Equipment-free ways to burn fat and build muscle (Best Bodyweight Exercises)




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Be The Best You



When you walk into the gym and every single bench and squat rack is taken by a bigger, stronger guy or by that “bro” doing curls in the squat rack, you could just turn around and walk out and say you’ll come back later. However, that isn’t an option when you’re trying to be your best you, because you know consistency is key. That one day off can lead to a week, which can lead to a month, and so on. Add these moves to your arsenal and watch the fat melt off your midsection all while building muscle, without skipping a day.



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Pushup



This one is a timeless classic. The pushup is essential for building a big chest, cannonball delts, and triceps that look like the wishbone you pulled out of the turkey on Thanksgiving. Master this move and it will yield the same benefits as the bench press.
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Pullup



Another classic move. The pullup hits every muscle in the body and is underrated in terms of arm and abs development. It stands alone as the original biceps curl and is the best thing you can do for your arms. Ditch the curls in favor of the pullup and watch your arms grow like weeds.
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Plank



Holding a plank for a minute-plus is considered by fitness experts to be a very impressive measure of fitness. It requires excellent shoulder stability and incredible muscle endurance of the abs, lower back, shoulders, neck, and legs. Not only that, but it works well to develop an impressive six-pack (more time under tension = more muscle).
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Ab Rollout



The tension in the rollout is similar to what one experiences in a plank—just jacked up a notch. The farther one rolls out, the harder the exercise becomes, leading to better results, not to mention you'll look like a total badass while the meathead on the bench press falls on his face while trying to do it.
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Glute Bridge



Many experts agree that having strong, mobile glutes is essential for good back health—and certain other experts agree that having a set of glutes greatly enhances your sex appeal. Start doing these and get ready for two things: spending some money on bigger pants and having girls start asking for your number, instead of vice versa.
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Inverted Row



Arguably as good of a back developer as the pullup, the inverted row is a great opposing motion to work with the pushup. Turn the hands around so you’re holding the bar underhand and you’ve got a better bicep builder than any curl variation out there. Wide shoulders and big arms? You’ll get some more attention on the beach this summer.
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Closed-Grip Pushup



This one’s a variation on the pushup that specifically targets the triceps—and big triceps make your arms look that much bigger. Not only that, but all your muscles, including biceps and triceps, grow in pairs. Bigger triceps means bigger biceps by definition. Add this move to your arm workout and watch progress soar.
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Star Plank



This advanced variation of the plank not only places a greater challenge for your core, but it brings the chest and shoulders into play. All the muscle groups under tension will benefit from this exercise. Who knew? You actually can work your chest, shoulders, and abs at the same time!
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Burpee



The No. 1 favorite exercise of any trainer who wants to help their clients burn fat, the burpee has become a staple in programs from bootcamps to CrossFit, and everything in between. A full-body explosive motion that requires better cardio than hill sprints and more coordination than nearly any exercise, there’s no doubt this will accelerate your progress toward your leanest, most ripped self.
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Dip



Many people think the dip is primarily a triceps exercise, and while it is a great triceps builder, it hits the chest and shoulders just as hard. Another underrated aspect of the dip is the core strength it takes to do them properly. Needless to say, this is an exercise that is not for the faint of heart, and it can be your greatest weapon in getting your pecs to pop like the gym rat you see on the bench press every day.
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Bulgarian Split Squat



The challenge of a single-leg squatting motion is tough enough, but add to that a stretch and mobilization of the rear-leg's hip flexor and you have the makings of a double-edged sword: an exercise that improves strength and mobility. Use it in place of a squat for a few weeks and see if your regular squat numbers don't improve. SPOILER ALERT: They will.
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Suspended Pushup



While the pushup is undoubtedly a great move, adding a bit of a challenge to it with a suspension trainer is one way to up the intensity for more muscle-building stimulus. Add to that the unstable nature of the handles and you have an exercise that is not only great for developing those beach muscles, but one that is also great for long-term shoulder health. Mix it up with this move for maximum gains.
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Prone Back Extension



Sure, anyone can do a reverse hyper on a machine, but the tension is most times inadequate for serious muscle development. One thing trainers won’t tell you: the higher amount of tension a muscle is put under, the stronger it responds (read: harder contractions means more muscle). The prone back extension certainly provides a huge, deep contraction, leading to a strong, healthy lower back.
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Pike Pushup



If you’ve reached a plateau on pushups, it might be time to swap to the pike pushup. This variation on the classic pushup directly targets the shoulders and can help improve weak areas, leading to muscle development all over.
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Swiss Ball Rollout



We’ve already told you that more tension means more muscle. This exercise provides more tension than any other ab move out there, all while forcing your shoulders to stabilize the body. Also, because there are multiple joints and muscle groups involved, it may lead to a release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, HGH, and IGF-1, which all speed up muscle development.
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Jump Squat



A necessary precursor to the box jump, jump squats are perfect exercises for athletes or bodybuilders looking to improve their explosive lower-body power, and for adventure-race types who want to improve their ability to clamber over obstacles and keep moving fast. Make sure to land softly as you go into your next rep, forcing your muscles to handle a workload in both the concentric and eccentric motions of the exercise.
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Reverse Lunge From Deficit



Start by standing on a box about 6 to 8 inches high. Lower yourself backwards into a lunge, and then power yourself back upwards into standing position. It's a perfect way to improve lower-body strength, while lunging back up from a deficit will force your muscles to operate at the ends of your range of motion—building not only strength but also flexibility.
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Diamond Pushup



As much a triceps-blaster as a chest exercise, the diamond pushup (so named because your index fingers and thumbs form the outline of a diamond when you put your hands together) is a brutal way to improve not only your tricep form but also your balance.
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Bodyweight Squat



A fitness essential, the basic bodyweight squat (or "air squat") is a vital exercise for maintaining lower-body strength throughout your life. Situate your feet about shoulder-width apart, and make sure you maintain a natural arc in your back and spread your weight through your fet as you hinge your hips and knees into the squat. When you raise yourself back up, make sure your knees are in line with your feet—not drawn inward—so the force hits your knees in their natural hinge.
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Box Jumps



Another CrossFit favorite, the box jump is a great test of your lower-body explosiveness and power. Make sure you're landing on the box with catlike agility, bending your hips and knees, so that you don't put too much pressure on your joints. (Also: Always step off the box, rather than jumping off—it'll save your knees a lot of stress and reduce your risk of injury.)
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Overhead Lunge



The overhead lunge—basically just a lunge performed with your arms raised above your head—is a good way to strengthen your lower body and build up your balance. It might seem like an easy variation, but try enough of them and watch as that perfect touchdown signal becomes a flailing mess.
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Pistol Squat



A notoriously demanding one-legged squat variation popularized by CrossFit, the pistol squat is a premier test of balance, core strength, and leg power. When done correctly, you'll lower yourself into what is essentially a one-legged crouch, so the angle behind your knee is less than 90 degrees. Stick your free leg and your arms in front of you—a challenge in itself—to maintain balance as you lower yourself and then power yourself back up.
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Mountain Climbers



A staple of athletic training, mountain climbers are another great core exercise that really fires up your hip flexors and abs while also challenging your upper body to maintain balance. Try them with sliding disks under your toes, or perform them with your hands resting on a medicine ball to ratchet up the imbalance and increasingly challenge your core.
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Plank Pushup



Take your plank work to the next level with this difficult variation that targets your upper body and your core at the same time.

Here's how to do it: Start in a plank position, resting on your forearms. Press yourself up away from the ground one arm at a time into a push-up, while maintaining perfect plank position. Press first with your left forearm, keeping your right palm on the ground. Then return to prone position. Press with your right forearm while your left palm remains on the ground.

Ready to make it even more difficult? Lift a leg while you do it, extending your hip muscles and forcing your upper body to account for an even greater imbalance.
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Side Plank



Like the standard plank, a side plank is simple but challenging way to isometrically target your core strength—particularly your obliques and transversus abdominis—not to mention your balance. Form is key with the side plank: Try to keep your hips in line with your body as shown here, or you won't hit your muscles as intensely.
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Clap Pushup



Whether you're looking to improve your explosive power or you just got done watching the Rocky training montage, the clap pushup is a demanding (and, yeah, showy) way to build up your tricep and chest strength. (If you're doing these to failure, just make sure you don't smash your face up when your arms give out.)
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Cross Crunch



The cross crunch is a great oblique exercise for people who want to fire up their abs while also making sure they're not at risk of hurting their back. Because your legs are moving across your body, this exercise taxes your obliques and your rectus abdominus (a.k.a. your six-pack muscles) while also engaging your lower abs.
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"Spiderman" Plank Crunch



Simply holding a plank crunch (often called a "Spiderman" crunch) challenges your core, legs, and chest just by virtue of stabilizing your body. Bringing each knee to an elbow will tax your obliques and core, and bringing them back to the starting position forces your chest, shoulders, and arms to compensate for the weight shift. Combine this move with a pushup to make it even tougher.
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Bicycle Crunch



A notoriously tough core and cardio exercise, the bicycle crunch targets three major components of your core: Your main abdominus muscles (targeted by the main crunching motion), your obliques (the side-to-side rocking), and your lower abs (the "reverse crunch" motion). It's also a good way to target muscles like hip flexors and even your shoulders as you work to stabilize your body.
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Handstand Pushup



It's a deceptively simple exercise, but the handstand pushup is also a supreme test of your upper-body strength and core stability. You'll feel this most in your shoulders and triceps—the primary muscles in this move—while also working your core (read: six-pack) as you balance your legs.

Here's how to do it: Get into a handstand, stabilizing your feet against a wall if you need to. Lower yourself toward the floor while keeping your elbows in front of your shoulders. Go as low as you can and push straight up.
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