List of Bodyweight Exercises – Instructions & Videos

This section provides written & video instructions for a huge list of bodyweight exercises. These bodyweight exercises help to build strength and physical fitness without adding lots of extra bulk. Bodyweight exercises (i.e. push-ups) are used extensively by most martial arts schools.

Many martial artists worry that excessive muscle mass will reduce their flexibility. Therefore, they focus on exercises that only use their own body weight and often involve multiple repetitions (i.e. 50 push-ups). In contrast, power lifting relies on limited repetitions with heavy dumbbells, barbells, etc. Martial artists who use bodyweight exercises exclusively prefer to be lean, flexible and strong. They would rather look like Bruce Lee than a bulky bodybuilder. Martial arts instructors also like bodyweight training because there is less danger of someone dropping a weight on their toes or damaging the dojo floor.

All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For exercises using weights (i.e. dumbbells), please visit Black Belt Wiki’s main Strength Training section.

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Bodyweight Exercises – These pages have written instructions and/or videos

Demonstration of Various Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight Exercise Questions

Can you build muscle mass with bodyweight exercises?

Bodyweight exercises can build muscle mass, especially if a person has not done much exercise in the past. However, for significant muscle mass gain, athletes often must use more weight than provided by bodyweight exercises in order to “overload” their muscles. Many athletes use bodyweight exercises in order to build strength without adding excessive muscle mass that might impede flexibility and/or some types of athletic performance. Bodyweight exercises are also useful because they can be done almost anywhere (i.e. at home or on vacation) and without any specialized gym equipment.

For more information on the theory of muscle progressive overload, you should read this Wikipedia article.

Are bodyweight workouts effective?

Bodyweight workouts are effective for building strength and muscle endurance. They can also improve an athlete’s power and speed. Given the wide variety of bodyweight exercises, people can use bodyweight exercises to work on their upper body, lower body and/or core strength. In addition, bodyweight exercises can provide effective workouts when a person does not have access to specialized gym equipment (i.e. when they are on vacation).

Can you lose weight with bodyweight exercises?

In order to lose weight, people need to expend more calories than they consume. This can be accomplished by dieting (consume less calories) and exercise (burn off more calories). Bodyweight exercises that focus on conditioning (i.e. mountain climbers and burpees) will burn more calories than less active bodyweight exercises. However, before starting any exercise program, please see your doctor to discuss your medical health, exercise goals and weight loss objectives.

How bodyweight exercises improve strength?

Bodyweight exercises improve strength by building muscle and enhancing muscle endurance. These resistance-based exercises focus on pushing, pulling and/or holding a person’s own body weight. Moreover, bodyweight exercises can be enhanced via increased repetitions and/or more advanced techniques (i.e. plyometric exercises). Popular bodyweight exercises include push-ups, planks, pull-ups, lunges and squats.

What are some advanced bodyweight exercises?

Advanced bodyweight exercises usually include an “explosive” plyometric component (i.e. clapping or jumping) or a more concentrated technique (i.e. one legged exercises). Examples of advanced bodyweight exercises include clapping push-ups, pistol squats, burpees, one arm push-ups, etc. Before starting any exercise program, please see your doctor to discuss your medical health and exercise goals.

What are the best bodyweight exercises?

All bodyweight exercises help to build strength. However, some of the best bodyweight exercises include push-ups, planks and squats. Push-ups work on upper body strength (i.e. chest, shoulder and triceps muscles). Planks are a key exercise for core strength (i.e. abdominal, oblique and lower back muscles). Squats enhance leg strength (i.e. thigh, glute and hamstring muscles). All of these are simple bodyweight exercises and can be easily modified if an athlete wants a more intense and/or focused workout. For example, more advanced versions of these bodyweight exercises include clapping push-ups, superman planks and squat jumps.

List of Bodyweight Exercises – Push-Ups

List of Bodyweight Exercises

List of Bodyweight Exercises – Sit-Ups

Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight Exercises Images provided by Wikimedia Commons