When training at home, bodyweight exercises are the key for building muscle. There are the well-known exercises like the push-up, sit-up, and squat, but there are also variations to these exercises that allow a great amount of muscle fibers to be recruited by increasing the resistance of the exercise.
The following exercises can be combined into a full-body workout that could be done 2-3 times a week. When doing full-body workouts, if you are truly hitting every muscle, you don’t need to do them often. This is because the optimal frequency to hit a muscle is twice a week. For more on the best number of days per week to train, this topic is covered more fully in this post.
All of these exercises can be done at home with no equipment. Equipment does add other options to training however and pieces of equipment like exercise sliders and resistance bands are a good investment.
These exercises are good to know if you are ever traveling or simply don’t have access to a gym. They can all be done only with your bodyweight and will combine to create an effective and muscle-building full body workout.
This workout will first hit your chest, shoulders, and triceps with dive bomber push-ups. Next, it will hit your shoulders, chest, and triceps again but while also stimulating your abs and obliques with L-sits. After that, you are going to be hitting your legs and a bit of core with the levitation squat. Following that, you will hit your back, glutes, and rear delts with the superman. Then, you’re finishing with the plank that’s going to hit your shoulders and triceps again and also work your abs and obliques.
The emphasis of this workout is on core, chest, shoulders, and lower back but all major muscle groups will be hit. The recommended reps and set for this workout are included in the final section.
1. Dive Bomber Push-Up
The first bodyweight exercise for this full-body workout is the dive bomber push-up.
The dive bomber push-up is done starting with your butt in the air and your weight shifted back onto your feet from the push-up position. Then, glide down towards the floor, transitioning your weight to your hands. Press upwards after gliding all the way down into a forward push-up position.
The next exercise is the L-sit. This exercise is great for abs and obliques and will further stimulate the shoulders and triceps following the dive bomber push-ups.
To do L-sits, hold your bodyweight up with your legs straight in front of you. You body should form an ‘L’ shape, hence the name of this exercise.
3. Levitation Squat
Next, after doing the L-sit for a 1-3 minute hold, go on to doing levitation squats.
Levitation squats are 1 leg squats that, instead of having your leg out in front of you, involve you tucking your leg back and using you knee to stabilize and bounce back off of once you reach the bottom of the movement. These are easier to do than pistol squats but both could be done here for a similar activation of the leg muscle.
Levitation squats are great for legs and will stimulate the quads, hams, and glutes as well as core.
After levitation squats, the fourth exercise is the superman.
The superman hits the lower back very well as well as the upper back and rear delts. Glutes are also activated and the core is needed to stabilize.
This movement is done lying on you stomach with your arms extended in front of you. From this position reach forward and raise your arms, chest, and lower body off the ground, keeping only your waist and stomach touching the floor. Contract your lower back muscles for 4-8 seconds at the top of every rep.
Finally, the last exercise is the plank.
Planks hit the shoulders, triceps, abs, and obliques.
To do a plank, lay on the ground with only your elbows and feet touching. Keep your hands out in front of your and contract your abs to keep your body straight. Hold this position for 1-3 minutes.
Bodyweight exercises are capable of providing enough resistance to develop muscle. This workout will provide enough stimulation to the muscle to grow or at least, if you’re an advanced lifter, maintain the muscle mass you have already.
An example of how this overall workout could be done is:
- Dive bomber push-ups for 8-15 reps
- L-sit for 1-3 minutes
- Levitation squat for 8-20 reps each leg
- Superman for 8-15 reps with a 4-8 second hold at top
- Plank for 1-4 minutes
- Repeat 3-5 times
All of these listed exercises do not require equipment to be done. There are more posts for muscle specific training without equipment. These posts show more exercises for specific muscle groups like the chest and back. This post lists at home chest exercises and this post goes over back exercises that don’t require equipment.