Best Bodyweight Exercises to Increase Muscle Mass

Bodyweight Exercises - Jed Miller - Long Beach Personal Trainer


As a Long Beach Personal Trainer I’ve heard every reason (excuse) for not working out.  Rainy day, no gym membership, no time, etc.  I realize hiring a personal trainer or joining a boot camp might not be an option for everyone so I want to give you a short list of the very best things you can do at home to build muscle and reduce fat.  Even if you don’t fully understand the science of fat loss you can start burning body fat and building lean muscle right away with basic exercises.

For maximum results must follow a sensible meal plan. and exercise regularly, not just when you feel like it.

Bodyweight Exercises You Need To Know


  • PUSH-UPS – If you’ve trained with me you know I love push ups and incorporate them into nearly all personal training workouts.  They fit perfectly into HIIT Long Beach CA sessions too. You can do standard push ups or modified (from the knees) push ups are great too if that allows you to keep perfect form.  Some people call modified push ups “Girl Push Ups” but I don’t because even the strongest people can go standard to failure and then modify for additional push ups.  Push-up bodyweight exercise allow you to efficiently work out your chest, shoulders, back and arms all at the same time.  Awesome!


  • PULL UPS – Okay, pull ups aren’t exactly beginners bodyweight exercises but did you know that you can use an exercise band (or two) for extra support?  You can start off with support and eventually do solo pull ups.  Stay with it and your max rep count will increase faster than you might expect.  If you’re working out at home you’ll need a door mount pull up bar which usually costs $20 to $50. Check for the best deal on a quality setup.
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  • PLANK – Often referred to as a core specific exercise, plank position is actually a full body muscle builder. Additionally the plank is something you can do daily or every other day because the total workload is spread fairly evenly throughout the body. You might feel the most work being done in the mid-section but rest assure the core is resilient ad will heal quickly.


  • SQUATS – Squats are at the top of the list for bodyweight exercises that shape your legs…well it’s a tie between squats and lunges.  Squats are great because you can effectively work your legs top to bottom and you’ve got plenty of options to combine them with upper body and core work for compound exercises.  Squats train your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves all at the same time.


  • LUNGES – With so many lunge options the possibilities are endless.  Bodyweight exercises for legs should almost always include some variation of lunges in order to use your own body weight to work multiple muscle groups through the legs.  Lots of people automatically think of walking lunges but if space is limited (hotel room, small room in your house, garage, etc.) you’ve got plenty of stationary options.


Increase Fat Burning by Adding These:

  • BURPEES – If you’re not sure how to do a burpee check out this burpee demonstration.  If you already know how to do them you know how tough they are.  Burpees are the perfect bodyweight exercises to work the entire body all at once with a good helping of cardio mixed in.  Always make sure you have great form and keep going until you hit your target number of reps and sets.  You’ll be able to increase those numbers quickly if you do burpees regularly.  A full burpee includes a push up on each rep and you know how important push ups can be in your workouts.  In the Burpee family there are plenty of variations such as Hip Thrusters, Bend and Thrust, Jump Thrus and other bodyweight exercises that give you an intense, results producing workout.
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  • RUN / WALK / ELLIPTICAL & OTHERS – Of course I had to put the basic cardio exercise on the list.  Cardiovascular workouts might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of body-weight exercises but think again.  Cardio such as running, walking (if you’re just starting out or have injuries preventing you from running), elliptical machines, row machines, spinning, exercise bikes, outdoor cycling (road or off road) and anything else that gets your heart pumping by movement are all bodyweight exercises.  For great fat loss results keep your maximum workload for a bare minimum of 25 minutes per cardio workout.  If you’re opposed to doing cardio workouts I’d suggest using plyometric exercises (Plyo) for a much better, time-saving substitution, which produces far better results.



If you want to know more about bodyweight exercises or personal training contact Level 9 Fitness. We’re always happy to answer your questions and offer trial personal training session in Long Beach California.


Jed Miller

Certified Master Fitness Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Blogger and all around fitness and health nut. In addition to highly personalized fitness training, JM has worked in health club management as well as corporate wellness.

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