10 At-Home Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
Boxers spend long hours in the studio, using a wide range of training equipment. Sometimes, we just cannot get to the gym. However, that doesn't mean that you're limited in your training options. Even without the help of boxing facilities, a boxer can perform many beneficial bodyweight exercises wherever they may find themselves.
Bodyweight Exercises and How They Impact Performance
Bodyweight exercises are merely exercises which use your body’s weight (and gravity) as the resistance you need as opposed to using various forms of weights or machines. While having equipment to workout with is an asset when targeting muscles and keeping things interesting, getting back to basics is an effective way to build muscle, increase your heart rate, and burn fat when free weights and heavy bags aren't available.
If you can't get to the gym or the Gloveworx boxing studio, shift your mindset to view it as an opportunity. Focus on improving your boxing form with some shadowboxing sessions, or your mobility and flexibility with boxing yoga cross-training.
Use the exercises listed here to create a combination lower and upper body bodyweight circuit to keep you moving during your time at home. Here are ten of our favorite at-home bodyweight exercises.
Upper Body Bodyweight Exercises
The classic push-up usually needs no introduction, but there are some variations to make it easier or harder. Push-ups are one of the fundamental compound bodyweight exercises, that contributes to upper body muscle growth and core strength and stability.
How to perform push-ups:
- Get in a plank position with hands shoulder-width apart.
- Tuck your elbows and lower yourself down to the floor.
- Push yourself up into the starting position. Maintain a firm core and straight back.
With your knees on the ground and your toes elevated, lower your torso to the ground and back up using your arms.
Lift one leg or one arm up while performing push-ups.
Push-ups work your chest, back, core and arm muscles, particularly triceps. Be careful not to place your weight on your wrists as this can cause injury and strain.
This exercise uses your body weight as resistance for a powerful upper body workout. However, the move will require some sort of secure mechanism from which you can hang, such as a door frame, wall, or pull up bar.
- Using a firm forward grip, arms just past shoulder-width, grab a hold of the bar or frame overhead.
- Tighten your back and pull yourself up as forcefully as you can until your chin is over the bar.
- Lower yourself and straighten your arms to complete the motion.
Use a kipping swing or stand on a resistance band, tied to the top of the bar to help alleviate some of the weight and difficulty until you develop enough strength.
Add resistance by holding a dumbbell between your feet. If you don't have free weights, you can take your strength training to the next level by using slow lowers and extending the period it takes to come back to full extension.
This exercise develops complete upper body strength as it challenges the muscle groups responsible for both pulling and pushing movements. It also develops coordination, timing and balance.
Lower Body Bodyweight Exercises
3. Bodyweight Squats
Bodyweight squats are a staple when it comes to at-home bodyweight workouts. They're a great addition to a high-intensity interval training circuit. These compound bodyweight exercises work both the lower body muscle groups as well as build core strength.
- Place legs hip-width apart.
- With your chest up, hinge your hips to squat down as if sitting down in a chair. Keep a strong core and control the movement— your knees should stay stacked over your feet and not extend over your toes.
- Return to standing by pushing your heels into the ground and exploding upward.
Use a box to sit down on until you develop enough balance and strength to complete the movement unassisted and to depth.
Pistol Squat- This single-leg squat takes a lot of balance and coordination. Raise one leg at a time out in front of you, parallel to the ground. You can use a chair or wall for balance but ensure you do not place your weight on it or create a progression plan using implements of various heights.
This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It also develops balance and concentration. Remember to keep your back straight and put your weight on your heels.
4. Jumping Lunges
Lunges are another staple for at-home bodyweight exercises. Jumping lunges are an explosive, compound exercise that will take your bodyweight training to the next level.
- Bend one knee in front of you and plant your foot firmly on the floor. Your other leg will extend behind you, knee touching the ground. Ensure that your front leg is far enough in front of you so that your back is straight and your knee does not extend over your toes.
- From this position, jump up and switch legs in mid-air so that you land with legs in opposite positions.
- Repeat as quickly as possible, while still maintaining form.
Regular lunges or 360 lunges, (without the jump) are suitable for those with knee issues.
Add resistance, by holding dumbbells or placing a sandbag on your shoulders as you jump. If you don't have free weights, you can add a backpack filled with books for an effective at-home workout.
This combines cardiovascular exercise and strengthening of the entire leg, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To prevent injury, maintain form. Start very slowly and try to land softly. Proceed with extra caution if your knees are more prone to injury.
Core Strengthening Bodyweight Exercises
5. L-Sit Core Exercises
In the gym, L-sits are often conducted while hanging from a pull-up bar. You can emulate this at home by pushing up from the floor.
- Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you and your hands at your sides.
- From here, lift your entire body off the ground, supporting yourself on your hands. Alternatively, you can use overhead rings or a bar to pull yourself off the ground if you have this equipment at home.
- Hold this position for as long as you can and gently lower yourself onto the ground.
Place your legs on a block or a stack of books to relieve the weight placed on hands and torso.
Add resistance by placing a weight on your lap.
This exercise strengthens your core muscles as well as the entire upper body. It also develops balance and coordination. This exercise can be harsh on the wrists, especially if you are heavier. Proceed with caution.
Planks are a versatile isometric exercise that increases core strength. It's a great addition to an upper body bodyweight circuit, as well as an important introductory exercise for other movements, such as mountain climbers.
- Start in a quadriped positon with your hands and knees on the floor. Tuck your toes and move into a plank position by stepping your feet out behind you. You can either keep your hands on the ground stacked beneath your shoulders, or get down onto your forearms with your elbows stacked beneath your shoulders.
- Keeping your legs close together without touching, your arms shoulder-width apart, and your back in a straight line. Ensure that your torso and your glutes do not drop below your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes to activate your core muscles.
- Hold this position for as long as you can. About 60 seconds is ideal.
Place your knees on the ground, and raise your feet.
Raise one arm or one leg. If you really need an extra challenge, you can even do both, alternating raising left arm with your right leg and vice versa.
This exercise strengthens the entire core. If you’re shaking, you’re doing it right. This can be harsh on the joints in the arm and ankles so process with caution and use the modified version if you have joint problems.
Advanced Compound Bodyweight Exercises
Burpees are the bodyweight training exercise we all love to hate. This full-body workout is a must-add to your high-intensity interval training circuit at home and the studio.
- From a standing position, squat down quickly into a crouched position, emulating a frog.
- Place hands on the ground in front of you and then jump your feet back behind you until you are in a high plank position. Do a push-up.
- Reverse these movements. From the push-up position, jump/walk back into crouching position and then back up. You can even jump up back into a standing position in a jumping jack type motion. Clap overhead to applaud your efforts.
Walk into position, instead of jumping. Perform a modified push-up if needed.
You can perform a one-handed or clap push-up or wear a weighted vest or even both.
This is a full body exercise for strength, endurance, cardio fitness and it helps boxers develop explosive movement. Again, maintain form and work at your own pace to avoid injury and strain, especially to your wrists and knees
8. Jumping Knee-Ups
Also known as jump squats, these explosive compound movements will take your high intensity interval training to the next level.
- Squat down and jump straight up, as high as you can.
- As you jump, lift your knees to your chest and lower to land.
- Repeat as many times as possible, while maintaining form.
Squat and Jump as two separate movements, remove the leg tuck during the jump. You can also use a bar for extra support.
Add resistance with a sandbag or hold dumbbells.
This explosive progression of bodyweight squats works the lower body and core, and builds explosive movement. This can be harsh on knees so remember to start slowly to master form and to land carefully.
At-Home Bodyweight Cardio Exercises
9. Jumping Jacks
This classic will get your blood flowing!
- Standing, jump and open legs apart, with arms extended overhead and out.
- Jump feet back together and bring arms together simultaneously.
To alleviate the impact on knees and ankles, you can remove the jump and instead, walk side to side briskly.
X-Jump-- Jump up as high as you can and spread legs in the air, forming an X-shape with your body. Land carefully into a squat and repeat rapidly.
Jumping jacks are simple cardio and a complete body exercise. They're a great addition to your workout routine for getting your heart rate up either as a warm-up or circuit training exercise. This can be harsh on ankles and knees for some.
10. Running High Knees
- Run on the spot, as quickly as possible, lifting knees to chest.
March briskly or reduce intensity.
Run forward while doing high knees.
Running on the spot with high knees is a simple, yet great, cardio, leg and core exercise.
Circuit training is a method of exercise that uses brief and-- usually-- high-intensity intervals of varying exercises, with little to no rest in between. A complete circuit is all of the prescribed exercises performed back to back.
Benefits of Circuit Training For Boxers
Circuit training may be intense, but the benefits make it well worth it. Circuit training and bodyweight exercises have been shown to:
- Burns calories.
- Work many muscle groups in one workout.
- Improve strength, endurance, cardiovascular performance.
Build Your Own Circuit
There are many great circuit workouts available online, but you can also devise your own using your favorite bodyweight exercises as listed above.
Step 1: Select your interval time limits.
Step 2: Select an upper-body exercise, and then a lower body exercise.
Step 3: Select a compound exercise.
Step 4: Select a sprint for 1 minute.
Step 5: Rest for 1 minute.
Step 6: Repeat as many times as desired.
Successful Boxers Are Resourceful
Boxers have to be resourceful when facilities and travel options are limited. We also have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and learn to be more self-reliant. At Gloveworx, we are all about finding new and improved methods of training that can accommodate everyone.
Try these at home bodyweight exercises to help you stay on track to reaching your goals. We hope to see you back in the studio soon!