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Bodyweight exercises are a type of strength training that uses the individual’s own weight as resistance. This type of exercise offers many benefits, such as improved muscular endurance and increased core strength. Additionally, it is a great way to improve overall fitness without using any additional equipment. Bodyweight exercises can be done in almost any location and require only minimal space.
If building muscle is one of your fitness goals but you’re stuck in the office for hours on end, fret not! You can still gain muscle mass even if you have some paperwork due. Check out these bodyweight exercises that you can do at work!
Can You Build Muscle Mass With Bodyweight Exercises?
The short and simple answer is yes, a bodyweight training routine can help you build and maintain lean muscle mass! Bodyweight exercises are a form of resistance training. Supported by numerous studies and evidence, a bodyweight workout routine stimulates the muscles to adapt, get strong, and grow. Bodyweight exercises have also been shown to be as effective as lifting weights.
What Are the Big 5 Bodyweight Workouts?
There are numerous bodyweight exercise movements. But among them all, there are five that stand out thanks to their efficiency and ease. Whether you’re a beginner or someone seasoned, these moves can help you get stronger and help you gain more muscle.
There are a myriad of reasons why planks are highly popular. People both love and hate planks because they’re incredibly challenging but have a ton of benefits as it targets major muscle groups. This great exercise can strengthen your core and spine, allowing you to improve your posture. Aside from improved strength, planks can also make you more stable, increase the definition of your muscles, and boost your metabolic rate.
Here’s how you can do a plank. Lie prone on the floor. With your elbows bent, raise yourself off the ground so that you’re suspended by your forearms and feet only. Next, squeeze your shoulder blades, tuck your hips slightly, and lock your knees out. There should be a straight line from the base of your neck to your ankles. Hold for time.
One of the best bodyweight exercises, a push-up is essentially the moving version of a plank. Push-ups can give you the same benefits as planks while also improving your upper body strength. Once you’ve mastered the basic push-up, you can modify it and try harder push-up variations to challenge yourself. For example, if you do a push-up from an elevated surface, you can extend the body’s range of motion and engage more muscle fibers.
To do push-ups, begin in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart. Engage your core by tucking in your tailbone and drawing your navel in toward your spine. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. Engage your glutes and quads. Slowly lower your body until your chest is just barely off the ground, then push yourself back up into a plank. Ensure that your body forms a straight line. Repeat as much as you can.
Burpees are a great bodyweight exercise as it tones up your lower body, upper body, and your core. To do this full-body workout, begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, go into a squat position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. From this position, push your feet back, leading you to land in a plank position.
Jump back to a squat and then jump explosively in the air. When you come down, land back into a squat position. Repeat the process as much as you can.
If you want to increase your speed and power, jump squats are what you should do. This bodyweight exercise consists of explosive movements that engage a lot of muscles, helping improve them all at the same time.
To do this exercise, squat down and keep your back in a straight line until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your bum is about level with your knee. Then, explode upwards into a jump, then go slowly descend into a squat. Perform as many as you can.
One of the best bodyweight workouts, mountain climbers aren’t only for the lower body, in fact, they help tone up the entire body as they target all the muscle groups. They’re great for beginners to have in a routine but they can also be used as their own workout if desired.
To do mountain climbers, begin in a plank position with your arms straight and fingers spread apart. Position your feet hip-width apart and your weight resting on the balls of the feet. Maintain a flat back and train your gaze between your hands. Brace your core as you lift one foot off the floor, then quickly drive your knee to your chest.
Return your foot to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Quickly alternate driving your knees in towards your chest. Do 10 to 30 reps.
Bodyweight Workout Routine to Do Anywhere
One of the great things about bodyweight exercises is that they can be done anywhere, including in the office. A bodyweight workout routine for the office can help to increase energy levels and reduce stress during a busy workday.
Want to work your lower body and back muscles? Include wall sits in your bodyweight training routine! To do this, get into the position by standing straight up and leaning your back against the wall. After this, gradually lower your body until your legs are at a 90-degree angle. Hold the position for as long as you can.
This workout improves hip mobility and knee stability. To do this, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at the sides. Take one step forward with your right foot while your left foot remains behind. Stay on the toes of your left foot. Next, bend your knees and lower your hips until the front thigh is parallel to the floor.
Push through the right heel to straighten your knees and drive your hips upward to return to the initial position. Do 8 to 12 reps, switch sides, then repeat.
To do this bodyweight exercise, start with your weight supported on your toes and hands beneath your shoulders, body straight. Take care to keep your core locked so that a straight line forms between your head, glutes, and heels. Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground, then explosively drive up by fully extending your arms.
Start in a lunge position with the right leg in front and both legs bent at 90 degrees. Lower a few inches to gain momentum, then push off and jump straight up, switching legs before landing softly in a lunge position, this time with the opposite leg in front. Do 12 reps.
Strengthen your leg muscles with this workout. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lift your right leg off the floor. Bend your standing knee to squat down as low as you can while keeping your back straight. If necessary, extend your arms forward to assist with balance. Push back up to the starting position through your left foot. Switch legs and repeat.
Doing step-ups regularly can help improve muscle imbalances. To perform the step-up, stand in front of a stable surface like a bench or a box. Place your working leg on the elevated surface, brace your core, and push yourself up. Keep almost all of your weight on the elevated leg. Switch legs, then repeat.
Handstand (Wall Walk)
This is a great bodyweight exercise that you can turn into a full headstand once you master it. To do this, lie on your stomach with your hands close to your sides and feet touching the wall behind you. Press your body off the ground and climb your feet up the wall by stepping one foot at a time. Your hands should also move one at a time to support your movement.
“Walk” all the way until your arms are fully extended and your belly button is as close to the wall as possible. Walk back down the same way you came.
Single-leg Glute Bridge
Lie on your back with your arms at the sides, feet flat, and knees bent, pointing toward the ceiling. Straighten and extend your left leg up in the air. Then, thrust forward and raise your hips off the ground as high as you can.
Clench your glutes at the top of the rep to activate more muscle fibers and see greater growth. Slowly lower yourself to the floor. Press through your right foot to return to the starting position.
This is a good exercise to include in a bodyweight training routine as it teaches your own body to move as one unit. It strengthens the core, engages your quads as you propel your feet forward, activates your hip flexors, and works your shoulders as you move your arms.
Start in a table-top position on the floor or a mat with your hands stacked directly under your shoulders, knees bent, and stacked directly under your hips. Position your feet hip-width apart. Lift your knees 2 inches off the floor.
Keeping your back flat and core engaged, move your right arm and left foot forward a few inches in a controlled manner. Then, move your left arm and right leg forward a few inches as well. Do 4 steps forward and 4 steps backward.
Lie on your back with your arms on the floor at your sides, palms facing down. Bend your knees and bring them towards your chest by contracting your abs. As they rise, roll your pelvis to lift your hips off the floor. Squeeze at the top, then gradually lower yourself until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
Lie down on your back with your arms and legs outstretched and your hands and feet lifted just above the floor. Then, raise your torso and legs up simultaneously to touch your feet. Straighten your legs but do not lock your knees as you raise them. Hold for five to 10 seconds.
Compared to a normal pull-up, the wide-grip pull-up exercise is a little more challenging as you’ll need to exert all the effort to hit your lats. To do pull-ups, you will need a pull-up bar or something similar that can hold your weight. You don’t need to have a full-sized bar though; you can install a hanging pull-up bar on your door to save you space.
To do pull-ups, grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing away from you and your arms fully extended. Your hands should be as wide as you can comfortably get them. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale, and drive your elbows towards your hips to bring your chin above the bar. Lower under control back to the start position.
You can perform bodyweight exercises pretty much anywhere! Including bodyweight workouts in your routine can help increase muscle gain and improve your body composition as well. They are an effective way to boost your fitness level without needing any equipment.
If you feel any discomfort during your workout, it’s best to stop and ask for the assistance of a personal trainer. Take care!