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When you are brand new to health and fitness, working out in the gym can be very stressful. You’re not quite sure which workouts to do nor do you know which workouts will increase your comfortability with strength training.  Bodyweight training is a great way to start becoming more comfortable with resistance training. It doesn’t require any equipment, and it can be performed anywhere!

Bodyweight exercising is a form of strength training that does not require free weights or machines. Instead, you are using your weight to create resistance against gravity. If you are consistent with bodyweight training and performing a lot of reps, these exercises are very effective.

Bodyweight exercises are the least likely to result in injury and also build good physical endurance. Unlike traditional weightlifting, you can perform the same workouts daily without needing a rest day.

Now, I’m sure you’re incredibly excited to find out which workouts are classified as bodyweight routines.  Below are the top ten bodyweight exercises that I recommend adding to your workout plan.

1) Air Squats:

This is a fitness essential! This workout will help strengthen your quads, glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings.  To begin, stand with your feet shoulder length apart. Next slowly bend at the waist, as if you’re about to sit down on a chair. When you come back up, drive through the heels and squeeze your glutes together at the top.  This is one rep.

2) Standing Back extension:

Great for lower back muscle activation. Start by standing straight up with your legs slightly apart. Bend at the hips while keeping a very slight bend in your knee. Come down to an almost 90-degree angle and slowly come back up while contracting lower back muscle.

3) Lying Glute Bridges:

Perfect for building your booty. Lye on your back with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle with your feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your side with your palms facing down. Drive your pelvis towards the ceiling, while squeezing your glutes together, and hold for a count of 2 seconds then release back to starting position. This completes one rep.

4) In Place Lunges:

This is a quad focused movement. It’s best performed one leg at a time.  To begin, stand straight up, with legs side-by-side, keeping your chest upright. Choose a leg to start with and drop that leg perpendicular to the ground.  Do not extend your knee over your foot. Push back up with your front leg while keeping your back foot in place. That constitutes one rep.

5) Single Leg Deadlift:

Start in standing position with your arms at your side and both your feet together.  Slightly bend your left knee as you lean forward bending at the hips while raising your right leg behind you. Reach your arms towards the floor and try to touch it with your fingertips. Raise your upper body while lowering your right leg.  That completes one rep. Switch legs and then repeat.

6) Calf Raises:

This exercise will build your calf muscles! Begin by standing straight up with both feet placed firmly on the ground. Next, raise your heels off the ground and hold for 5-10 seconds, while pushing through your toes. Resume standing with feet flat on the ground and then repeat the process.

7) Planks:

Planks are great for strengthening your core. Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your heels up, toes touching the ground, and forearms extended (Fist facing up and elbows touching the ground). Next, raise your core. Be sure to keep your body parallel to the ground and avoid curving your back. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds while contracting your abs and squeezing your glutes.

8) Push-ups:

This exercise is perfect for building chest muscles and stimulates triceps as well. Start in plank position with arms extended shoulder-width apart with palms down and heels up. You should be resting on the tips of your toes and your palms. You should NOT be lying flat on the ground. Make sure your core is tight, your body is in a straight line, and that your elbows are 45 degrees from your body. Now, slowly bend at the elbow. Once you are parallel to the ground, push your body back up to the starting position.  This is one push-up.

9) Burpee:

This a great full body workout and will increase your heart rate. Assume the push-up position and perform one push-up. Once complete, kick feet forward into frog position, then jump straight up reaching for the sky. When coming down, reverse steps back into frog (squat position) then kick feet back into a high plank. Rise and repeat.

10) Bicycle:

Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Bring your left elbow toward your right knee, while slightly twisting at the core. Then alternate sides by bringing your right elbow towards your left knee and twisting at the core.  Continuously repeat the exercise.

Add these exercises to your workout routine to help increase your comfort level with weight training.  Remember the more reps you perform, the more you will get out of each movement. Over time, you can start adding weights to these exercises to make them more difficult. This will also help you move towards a weightlifting regimen.

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