
These cool body weight exercises work pretty much every ab muscle you have, since they require you to keep your legs off the ground and keep your legs flat. Think of them like an upside-down version of the Mountain Climbers we told you about earlier.
Lie flat on the floor, pressing your lower back into the ground. Put your hands behind your head, interlacing your fingers. Bring your knees in toward your chest, lifting your shoulder blades off the ground. Next, straighten your right leg out while turning your upper body to the left side. Your right elbow should move toward your left knee. Keep that rib cage moving!
Switch sides and do the same movement on the opposite side. That’s your first rep! Do about twenty more and you’ve got yourself a full set of Bicycle crunches. See? It’s just like riding a bike.
#10) Boat Pose
Another old school yoga move, boat pose forces you to engage all of your weight in your core, making it — you guessed it — an awesome body weight exercise.
Start by sitting straight up on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Putting your hands on the ground, lean back and lift your knees off the floor, keeping your legs together throughout the movement. Straighten them as much as possible! See if you can hold that pose for thirty seconds, then add time from there.
Find these moves and even more body weight exercises
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BONUS – MORE OF THE BEST BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES FOR YOUR YOGA WORKOUT!
These body weight exercises are all based on yoga poses and flows, so they’ll make the ideal addition to your yoga workout! They’re all perfect for strength training.
#11) Chair-Twist Lunge-Twist
Keeping your feet together, sink your hips low into a squat, pushing your hands together in front of your chest. Step one leg back into a deep lunge, twisting away from your back leg as you go. Pause there for a moment, then step your feet back together and do the same thing on the opposite side!
Add this move to your yoga workout to engage your core and lower body.
#12) Table Top Leg-Out (Knee Down)
You’re bound to spend a big chunk of any yoga workout in table top pose. This small twist turns it into an awesome body weight exercise!
Lift one leg off the mat, straightening the knee as much as possible and keeping the opposite knee on the mat. Next, pause with your leg straight for a moment, then bend it into your chest, crunching your abs as you go. Then, switch legs and do the other side.
#13) Table Top Leg-Out (Knee Up)
Not surprisingly, this exercise is similar to the Table Top Leg-Out (Knee Down) move. The major difference? After you push each leg straight back and then bend your knee into your chest, you should rotate your hip out to the side so your knee is raised and bent outside your arm.
Yoga workout, upleveled!
#14) Warrior 3 Knee Crunches
Turn up the heat on your yoga workout with this great core exercise. Starting in Warrior 3 — with one leg stable and standing straight, the other extended straight back, your arms extended in front of you and reaching forward — you can then pull your arms back in and bend the knee on your non-standing leg into an upright crunch.
Want to incorporate these body weight exercises into your routine?
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