A zillion years ago, I put up the post Bodyweight Wizardry guide to creating your own home workouts. A zillion years later, I would like to put forth version 2.0. Here you go. First, some guidelines. Do them right. Only perform exercises after you've practiced them and have mastered proper form. You're not going to get any closer to your goals if you try burpees for the first time with improper form and tweak your shoulder. Or worse. Watch yourself in the mirror. Ask someone you trust to check your form. Be sure you're doing them right before you commit to 3 sets of 20. Of anything.
Pick exercises that get you closer to your goals. While squats are a great pick for almost everyone always, you may have some knee rehab you're working through that prevents that from being a best choice. Don't put it on your list if it's not going to get you closer to getting your knee healed. Consult a professional if you need help selecting the exercises that are best for you, but also use common sense and trust your gut. Consider the whole body. When you're picking bodyweight workouts, think of selecting exercises that are going to cover every part that needs to move. You can do that by selecting from my handy dandy categories below. You're welcome.
Select your timing and intensity. In advance, pick a length of time that you think you can handle each exercise. Then add 5 seconds. Be honest, but be bold. Challenge yourself. Listen to your body to tell you what exercises to up the time on, and what to pull back on. Do the same for the intensity of your movements. Enjoy!
1. Cardio Inchworm: Stand up tall with the legs straight. Take fingers to the floor, and while keeping the legs straight, and then walk the hands forward. Once in a push-up position, take small steps so the feet meet the hands.
2. Tuck Jump: Standing with the knees slightly bent, jump up as high as possibleand bring the knees in toward the chest while extending the arms straight out. Land with the knees slightly bent and quickly jump again!
3. Bear Crawl: Starting on the hands and knees, rise up onto the toes, tighten the core, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side.
4. Stair Climb or Run: Self Explanatory :)
5. Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward.
6. Walkouts: Beginning on all fours with the core engaged, slowly walk the hands forward, staying on the toes but not moving them forward. Next, gradually walk the hands backwards to the starting position, while trying not to rock the hips.
7. Burpees: One of the most effective full-body exercises around, this one starts out in a low squat position with hands on the floor. Next, kick the feet back to a push-up position, complete one push-up, then immediately return the feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible before squatting and moving back into the push-up position. There are many variations on this theme, so feel free to get creative or perform your favorite variety. Or eliminate one portion of the movement (like the jump back or the push-up) if it doesn't fit within your goals.
8. Plank-to-Push-Up: Starting in a plank position, place down one hand at a time to lift up into a push-up position, with the back straight and the core engaged. Then move one arm at a time back into the plank position (forearms on the ground). Repeat, alternating the arm that makes the first move.
9. Standard Push-Up: There’s a reason this one’s a classic. With hands shoulder-width apart, keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up (make sure to keep the elbows tucked close to the body). That’s one!
10. Dive Bomber Push-up: From a push-up position, raise up those hips and in one swift movement use the arms to lower the front of the body until the chin comes close to the floor. Swoop the head and shoulders upward and lower the hips, keeping the knees off the ground. Reverse the move to come back to the raised-hip position.