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The Simplest Muscle Building Bodyweight Exercises

For when you can't afford to go to the gym, don't have access to one, or just don't feel like going, there are always bodyweight exercises .  Bodyweight exercises are an amazing way to keep fit and are a great way for a beginnert to get accustomed to the fitness world. Bodyweight exercises are wonderful tools for developing the your physique, and perhaps best of all, they don't cost a dime!

Probably the most simple and known bodyweight exercise is the push-up. Push-ups have many varieties but they all target the same general muscle groups: the triceps and the chest. Normal grip push-ups work the chest the most while "tricep" or "diamond" push-ups - done with hands together and directly under the sternum - work the triceps more. Once you are able to crank out 15 or more reps easily, you may wish to increase the difficulty better encourage strength gains. This can be done by either filling a backpack with weights and wearing it while you do pushups, or by elevating your legs (e.g. doing pushups off a sofa).

 

Push ups

 

Another great bodyweight exercise is the pullup. Pullups stimulate mainly the biceps and the lats(the upper back). Similar to pushups, pullups come in all shapes and sorts, usually distinguishable according the grip used. When your hands face towards you, it is called a chin up and utilizes the biceps more directly. When your palms face away, it is usually called a pull up and works the lats and forearms more. Something to remember on top of these differences, is that the wider the grip, the more focus is put on the lats, while the narrower it gets, more focus is put on the arms.

Pull Ups

 

Now let's talk about the squasts. They build muscle in the thighs, shape the buttocks and improve endurance.   Position your feet about 13 to 17 inches apart or at shoulder width, keeping the back straight and your head up.  If you want you can use something that will give you some support, i.e. a desk, bookcase, sink etc.  
Now squat down to where the tops of the thighs are parallel to the floor, hold for a second and then stand up, but don’t bounce at the bottom of the movement, use a nice fluid motion. Always exhale your breath as you stand up. 

Hindui Squats

 

Another effective exercise for legs is the lunges. Stand straight in correct posture; now stand with one leg forward and one leg back.  Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and chest up, lower your upper body down, bending your leg (don't step out too far). 
You should have about one to two feet between your feet at this stage, the further forward you step, and the more your gluteus and hamstring muscles will have to work. 
Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down and stop where your feel comfortable (try not to let your back come forward) then push directly back up. Do all your reps on one leg then switch legs and do all your reps on the other leg. 

Lunges

 

The last bodyweight is the dips. This exercise can be done between two sturdy chairs or other surfaces that provide stability. The dip is another great upper body exercise. It’s a compound movement as well and involves working all the muscles that the push up works. 
Keep your head up and body as vertical as possible.  For the beginning of the movement, start at the top (arms fully extended) and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the seat of the chairs, hold and then push up to the top of the movement until your arms are fully extended again. Keep looking straight ahead and don’t bounce at the bottom of the movement.

 
Dips

 

Adding Additional Resistance

Although the simple weight of your own body is enough resistance to provide an effective workout we need progressive overload (added resistance) to become stronger. 
So all we need to do is add some weight wherever we can find some.  Because there are no metal plates and fancy machines to use it doesn’t matter because the body doesn’t care where it is as long as it's receiving resistance of some kind.  
You can use heavy books clasped in your hands. You can buy some cheap weighted dumbbells or ankle weights.  A weighted vest will also allow you to add resistance for both chin-ups and push-ups.  Try to buy one that will let you remove and add weight as you see fit. Also a backpack filled with books can be perfect for most of the exercises and is a cheap alternative.
How about a couple of buckets and fill them with a certain level of water? As you get stronger fill them with more water. This is perfect because depending on the exercise, all you need to do is to increase or decrease the amount of water in the buckets for the required amount of resistance.

weighted pull ups

 

To Wrap Things Up...

Bodyweight exercises are extremely valuable to people of fitnesses of all levels. It is wonderful to be able to experience noticeable gains without having to spend any money or leave the house at all.

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