As a busy man and father, you can't always get to the gym. But with the right bodyweight exercises for men, you can still build strength and get buff — anytime, anywhere!
We hear it from guys all the time … you're finally ready to get on the road to fitness and healthy living.
But between work and family, you're literally always on the road!
We get it. You're stuck at the office all day, often out on the road, or always back and forth from some practice, recital, or kids' event. While this could mean that you can’t get to a gym for a scheduled workout, it doesn’t have to mean missing a strength training session.
There are a number of bodyweight exercises for men that can be done without equipment that can still give you great strength gains! And you can do them almost anywhere!
This 15-minute bodyweight workout for beginners will focus on strengthening your core, upper body, and lower body.
The Best Bodyweight Exercises For Men
Push-ups are the ultimate bodyweight chest workout. When you don’t have access to a gym to do bench presses, these are your go-to. And there are a number of variations that you can use to target the chest muscles from different angles.
- Position your hands under your shoulders with your feet straight behind you.
- Lower your chest towards the ground, pause, then extend your arms to push back up.
Slow Push-Ups with Wide, Standard, and Narrow Progression
These are done in the same manner as standard push-ups but with varying hand positions and focusing on a slow lowering and raising phase of the push-up. You will be surprised how quickly these wear you out!
- Start with your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly lower your chest to the ground in a slow four-count.
- Then push back up in a slow four-count.
- Repeat this four times.
- Then move your hands to standard width and repeat.
- Then to a narrow or military-type width and repeat.
It's fine if you must come down to your knees to complete this progression! These are tough, and modifying them is better than using poor form.
Staggered Hand Push-Ups
- Place your left hand below your shoulder and your right hand near your ribs.
- Slowly lower your chest to the ground.
- Pause, then push yourself back up to the top of the push-up.
- Switch your hand position so your right hand is below your shoulder, and your left is near your ribs.
- Continue alternating sides.
This video will show you how to do a push-up if you are too overweight or out of shape. It will also show you some more advanced push-ups that you can do as you get stronger.
- These are like standard push-ups but with a narrow hand position.
- Come down slowly while maintaining a tight core and straight back.
- You can come to your knees if your back is arching, or you cannot push yourself to the top.
These bodyweight exercises for men will target your triceps when your hands are placed in a narrow position, as your pectoral muscles cannot assist as much from this angle. Always remember to maintain good form and modify the exercise if necessary.
- Place your hands on the edge of a stable surface, like a bench or chair.
- Place your feet out in front of you.
- Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, then push back up.
You can change the position of your feet in front of you to vary the intensity of this move. The closer your feet are to your body, the easier the exercise will be. To challenge yourself, place your feet up on another chair.
Learn the proper technique and how to do perfect bench dips!
- Start in a pushup position.
- Lift your hips so that your body forms an upside-down V.
- Your legs and arms should stay as straight as possible.
- Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor.
- Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.
These bodyweight exercises for men will target the shoulders as you lower your body from a higher angle than a standard push-up.
Learn how to do shoulder taps, a great exercise that will simultaneously work your shoulders, arms, and core!
- Lie on your stomach with your chest lifted and arms behind you.
- Extend your arms to the side and swing them around until they meet in front of your face.
- Then slowly swing the arms back behind you again.
- Keep your chest lifted throughout this exercise.
These bodyweight exercises for men will engage the lats as you move your arms in front and extend the arms behind your body.
Reverse Fly Hold
- Stand and hinge forward slightly at the hips with your hands hanging before you.
- Extend your hands up to the sides until they parallel the floor.
- Pause at the top, and then bring the arms back down.
While this may seem like an easy move, holding the pause at the top and squeezing your shoulder blades together can still get a good burn in the lats, traps, and deltoids.
- Hang from a bar with your palms facing away at about shoulder width.
- Pull your body up while contracting your shoulder blades together until your chest is at the height of the bar or your chin is just over the bar.
- Then, slowly lower yourself down.
Now, this exercise requires you to have access to a pull-up bar. You can purchase a doorway pull-up bar at most sports or department stores. These can be easily used at home or even packed away for travel. However, if you don’t have a pull-up bar, wait to return to the gym for these. Do not try to do pull-ups hanging from a door or shower curtain. This can lead to injury to you and damage to your home!
Here's how to do a pull-up if you can't do a pull-up!
Body Weight Squats
- Start in a standing position.
- Drive your hips back and bend at the knees until your thighs parallel the floor.
- Then drive your legs back up to the top.
Squats are an excellent way to build quads, glutes, and hamstrings. You can add intensity to this exercise by exploding into a jump before landing and starting the next rep.
- Lie on your back with your arms extended to the sides.
- Keep your feet on the ground and bend your knees.
- Drive your hips to the ceiling as you squeeze your glutes.
- Pause, then return your hips back to the floor.
- Start standing with your left leg extended out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and lower yourself to the ground in a squat.
- Then explode back up into a standing position.
- Repeat 10 reps on the right, then switch to the left.
This great lower-body exercise will also challenge your core as you try to maintain balance. You may need to hold onto a wall or chair when first starting out with this exercise. Gradually try to move on to the point where you can perform these unassisted.
- Stand with your back flat against a wall and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Walk your feet in front of you about two steps and slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat two more times.
These isometric bodyweight exercises for men will strengthen your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings. As you gain strength, increase your hold time to a minute. Progressively challenge yourself by adding more time to this exercise. You could even place a backpack or briefcase in your lap to add weight to this exercise.
- These are done best on a step if available.
- Stand upright with your toes pointing forward and push up onto your toes.
- Pause at the top, then lower until you feel a stretch in your calf muscles.
- Then push back up onto your calves again.
To challenge yourself with this exercise, try doing them with one leg at a time while holding onto a wall or rail for support. This way, you are increasing the amount of weight that each calf has to resist. You can also change the angle at which the calf muscles are targeted by turning your toes outward or inward.
Body Weight Lunges
- Start standing and move your right foot forward into a lunge.
- Bend your knees as you bring your left knee above the ground while your right thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Push back up with your right leg to a standing position.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Continue alternating sides.
This video shows you how to do a lunge correctly and what a bad lunge looks like so you don’t replicate it.
- Place your forearms on the ground, elbows below your shoulders, and legs extended behind you.
- Engage your core and hold this position for 30 seconds.
This is not only an abdominal exercise. It is also great for shoulder stability and muscle endurance of the lower back, neck, and legs.
- Stack your legs and place your right hand on the ground below your right shoulder.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds while engaging your core.
- Then switch sides and repeat.
While the elbow plank targets the rectus abdominis muscles of the core, this exercise will target the oblique muscles to give your fully defined abs.
- Lie on your stomach with arms extended in front of you and legs extended behind you.
- Lift your arms and legs off of the ground at the same time.
- Then slowly lower back down.
These bodyweight exercises for men are great for the lower back and will also target the shoulders, back, and hamstrings.
Learn how to do the 2-point superman core exercise, one of the best lower back and core strengthening exercises.
- Start in a standing position.
- Squat down and place your hands on the ground between your legs.
- Kick your feet back into a plank position.
- Jump your feet back to your hands and return to a standing position.
This is a great full-body and cardio exercise. You can challenge yourself even more by doing a push-up while in the plank position or jumping up instead of simply standing before beginning the move again.
- Start in a push-up position with your arms under your shoulders.
- Move your left knee into your chest.
- Then, as you bring your left leg back, bring your right knee towards your chest.
- Continue alternating for thirty seconds.
This full-body exercise will target your abs, shoulders, triceps, and lower body. It will also give you a bit of a cardio workout as well. Progressively build up to doing this exercise for a full minute at a time.
Here's how to do mountain climbers properly and the biggest mistakes to look out for.
One of the best ways to integrate bodyweight exercises for men into your weekly workout routine is to build a full-body workout that uses exercises from each muscle group. Full-body workouts are a great way to target multiple muscle groups efficiently.
Sample Total Body Bodyweight Exercise Workout
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat twice.
- Jogging in place
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Butt Kickers
Before your workout, perform upper and lower body dynamic stretching to prime your muscles for the bodyweight exercises.
- Arm Circles: Start with small arm circles forward for 10 reps, then backward for 10 reps. Then repeat this with larger circles.
- Cross-Body Arm Swings: Swing your arms across your body, right over left, then left over right. Repeat this 10-20 times.
- Knees to Chest: Bring your right knee up into your chest and hold for a brief pause. Bring the leg down, then repeat on the left. Alternate for 10-15 reps on each side.
- High Kicks: Kick your right leg up before you and hit your left palm. Then alternate with your left leg and right palm. Continue for 8-10 kicks on each side.
Here are the 3 core principles of warming up before a workout.
- Slow Push-Ups: Perform eight reps of wide, standard, and narrow push-ups. Repeat for three sets
- Bodyweight Squats: Perform three sets of 12-15 reps.
- Pike Push-Ups: Perform three sets of 12-15 reps
- Calf Raises: Perform three sets of 20 reps on both legs or 10 reps on each side if doing the legs individually.
- Tricep Dips: Perform three sets of 12-15 reps.
- Supermans: Perform three sets of 12-15 reps.
- Pull-Ups: Perform three sets of 8-10 reps
- Burpees: Do as many as possible for 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds, then repeat twice.
- Elbow Plank: Try to hold for 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. Repeat twice.
Always cool down with light stretching that includes the upper and lower body. This is especially important after a full-body workout to help prevent injury.
This video tutorial is based on some great post-workout stretches for men that will work each muscle of your body.
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This proven "Old School Muscle Program For Guys 40+" combines the “old school” bodybuilding secrets with the “new school” science… to produce muscle & strength building results fast.
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If you're frustrated with stubborn belly fat, failed diets, and time-consuming workouts, this is the answer you’ve been looking for…
*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on bodyweight exercises for men.