Easy Body Weight Exercises to Tone Up

23 Jan 2016

If you’ve ever wanted to know easy body weight exercises to tone up, then keep reading.

Our bodies are the most powerful tools we have access to. It’s crucial that we invest in them and treat them with respect; we only get one.

  • You hate the gym.
  • You don’t have time.
  • You’re tired.
  • You’re stressed.
  • You don’t have the money.
  • You don’t want to see anyone.
  • You’d rather be outside.

The list goes on.

The truth is, you don’t need a gym to be healthy and fit. All you need is your lovely body and the occasional park bench. Here are some key bodyweight exercises to get you toned and confident:

1. The Step UpBodyweight 1

Find an elevated surface. Place one leg up and step up onto the platform. All of the power should come from your elevated leg; do not push off of the ground to help you get up. Keep your knees soft, your shoulders back and chest up as you raise yourself up. Slowly lower yourself back down in a controlled motion. Tap the back foot to the floor and repeat 12 times before switching the leading leg.

 Step ups primarily work the quadriceps and the gluteus maximus, but the inner thighs, calves, hamstrings, lower back and core are all engaged, making this exercise extremely efficient. You’ll notice your heart rate rise, which is a great sign. This means you’re challenging yourself. Without challenge, there is no change.

To make step ups more challenging, you can use a higher platform or hold weights (or water bottles filled with rocks).

2. The Decline Push-UpBodyweight 2

Find an elevated surface. Place your feet up and hold yourself in a plank with your hands positioned a bit wider than your shoulders. Keep your core tight as you inhale and slowly lower yourself down to form a 90-degree angle with your elbows. Slowly push yourself back up as you exhale. Repeat 12 push-ups and take a short rest before taking on another set.

Decline push-ups primarily work the pectoral muscles, but the core and triceps also play a large role.

 Before you perform decline push-ups, you must first master the regular push-up. This is because the decline makes your pectoral muscles work even greater, and if you do not have the strength to hold yourself up, this exercise will not be effective. The higher the decline, the harder these push-ups will be.

3. Decline Tricep Up-Downs

Bodyweight 3

Find an elevated surface. Place your feet up and hold yourself in a plank with your hands positioned directly under your shoulders. Keep your core tight as you slowly lower yourself, one arm at a time, onto your elbows, then back up onto your hands. That’s one repetition. Switch your leading arm every repetition. Repeat 12 tricep up-downs.

Decline tricep up-downs primarily work the triceps, shoulders, and core.

Just like with decline push-ups, before you perform decline tricep up-downs, you must first master them with your feet on the ground. This is because the decline makes your arms and core work even harder, and you must have the strength to hold yourself up. The higher the decline, the harder this exercise will be.

4. The Double Crunch

Bodyweight 4

Lay on your back in the supine position with your knees bent and toes touching the floor. Place your unclasped hands behind your head with your thumbs behind your ears and your fingertips wide. Inhale as you allow your back to fully extend, and exhale as you crunch your shoulders off the floor and bring your knees to your chest. Pause for one second and slowly lower yourself down in a controlled motion as you tap your toes to the ground and fully extend your back to the starting position. Remember to glue your lower back to the floor and keep a space between your chin and your chest so you don’t pull on your cervical spine! Complete 20 crunches.

 Use these effective exercises to tone your muscles anywhere! There is no excuse not to make your own health and wellness your number one priority. Have fun, and always breathe strength.

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Photos by Brigette Muller.

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