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The Best Bodyweight-Only Workouts Plans For “Muscle Gain, Building Strength, Physical Conditioning”, And Much More To Reach Your Full Potential

There’s no getting around it: bodyweight exercises are the foundation solid gains are built. But not all workouts are created equal, which is precisely why we’ve pulled together this handy guide. Along with the best bodyweight exercises, you’ll find a pair of kit-free circuits at the end, so you can get straight to it. Any time, any place.

Bodyweight workouts have always been effective, but people are only recently returning to this classic method. Here are the best bodyweight-only plans to reach your goals.

If you were to challenge someone to get into shape without stepping into a gym, they’d be confused. It’s as if some people still believe you can only build muscle, get stronger, or improve conditioning by lifting weights or using machines. That’s just not true.

Bodyweight training is convenient, can be done anywhere, and can be easily modified to fit nearly any fitness goal”. Let’s stop ignoring bodyweight workouts and formulate an effective plan for any goal with modifications, intensity techniques, and detailed explanations of execution.

The Best Bodyweight Workouts

Bodyweight Workout For More Muscle

To build muscle, you need to overload the muscle with the right amount of stress so it will respond by getting bigger and stronger. Utilizing bodyweight exercises to accomplish this will take some creativity, but it’s absolutely possible.

One of the few “compromises” made with bodyweight training is that it can be more difficult to directly target certain muscle groups (particularly smaller muscles like the arms and shoulders). Fortunately, these muscles are sufficiently worked by focusing on larger exercises combined with specially adjusted movement to emphasize the smaller muscles.

Related Articles: Here Is Everything You Need To Know About The King Of Strength Exercises: “The Back Squat”

Focus on modifying certain bodyweight movements to make them more challenging. Using strict form and slowing down each movement so you feel every inch of the motion is essential to reap the most benefit.

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The Bodyweight Bodybuilding Workout

The following workout can be done three times per week on non-consecutive days. For example, you can train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can also simply replace one or two of your traditional gym workouts with one or two bodyweight workouts.

Start slow and deliberate, and perfect your form on each exercise before making them more challenging.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Feet-Elevated Push-Up

Inverted Row

Lying Leg Curl

Triangle Push-Up

Inverted Biceps Curl

Bodyweight Workout For Strength

Strength can take many forms and bodyweight training is surprisingly effective for developing power. What’s the difference between pure strength and power? Both cultivate strength. However, power is your ability to move a specific load quickly. Think of Olympic weightlifting or throwing a heavy medicine ball.

Manipulating your body weight is a natural and effective way to build more strength and power, either on its own or to enhance your current workouts. (1)(2)

The Strong and Powerful Bodyweight Workout

Try the following workout to facilitate more strength. You can also insert it into any traditional training program as an additional workout to add a different element or to get you out of your comfort zone with something new. Execute the exercises with proper technique and controlled explosive force.

Plyo Push-Up

Jump Squat

Negative Pull-Up

Depth Jump

Bodyweight Workout For Conditioning

While bodyweight training can be programmed for many different goals, it’s most commonly associated with circuit-style workouts to build endurance and conditioning. (3)(4)

With any-time, anywhere convenience and the overall simplicity of programming, conditioning workouts using your own body are a perfect combination. Not needing to rotate between different machines or equipment makes bodyweight exercises an ideal choice for circuit workouts.

The Bodyweight Circuit

This workout is done as a circuit — moving from one exercise immediately to the next and the next, for several rounds. However, one of the most critical factors is to avoid rushing through the exercises.

Approach each exercise deliberately while using proper form and technique. Once your form starts to deteriorate, terminate the set and move on to the next exercise.

How to Do It: Execute the proper form for each exercise. Focus on technique, not speed, during each individual movement.

Sets and Reps: 3 to 5 rounds of 10 to 15 reps per exercise.

Rest Time: No rest between exercises, three minutes rest after each round.

Bodyweight Workout For Beginners

“Bodyweight training is one of the most fundamental forms of exercise. It’s not only a convenient way of training; it also enables an individual to harness and control their own body and to develop true total-body strength and coordination. It’s one thing to deadlift a significant load but quite another to perform a set of 20 pull-ups.

If you’re a more traditional barbell-focused lifter and want to improve your overall performance, bodyweight training will only enhance your capabilities.

The Beginner’s Bodyweight Workout

This workout is designed to develop the fundamentals of bodyweight training specifically. These foundational movements will serve as a backbone for all other exercises and stimulate an improved neuromuscular connection with each muscle group. This will only help to your advantage in performing different exercises, with body weight or free weights.

How to Do It: Perform each exercise with proper form. Focus on perfecting technique before increasing reps. Be sure to perform each movement with a slow and controlled cadence.

Sets and Reps: 3 x 10-15 for each exercise.

Rest Time: 60 seconds between sets.

How To Warm-Up

Just because you’re not “lifting weights” doesn’t mean you can skip a proper warm-up. Before each bodyweight workout, perform a simple warm-up to increase your core temperature and improve blood flow.

This gets your entire body ready for the work ahead and helps to prevent injuries. Do each warm-up exercise separately and without going to muscular failure.

The Full-Body Bodyweight Warm-Up

A Return To Bodyweight Training

With the popularity of bodyweight training increasing and its benefits becoming more and more recognized, it has proven to be an effective training method for anyone, no matter their goal.

Most lifters believe they need a fully equipped gym to build muscle, get stronger, or improve conditioning, but the right bodyweight workout can deliver results and add a different element to any fitness workout.

Related Articles:


  1. Calatayud J, Borreani S, Colado JC, Martin F, Tella V, Andersen LL. Bench press and push-up at comparable levels of muscle activity results in similar strength gains. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jan;29(1):246-53. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000589. PMID: 24983847.
  2. Tillaar RVD. Comparison of Kinematics and Muscle Activation between Push-up and Bench Press. Sports Med Int Open. 2019;3(3): E74-E81. Published 2019 Sep 5. doi:10.1055/a-1001-2526
  3. Archila LR, Bostad W, Joyner MJ, Gibala MJ. Simple Bodyweight Training Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness with Minimal Time Commitment: A Contemporary Application of the 5BX Approach. Int J Exerc Sci. 2021 Apr 1;14(3):93-100. PMID: 34055156; PMCID: PMC8136567.
  4. Martins FM, de Paula Souza A, Nunes PRP, Michelin MA, Murta EFC, Resende EAMR, de Oliveira EP, Orsatti FL. High-intensity bodyweight training is comparable to combined training in changes in muscle mass, physical performance, inflammatory markers and metabolic health in postmenopausal women at high risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jul 1;107:108-115. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2018.02.016. Epub 2018 Feb 19. PMID: 29471132.

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