best bodyweight exercises

Best Bodyweight Exercises To Build Muscle

Health Tips

Best Bodyweight Exercises To Build Muscle Anywhere


You might have experienced at least for once – that disappointment feeling when you get to see no free bench and machine in the gym. All you can do is either wait for your turn or get back home. 

Well, not anymore! It’s your workout time, and you rightfully earn every minute of it. So, don’t wait for your turn, rather find a small spare corner for yourself in the gym and blast off your workout with these top bodyweight exercises that will keep you ahead in the race of gains!

Let’s do it :


Pull-Ups | Chin-Ups :
Closeup of young strong teenage athlete doing pull-up on horizontal bar

First and foremost, there is a difference between chin-ups and pull-ups.

  • Chin-Ups: Your palms are facing towards you and there is a greater emphasis placed upon the biceps.
  • Pull-Ups: Your palms are facing away from you and there is less emphasis on the biceps.

Chin and pull-ups are both great exercises that will help you build a strong back and arms.

The ‘best’ is the one that suits your goals, but world-renowned strength coach, Jason Ferruggia, advocates parallel-grip chin-ups (palms facing each other). This is because it is easier on the shoulders and elbows, which helps prevent injury in the long run.

Jason also recommends using gymnastic rings, which are a great addition to your training arsenal if you regularly train in parks or playgrounds.


Push-Ups :

Push ups are brilliant for building strength through the chest, shoulders and triceps.

It’s a great exercise to master before moving on to the (much more strenuous) bench press. The push up allows you to build adequate strength in your upper body and stability through your torso, better equipping your body to bear weight.

Doing repeated push ups can get a little monotonous, but there is a multitude of ways to vary and progress with this exercise. For example, elevate the feet on a nearby step, adapt your hand position, or make the movement plyometric by adding a clap. All of these variations will add difficulty and stop you from getting bored.

Bodyweight Squat :

Squats hit just about every muscle in the lower-body, and develop great balance, stabilization, coordination and athleticism.

I’m not going to write about them in too much detail here, as I did that for the Squat Challenge That Works.

Below are a few regressions and progressions, but if you want to be walked through them all, progressing from the basic bodyweight squat all the way to the pistol, then I highly suggest you check out the Squat Challenge That Works.


Burpee :

Chest, Triceps, Delts, Quads and Hamstring


  • Start off with a standing position with hands on the side.
  • Drop down to a squat position but with your palms on the ground.
  • Kick your legs back while keeping your arms extended.
  • You will be now in a high plank position.
  • From high plank position, immediately return to squat position.
  • Jump from this position to finish the first rep.

Make sure that you extended your feet simultaneously and not one by one. To make a burpee more challenging add a push up to the high plank position.


Plank :

Rectus abdominal (abs) and Transverse Abdominus


  • Begin with a press-up position.
  • Rest your body weight onto your forearms by bending your elbows.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and make sure that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  • Suck your stomach and thereby engage your core.
  • Hold this position as long as you can.

The key to staying longer in plank lies in the high-class stability of shoulders along with ultimate strength in abs, lower back, and legs. Planks are your ‘shortcut’ to building super core strength.


Glute Bridge | Hip Thrusts :

When most people think about bridges, they think of the glute bridge or short bridge (pictured above).

It’s a great exercise, but it’s also very easy. Which leads most people to discount bridges as one of the best bodyweight exercises for building muscle.

But as Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning says: “If I had to name the most important strength-building exercise in the world, it would be the bridge. Nothing else even comes close.”

Bridging variations work more or less every muscle in your posterior chain, including your back, hamstrings, and glutes… But you’ll need to up the challenge from the short or glute bridge to reap the rewards.

There aren’t really any regressions for this exercises, so let’s dive straight into the progressions…


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