10 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Looking to get started with bodyweight training? Then you’re in the right place.

I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercises (just take a look at my cross training section page and you’ll find an abundance of routines). With the proper selection of moves, you can target each and every muscle group in your body without so much as looking at a dumbbell.

You can also easily incorporate them into your weekly workout routine—no expensive gear or gym memberships required. You have to show off and do the work.

The best part? You won’t even need some fancy equipment or access to a gym. Your body is your own gym. You just have to show off and do the work. The rest is just details, as the saying goes.

Here are a few of my favorite bodyweight exercises that you can do target your upper body, lower body, and even your core. As a runner, this should help you strengthen your stride and maintain better technique through each run.

Let’s get started.

1. Pull-ups

Pull-ups boost upper body strength and endurance like nothing else.

The range varieties of pull-ups allow you to work different muscles. Feel free to make it more challenging by using a weighted vest.

Begin by grabbing the pull-up bar with your palms facing forward and hands a little more than shoulder-width apart.

Then pull your chest to the bar, pause, and slowly release down to your starting position.

Aim for 6 to 8 reps to complete one set.

2. Isometric push-up

Start in a push-up position with core activated, hands aligned with the chest, and back straight.

Next, lower down by bending the elbows until your chest is hovering a few inches off the ground, then hold the low push-up position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Last up, press back up to a push-up position to complete one set.

3. Isometric leg extensions

Sit with your tailbone firmly against the back of the chair and hands resting on the chair, with both feet flat on the floor.

While keeping your back flat and gazing straight ahead, slowly extend your right leg out in front of you and contract your quadriceps muscle, reaching your toes toward your shin as much as possible.

Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds, then lower to the starting position. Aim for 6 to 8 reps on each side to complete one set.

4. Split squat

Step forward into a lunge position, both toes pointing straight ahead.

Sink until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your back knee nearly touches the floor, and hold for 30 to one full minute. Push yourself back up to starting position and change sides.

5. Calf raises

Begin by standing with your heels hanging off the edge of a step or two weight plates, holding the dumbbell by the side. Make sure you’re tall with back straight.

Next, drive the balls of the feet into the platform while raising your heels as high as you can, hold for a moment, then slowly lower your heels to the ground.

6. Sumo squat

Begin by standing with the legs wide, toes slightly turned out. That’s the traditional sumo stance

Next, push your hips back and bend the knees, squatting until your thighs are aligned with the knees. As a rule, keep your heels on the ground and the back flat throughout the exercise.

Return to a starting position to complete one rep.

7. Wall sit

Begin by standing roughly two feet from a wall, feet hip-width apart.

Next, while bracing your core and looking straight ahead, lean back into the wall, then slide down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Make sure to spread your bodyweight equally on both heels and keep your back flat against the wall throughout the exercise.

Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute then slowly slide up to starting position to complete one set.

8. The Basic Lunge

Begin in an athletic position with feet hip-width apart, back straight, and core activated.

Then, step forward with the right foot, and lower the left knee within an inch or two of the flour.This is the basic lunge position

Next, while activating your core and using the muscles of the left leg, pull back to starting position and continue lunging forward alternating between the right and left leg. Make sure you’re moving in a straight line throughout the exercise.

Aim for 8 to 10 reps on each side to complete one set.

9. Hanging leg raise

Begin by placing a weight between your ankles while hanging from a chin-up bar, arms slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Next, raise your legs by flexing the hips until your torso forms a 90-degree angle with the legs, hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, then lower down slowly to the starting position. That’s one set.

10. High knees

Stand tall with shoulder hip-width apart and core activated. Then, pull your right knee towards your chest, move the leg back to the starting position, then switch sides.

Next, as if you’re running in place, pick up the pace by lifting the knees and pumping the arms as quickly as possible while keeping good form.