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Body Weight Training

by Alexandra Parren
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Body Weight Exercises

You don't need a gym membership to get fit! Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and with no equipment, so there are no excuses.

What are body weight exercises?

There are two types of body weight exercises. Callisthenics refers to gymnastic-style exercises which are often performed with bars, gym rings, or parallets. These exercises include pull ups, muscle ups, triceps dips etc. These exercises work on the principle of using your body weight to perform a high-intensity move and to push your body to develop new skills including balance and power.

The second type of body weight exercises is low-impact exercises which don't use weights, such as air squats and press ups. These exercises do not use any equipment whatsoever and therefore can be performed anywhere. They are not quite as effective as callisthenics as there is no external force causing the body to need to adapt and get stronger, but you can maintain a decent level of fitness with these low-impact moves.

Are body weight exercises effective?

Body weight exercises are hugely effective in helping to build muscle and burn fat. A lot of calisthenic moves are highly challenging and physically demanding and require a lot of balance and coordination.

Examples of body weight exercises


Handstands are a classic gymnastics move and require a lot of core strength and balance. It takes a lot of time and patience to master the handstand, but once you do, you can work your shoulders and core to the max. Increase the intensity by performing handstand push ups or handstand walks.


Chin ups differ from pull-ups due to the position of the hands. You work the biceps and back as well as the core. They are very tough and you may need assistance before you can do one with full body weight. Most gyms have assisted chin up machines or you can ask a friend to hold your feet.

Triceps Dips

Triceps Dips are the perfect exercise for targeting the triceps and can easily be adapted to make the move easier or harder. Add weight for an extra kick or perform bench dips to lift less of your body weight.

Press Ups

Another classic exercise, this move works the chest, shoulders, and core. Perform chest and shoulder workouts in order to improve your press ups and try adding these as a superset to increase the burn during at upper body workout.


Basic squats, sumo squats, split leg squats and perhaps the toughest of them all pistol squats are all body weight exercises which focus on developing leg strength.

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