6 Bodyweight Workouts That Actually Build Muscle


It can be tempting to head into the gym and immediately start pounding the heavy iron. But we’re here to tell you that a bodyweight routine will work just as well. (Ever see a flabby gymnast? Yeah, we didn’t think so either.)

Here are six bodyweight-only workouts that’ll keep your heart working hard and ensure that you’re burning lots of calories.


1a. Push-Up, 5 x failure
1b. Dead-Hang Chin-Up, 5 x 8-12
Rest: 60 seconds

2a. Bodyweight 1 ¼ squat, 5 x failure
2b. Single-Leg Glute Bridge, 5 x 12
Rest: 60 seconds

3a. Dip, 4 x 8-12
3b. Inverted Row, 4 x 8-12
Rest: 60 seconds

4a. Plank, 3 x 60 seconds
4b. Prone Back Extension, 3 x 12

— Michael Schletter, C.P.T.


1a. Broad Jump, 5 x 10
2a. Chinup, 5 x failure
3a. Plank, 5 x 30 seconds
Rest: 60 seconds

1b. Bulgarian Split Squat, 4 x 15 each leg
2b. Clap Pushup, 4 x 8
3b. V-Up, 4 x 15
Rest: 60 seconds

— Sam Akinrinade, USAW-1


1a. Walking Pushup 4 x 20
2a. Wall Pushup, 4 x 20
3a. Slow Pullup, 4 x 3
4a. Pullup, 4 x 10
5a. Inverted Row (Towel Grip) 4 x 8
Rest: as needed

1b. Pike Push-Up, 4 x 10
2b. Push-Back Push-Up, 4 x 20
3b. Slow Chin-Up, 4 x 10
4b. Slow Dip, 4 x 15
Rest: as needed

1c. Jump Squat, 4 x 20
2c. Slow Bodyweight Squat, 4 x 20
3c. Super-Slow Crunch, 4 x 12
4c. Hanging Leg Raise, 4 x 12
Rest: as needed

— Anton Antipov, C.P.T.


1a. Chinups w/ negatives: 3-4 sets x max reps
1b. Slow negative pushups: 3-4 sets x 12 reps
1c. Bulgarian Split Squat: 3-4 sets x 15 reps per leg

2a. Dips 3-4 sets x max reps
2b. Inverted supine rows – 3-4 sets x 10 reps
3c. Single Leg Hip Extension (Back and Foot Elevated) – 3-4 sets x 12 reps

3a. Close Grip Pushups – 3-4 sets x 10 reps per arm
3b. Reverse Lateral Lunge (45 deg) –  3-4 sets x 15 reps per leg
3c. Modified Handstand Push-up (feet supported on bench in pike position) – 3-4 sets x 10 reps

4a. Bodyweight Bicep Curls: 3-4 sets x 10 reps
4b. Bodyweight overhead Tricep Extensions: 3-4 sets x 8 reps

5a. Windshield wipers – 3-4 sets x 15 reps per side
5b. Long lever plank – 3-4 sets x 30 sec
5c. Alternating V ups – 3 sets x 15 reps x side

— David Larson, C.S.C.S.


TRX Complex A: Push/Abs
5 sets x 12 reps

1a. Ab rollouts
2a. Chest press
3a. Skull crushers

TRX Complex B: Push/abs/obliques
5 sets x 12 reps

1b. Atomic Push up
2b. Ab Saws
3b. alternating reverse crunch

TRX Complex C: Pull/legs
5 sets x 12 reps

1c. inverted rows
2c. bucket squats
3c. single leg squats
4c. bicep curls (shoulders 90 deg of flexion)

— Joseph Vega, M.S.P.T., C.S.C.S.



Circuit A: 5 sets

1a) wide-grip pullups x 8
2a) plyo pushups x 10
3a) squat jumps x 15
4a) ab saws x 20

Circuit B: 5 sets

1b) bar dips x 15
2b) neutral-grip pullups x 10
3b) rear-foot-elevated spilt squats x 15/side
4b) hanging knee-ups x 15

Circuit C: 5 sets

1c) inverted rows (Smith machine) x 10
2c) Spider-Man push ups x 10/side
3c) single-leg glute thrust x 15/side
4c) jackknives x 20

— Joseph Vega, M.S.P.T., C.S.C.S.

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