Losing weight and keeping it off are two different challenges. Often, individuals put tons of work in to burn away their body fat, but then struggle to keep it off over the ensuing months and years. Sadly, it's almost a cliché to say that "most people gain more weight than they originally lost" when it comes to discussing weight loss in general. The truth is, this is entirely avoidable if you can consistently exercise after you complete your weight loss goal. If going to the gym or doing endless hours of cardio is not your thing, we have some good news to share. We've put together 10 of the best bodyweight exercises to keep your weight down for good.
Bodyweight exercises can be an incredibly effective way to not only lose weight, but keep it off for good. You can even build muscle and improve your core strength through bodyweight exercises, and boost your physical appearance and health, all from the comfort of your own home or local park. Note that you'll need to maintain the healthy eating habits that led to your fat loss success. However, there's absolutely no denying that keeping your weight down is far easier if you are willing to incorporate exercise into your life and build some additional muscle.
The following are our top 10 bodyweight exercises to keep your weight down for good. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, depending on your current strength level. Take 30 seconds between each set, and repeat for between two to four total sets, pending your time and fitness. Keep reading to learn more, and next, don't miss 13 Tips To Lose 10 Pounds Quickly.
From boot camp to home workouts, the pushup is an incredibly effective bodyweight exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps, building upper body strength, muscle tone, and core stability, all while increasing overall calorie burn.
To perform pushups, start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart and your feet together. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping your spine neutral and your core engaged. Continue lowering until your chest is about an inch off the ground, then push back up to the starting position. Do not allow your hips to sag during the range of motion. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Squats are a no-brainer when it comes to planning out a killer bodyweight workout routine for keeping your weight down and your muscles strong. Squats hit multiple muscle groups, including your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, making them an excellent calorie-burning exercise as well as a lower-body muscle builder.
To perform squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart with your toes pointed slightly outward. Lower your body by bending at your knees and sticking your hips back, as if you are sitting in a chair. Keep your chest up and your spine neutral throughout the movement. Push through your entire foot evenly on both sides to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
We are major fans of lunges for balance, stability, muscle-building, and calorie burning/fat loss. Lunges target the lower body, hitting your quads, glutes, and hammies differently than squats while improving your walking and running mechanics.
To perform lunges, stand with your feet hip-width apart and with your toes pointed forward. Step forward with one foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee is around one inch off the ground. As you lower, rotate your back foot inward slightly for a smooth range of motion. Aim to have your front knee directly above your ankle while your back knee hovers above the ground. Push through your front foot to return to the starting position, then switch legs. You can step the back leg forward to do walking lunges, or step the front foot back to stay in one place. Repeat for the target repetitions on both sides.
Planks are a killer bodyweight exercise for strengthening your core and promoting better posture and general lower-back health. They also help tone up your abs for a more attractive appearance. Since these are completed via a static hold instead of repetitions, perform sets of 30 to 45 seconds, depending on your current abilities.
To perform planks, begin in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your elbows directly below your shoulders. Engage your core, and keep your body in roughly a straight line from head to toe. Do not allow your hips to sag. Hold for the target time.
Mountain climbers provide a full-body workout and elevate your heart rate, making them an excellent fat-burning exercise. They hit your hips flexors, abdominal muscles, and shoulder muscles due to the stability of holding the pushup plank position. They also help shred up your core for an impressive beach body.
To perform mountain climbers, start in a pushup position with your hands shoulder-width distance apart. Bring one knee toward your chest, keeping your foot off the ground and balancing on the other foot and your two hands. Quickly switch legs, moving your opposite knee towards your chest. Maintain a steady pace, and keep your core engaged throughout the exercise. You can also perform them slow and steady, which is recommended if you have lower-back issues. Repeat for target repetitions.
Few bodyweight exercises are as brutal as burpees. Burpees offer a full-body workout and significantly increase your heart rate, boosting your metabolism and burning calories. This move is less of a muscle-building exercise, because there's not a ton of time under tension, but it does provide excellent metabolic stimulus.
To perform burpees, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Quickly drop down into a pushup position, placing your hands on the ground in front of you and kicking your feet back. Quickly bounce your feet back to the squat position. Jump up explosively, extending your arms above your head. Absorb the landing with a squat, and immediately drop down into the next repetition. Repeat for the target repetitions.
You will need parallel bars, a bench, or a chair to perform dips. Dips are a great way to hit your chest, shoulders, and triceps, with some core targeting as well. This exercise also provides some nice calorie burn and metabolic boost.
To perform dips (example discussed using a chair variation), sit in front of a chair. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the chair behind you, fingers pointing forward. Extend your legs out in front of you with your heels on the ground. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Push through your hands to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Bicycle crunches target the obliques and lower abs, helping to create a fully 3D toned core while also increasing overall calorie burn.
To perform bicycle crunches, lie flat on your back with your hands placed lightly behind your head. Lift your head, shoulders, and feet off the ground by engaging your core. Bring one knee toward your chest, and rotate your torso to bring the opposite elbow to the raised knee. Extend the other leg out as if pedaling a bicycle. Switch sides, repeating the movement with the opposite knee and elbow. Repeat on both sides for target repetitions.
Jumping jacks are a safe but effective way to burn calories without any equipment. You can bump up your pace for increased burn, but try to find a rhythm with whatever pace you choose. For jumping jacks, we recommend 30 to 40 repetitions per set given the brevity of each rep.
To perform jumping jacks, stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump and spread your legs while raising your arms overhead in a snow angel motion. As you land, quickly reverse the movement, jumping back to the starting position. Maintain a smooth rhythm throughout the exercise. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The last of our bodyweight exercises to keep your weight down for good is the glute bridge. The glute bridge is a killer floor movement that targets the glutes and hamstrings. This exercise strengthens these muscles while increasing calorie burn. It also promotes better posture by "waking up" your glutes.
To perform glute bridges, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Place your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the ground, pushing evenly into the floor with both feet. Raise your hips until they form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lower your hips back down to the ground. Repeat for the target repetitions.