Benefits and Variations of Bodyweight Exercises

Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

You don’t have to be a gym rat to see considerable gains in strength, muscle mass and endurance. Although many people incorporate bodyweight exercises into their weightlifting regime, it is not necessary to see the results that you want.

Simple bodyweight exercises can be very rewarding and effective in reaching your goals. Here’s a list of benefits that it can provide you, followed by my all time favourite exercises:


As explained in our article about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), the time efficiency is a key factor as to why this type of workout is so effective. Short, intense bursts of bodyweight exercises are much more favoured by people on time constraints, providing the same benefits of a longer, less intense workout.

Perfect strength / cardio combination

Bodyweight exercises like pylometrics are for those who want to build up their fitness levels as well as see considerable results in terms of strength. For those who don’t want the long distance runner physique, but also do not want to have the bulky look, bodyweight exercises provide the perfect foundation for a middle ground appearance; athletic, toned and have proportionate muscles due to the exercises training all the surrounding muscles, not allowing certain ones to ‘pop out’ more than others, whereas one can over/undertrain certain muscle groups in a conventional gym environment using predominantly isolation exercises.

benefits of bodyweight exercise

Potential to burn fat – fast

One way to stimulate our EPOC (afterburn effect) in which our metabolism rises considerably after exercise is by performing the exercises shown below. Incorporating these into a circuit and performing these in short bursts of high intensity can yield maximum results. To learn more about this, read our steps on how to get a 6 pack fast which outlines tips and techniques to stimulate the ‘afterburn effect’.


Whether you’re skint for change or driving a Bugatti, the idea of cutting back on costs can be appealing to anybody. And that’s all you need; your body. The best thing is that it can be performed at any place, anywhere (within reason, if you value your career and relationships).

Whether you are smaller or larger than average, each body type has it’s perks when it comes to these exercises. Larger people can have all the benefits of lifting a heavier weight, whereas lighter people can work on doing higher repetitions until muscle failure. Another free exercise (once you have bought the skipping rope) is skipping; Jumping rope can be classed as a form of body weight exercise and can help to accentuate the results achieved by these bodyweight techniques.

Effective for results

One advantage I would say this type of exercise holds over certain weightlifting exercises is the capacity to hit many muscle groups at once. These are called compound movements, which, in the fitness community, is common knowledge as being more beneficial in terms of strength and overall muscle growth than isolation exercises (targeting individual muscle groups – think concentration curl for biceps).

Can increase flexibility

The reason why many people think that bodybuilding decreases flexibility is because when we do not perform a full range of motion in any given exercise, flexibility can be decreased.

With bodyweight movements, we allow our bodies to move all the way through the movement, which if done correctly, can increase flexibility and allow the joints to move freely. Other perks can include improved posture and may reduce the chance of exercise-related injury.

Variations of bodyweight exercises

Think you are up to the challenge?

Here are some top bodyweight exercises which tend to have alternate movements for all fitness levels (but make sure you ALWAYS have good form to prevent injury).


The great thing about planking (and most bodyweight exercises) is the amount of muscles which can be trained at the same time.

Muscles used: shoulders, neck, biceps, chest, lower back, buttocks, thighs, calves and abs.



Note: looking out the window is not necessary

Pull ups

This helps to build a predominant V shape, while also building them guns (biceps).

As you hang from the bar, you can pull yourself up until your chin is higher than your hands. Lower yourself down until you are hanging then repeat.

Muscles used: biceps, lats and back muscles.


bodyweight exercise benefits

Squat jump

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a squat position. From here, jump as high as you can, landing with soft knees before jumping again.

Muscles used: Quads, Hamstrings, buttocks, gluteus maximum and the calves.


HIIT benefits

Make sure to do it on a flat surface with a large surface area, unlike the athletes in the picture because this can be dangerous and may result in injury.


While suspending yourself over parallel bars, lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor and your forearms at a 90 degrees angle.

Muscles used: The chest, arms, shoulders and back are used, with the tricep and pectorial muscles working the hardest.

Variations and alternatives

bodyweight exercise dips

Cautionary note: Make sure to stretch before performing any of these exercises because neglecting to do so may result in injury. Please contact a healthcare professional before attempting any of these if you have any current medical conditions or are not in top form. We take no responsibility for any bodyweight exercises performed from this site as all exercises are posted for educational and entertainment use only.

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