Body weight workouts are a convenient, inexpensive way to burn calories and build muscle fast. If you’re no longer getting your desired results, however, chances are your routine has become a bit too easy. Luckily, body weight exercises are easy to modify if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Try these 5 variations on basic next time you work out. Your muscles will thank you!
Instead of tricep dips…try tricep push-upsGet into push-up position, but instead of placing your hands directly under your shoulders, put them next to each other so they meet beneath the middle of your chest. Your fingertips and thumbs should touch to form a diamond shape. From here, lower into a push-up keeping your body in a straight line. Press back up and repeat. Tricep pushups are difficult, so if you’re looking to make it slightly easier, do the pushups on your knees instead of toes.
Instead of regular lunges…try Bulgarian split lungesBulgarian split lunges will test your balance (which helps engage your core) in addition to working your leg muscles. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, rest one leg back behind you on a platform like a chair or bench so that you're in an elevated lunge position. With your back leg on the platform, bend into a lunge on your front leg. Push up from the lunge until your front leg is straight, and repeat. Repeat on the other side.
Instead of crunches…try a plank with leg extensionPlanks work all four layers of your abdominal muscles, a.k.a. your entire core. They definitely give you more bang for your buck than the average crunch, but you can still make them harder. Get into push-up position, then take one of your legs off the ground and extend it straight back. Hold this position for a count of 15, and then switch to your other leg. After holding your plank for a minute, take a 30 second break before repeating again.
Instead of regular squats…try one-legged squatsThe single-leg squat tests your lower body strength while also adding the element of balance. It helps to expose imbalances in the body, as most people have a stronger side that overcompensates for their weaker side while doing regular squats. Single-leg squats use the same technique as a regular squat, but instead of standing on both feet, lift one foot up and extend your leg straight out in front of your body at a 45-degree angle. Do as many one-legged squats on the left leg as you can in 1 minute, then switch to your right leg for another minute.
Instead of regular pushups…try staggered pushupsOnce you're in push-up position, scoot one hand a few inches up and the other a few inches down. Do half of your reps this way, and then switch your hands for the remaining reps. Staggered pushups engage your abs more, while also working your obliques harder than normal pushups.
Looking for more bodyweight workout tips? Check out 4 Things You Need To Know About Planks!
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.