Are You Ready to Become a Bodyweight Master?

One of the best parts about bodyweight exercises is their versatility. There’s an appropriate exercise for beginners and experts alike, and often the same exercise is suitable for varying levels of difficulty with minor tweaks in technique. In the video above, Jill Rodriguez, one of the personal trainers at, demonstrates basic bodyweight exercises and how to add levels of difficulty, as you’re able. Below I’ve also highlighted techniques for mastering three of the best bodyweight exercises of all time: Burpees, push-ups, and squats.
How to Master the Burpee

A Burpee is performed in four steps, and was originally known as a “four-count Burpee”:

-Start in a standing position and drop into a squat position (as if you’re sitting back into a chair) with your hands on the ground.
-Bring your palms to the floor and extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the front plank position.
-Return to the squat position in one quick motion.
-Return to an upright standing position.

Try it, and you’ll see that it really packs a punch, targeting your legs, glutes, arms and core, all at the same time. Do several in a row (if you can), and you’ll ramp up your calorie burn, too. If it’s too challenging at first, here’s a simple modification: Instead of going into plank position, do a Burpee by a wall. Squat down, stand up, and do a push-up against a wall. (This is especially important for anyone with knee or shoulder issues.)

How to Master the Push-Up

Push-ups don’t just give you a stronger upper body, they also train your abdominals—as long as you’re doing them correctly. I recommend watching Darin’s demonstration of the proper form, but here’s a summary of key points to remember:

-Keep your body stiff and straight as a plank
-Elbows at a 45-degree angle from your sides
-Breathe in on the way down
-Lower your body all the way down, allowing your sternum to gently touch the floor
-Breathe out on the way up

Push-ups take a certain amount of strength to perform properly, so if you’re just starting out you may want to begin by keeping your knees on the floor. Bring your heels up toward your buttocks, and keep your body straight. Go slow and use full range of motion, allowing your chest to gently touch the floor. By pulling your elbows closer to your sides, you can place more focus on your chest muscles.

How to Master the Squat

an anabolic environment, which promotes overall muscle strengthening. In the video above, personal trainer and coach Darin Steen demonstrates safe squat techniques for beginner, intermediate, and advanced. A basic squat is performed as follows:

-Warm up
-Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
-Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet
-Slowly bend your knees, hips, and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle
-Return to starting position — repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets for beginners (do this two or three times a week)
-Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position

What Can You Gain From Giving Bodyweight Exercises a Try?
Bodyweight exercises will help build your strength and cardiovascular health while improving your balance, core muscles, and flexibility. Plus, aside from the improvements to your physical state, bodyweight exercise provides some other goodies as well:-Fat is burned quickly. If you want to shed a few pounds, bodyweight training can help simply by including some Burpees. The metabolic increase they trigger will help you melt away the pounds.2

-It’s convenient. So often, the reason people do not exercise is simply that it’s inconvenient. You have to go to a gym, or go outside when it’s raining, or stay inside when it’s beautiful outdoors. With bodyweight exercise you do not need to pull equipment out and get set up. You do not need to fit exercise into a particular schedule. You just do it when it’s convenient and fits your schedule.

-It’s cheap. There is no equipment required. Your own body is all the equipment you’ll need.

-It’s fun! There’s no boredom because you can vary your workout. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variations that you can try.

-It’s satisfying. You’ll see and feel results quickly. Your mind will be sharper. You’ll feel better. If you’re overweight, you’ll probably start losing weight quickly. You’ll look better and your energy levels will increase.

Ready to get started? If you have a smartphone or tablet, try out these six bodyweight workout apps that offer video demonstrations and quick workout options so you can craft a customized bodyweight workout for your skill level.