What you’re about to read isn’t rocket science: the more extra weight you carry, the harder any bodyweight exercise will be. For this reason, overweight people – especially males – prefer to hit the weights right away, as they find bodyweight training too difficult.
It’s true that if you have a couple of dozen pounds extra, lifting weights will do more than push-ups or pull-ups(probably because you can’t do much of them). Once you start gaining some fitness, however, you might easily find that bodyweight exercises do more for your entire body while taking less time and work. Don’t expect them to get any easier, though, and there are always ways to add more resistance as you get progressively fitter. Here are the best bodyweight exercises to tone your body and get yourself in fighting shape, or just prime yourself for hitting the beach when summer comes around.
The Best Body Weight Exercises To Tone
- Push-ups: Of course the good old push-up is going to be the first on this list. This exercise has been around longer than anyone can remember, and is still used by everyone – pro athletes, the military, hobbyists, children in PE class… How many push-ups you can do is a very good indicator of your overall fitness, especially if you have extra weight. They train your entire body, including the cardiovascular system, and can also increase your explosiveness to boot. Plus, they never really get easy – if you think they’re no problem, you should know that there are people who can do a hundred push-ups in 2 minutes, so try getting there yourself.
- Pull-ups: Even harder to do for overweight people, pull-ups won’t do much for your lower body but will make everything above your torso powerful and toned – that includes your mind, as you will have to gain mental toughness in order to do more of this strenuous exercise. You can hit various muscle groups by altering your grip or head position, and you can also attach weights to your lower body for increased resistance.
- Crunches/sit-ups and hanging leg raises: Of these three exercises, sit-ups will tone the most muscles in your body – your entire abdomen, the sides and much of your lower back. Unfortunately, some find them to be too stressful for the spine, preferring to focus on crunches instead, which won’t burn as many calories and will only hit your midsection. Hanging leg raises are an alternative to these two, and will give your abs and lower back a brutal workout.
- Squats with/without weight and pistols: The squat is a beloved exercise, with some swearing it’s the most important of them all. A large volume of weightless squats will quickly tone your legs and buttocks from top to bottom, especially if you stand on your toes when rising. To improve your balance and hit those difficult-to-reach muscles, you can try the pistol, a one-legged squat exercise that’s also a great way to impress your friends. For the hardcore fitness freak, though, nothing can replace a squat with some additional weight placed on your upper body – a barbell, a weighted box or even a rock. Weighted squats will quickly tone your legs and increase their muscle mass, and they’ll also give you a general feeling of good fitness.