bodyweight exercies

8 Bodyweight Exercises That You’ve Never Heard Of December 27, 2021

No gym? No problem! With these 8 bodyweight exercises, you can get in a good workout anywhere. And here’s the twist, you’ve probably never heard of them!

The most common reason to skip a workout is lack of time but with these eight bodyweight moves, an awesome pump can be achieved right in your bedroom.

These unconventional exercises target your legs, arms, back, shoulders, and abs to increase muscular endurance and help you get shredded.

Burpees, squats, and jumping jacks get boring – It’s time to switch things up and move your body through space in a unique way.

Try these eight unconventional bodyweight exercises to build serious muscle fast.

1. Bear Pushups

The “bear” position is the body position that you would start a bear crawl in. Bear crawls are one of the most functional exercises out you can do but it’s also one of the most common. Bear pushups are less common, yet still incredibly challenging for any athlete.

If you’re looking to target the triceps and shoulders, give this exercise a try!

  1. Start on all fours with knees and palms touching the ground and wrist stacked under shoulders.
  2. Remove knees from the ground so they’re 1-2 inches off the ground but still bent. This is the bear or starting position.
  3. While keeping a straight back, bend both elbows until your knees tap the ground. Make sure elbows are tight to your body.
  4. Straighten arms again and return to the bear position. That’s one rep. Do at 10-20 reps for 3 sets.

Trainer Tip: These torch your triceps. Don’t just tap knees to ground; bend your elbows to make the knees tap the ground.

2. Batwing

The batwing row is when you are lying prone against a flat or incline bench and rowing dumbbells behind you. Remove the weights and lie on the floor and you have the batwing. As for the term batwing itself, well the goal is to widen your back muscles so they extend wide like the wings of a bat.

This back focused exercises will help you build mass around the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and spinal erectors.

  1. Lie on your back with legs straight and arms extended towards the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  2. Row both arms towards the ground with elbows tight to the body and push your triceps into the ground, causing your upper back to come off the ground.
  3. Keep pushing off your elbows and triceps until you’ve created maximum distance between your back and the ground.
  4. Return arms back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Trainer Tip: This is one of the few bodyweight moves that works your back muscles. It’s like a bodyweight version of a seated row machine.

3. Seal Walk

Imagine a seal dragging its belly using only its arms. This is the concept behind the seal walk except your feet are raised, causing your core to be in the air too.

This difficult exercise will help you build your shoulders, rectus abdominis, triceps, and spinal erectors.

  1. Get into the top of a pushup position with arms and back straight.
  2. Place your toes on a 5lb weight plate, sliding disc like Valslide or SKLZ Slidez, or a paper plate. This is the starting position.
  3. Move your arms forward as your legs are dragged by the sliding object. Keep your knees off the ground and back straight the entire time. Move 5-10 feet forward, turn around and seal walk forward to where you started.

Trainer Tip: To increase difficulty, seal walk forward then backward to where you started.

4. Plank with Cactus Arms

Of all the plank variations, bringing one arm out to a 90-degree angle is rarely seen. Imagine the arm of cactus (of the saguaro species for you botany experts) which grows out the side. In the plank with cactus arms, your torso is the cactus and your arm is the saguaro’s arm.

If you’re looking to target your rectus abdominis, shoulders, lats, and spinal erectors, the plank with cactus arms is the exercise for you!

  1. Get into a plank position with palms on the ground. This is the starting position.
  2. Reach your right arm forward while stabilizing with your left hand. Next, move your right arm out to your side to form a right angle like the arm of a cactus.
  3. Reach forward again with the right arm then return it back to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. Do 5 reps each side for 3 sets.

Trainer Tip: Avoid rotating your hips. Try to to keep a straight core and just move your arm.

5. Drop Squat

Not to be confused with the jump squat, the drop squat combines a lateral jump with a vertical one. Your feet go lateral for the drop, the together for the rise. In a jump squat, you do a normal squat, then jump and land in the bottom of a squat.

Performing the drop squat will train the muscles of the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings.

  1. Stand with feet together and knees slightly bent. This is the starting position.
  2. Jump both feet out laterally as you squat so your feet are wider than shoulder width and you’re low to the ground.
  3. Return back to the starting position by exploding out of the bottom of the squat and bringing feet back together. Do 3 sets of 10-20 reps.

Trainer Tip: Don’t bend over or slouch your shoulders. Keep a straight back, even it means not “dropping” as low.

6. Glute Bridge Abduction

Abduction is when you move your body parts away from the center of your torso. Adduction is when you move your body parts towards your torso, as in when your shoulder performs adduction during a dumbbell chest fly. Abduction would be your shoulder doing a reverse machine fly.

The additional abduction during the glute bridge abductions will help target your gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, gluteus maximus, and spinal erectors.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and palms at your sides on the ground next to you. This is the starting position.
  2. Bring glutes towards the ceiling with legs touching each other. Squeeze glutes at the top.
  3. Now, separate your legs while they’re still in the air (abduction). Bring legs back together while they are still in the air.
  4. Return both legs back down to the ground. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Trainer Tip: Place a mini band above your knees to add extra resistance.

7. Leg Pullup

The leg pullup gets its name from Pilates, as it’s a common staple of the core-focused training style. It’s also called a leg pull back in Pilates circles.

This exercise will help work the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, rectus abdominus, and calves.

  1. Get into a reverse plank so palms are on the ground facing your feet, legs straight and your core is facing the ceiling instead of towards the ground like a normal plank. The bottom of your heels should be on the ground and toes pointed towards the ceiling.
  2. Lift right leg towards the ceiling as you hold your lower abs in. Return right leg back to ground. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps on the right leg then switch legs and do 10 more reps.

Trainer Tip: If this is too challenging, just hold the reverse plank for 30-60 seconds.

8. Gorilla

Spartan SGX Coaches will know this galloping move as the gorilla because that’s how it’s taught to us during our live certification camp. More animal-like moves that may be familiar to Spartan SGX Coaches include the ape, bear crawl, and crab walk.

The Gorilla, when performed correctly, primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, rectus abdominis, triceps, and shoulders.

  1. Get in to a low squat position with hands touching the ground between your legs. This is the starting position.
  2. Staying in a low squat, reach both hands forward in an effort to “gallop” or propel your legs forward too. Your arms and legs should move forward simultaneously. Do 3 sets of 5-10 reps.

Trainer Tip: Stay low to the ground and try not to come up between reps. Your legs should be wider than your arms.