The Lunge, Pushups, and Warrior III pose are three of the most basic bodyweight exercises you can do at home. Still, almost 98% of new clients we see, don’t do them correctly. Here’s how they should be done.
All told there are probably about 100 bodyweight movements available to our coaches. More if you count variations of basic techniques (dive bomb pushup, triangle pushups.) If you pull yoga asanas into the definition of bodyweight training that number soars to the 1000s.
The Bodyweight Pushup
Technique: Start in a straight arm plank position. Have your hands directly under your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward. Lengthen your legs all the way and have your feet together. Squeeze your core and glutes to keep your hips in a straight line from head to toe throughout the entire move. Bend at the elbows until your chest is about one inch from the ground. Then raise yourself back up until your elbows lock out.
Advantages: This is a great compound bodyweight exercise that targets your chest and triceps but require your core muscles to keep your body in a straight line throughout the entire exercise. When done correctly the pushup is even more powerful than the bench press for developing the chest.
Faults: Two main faults with this one. First fault is not dropping your hips as you go down. You need to keep your hips in place to have your body in a straight line as you push up. Second, is elbow position as you go down. It is incorrect if your elbows shoot out laterally, instead you want them at least pointing to the 8 and the 4 of a clock. Imagine the position of the 8 and the 4 on a clock… that’s where your elbows should be, or closer to your body.
Scaling: You can drop to your knees instead of your toes to decrease the load of the pushup. To increase you can move hands in close to do a diamond push up, or elevate your legs.
If you are in the Melbourne Australia area, be sure to check out Street Work St. Kilda, which has excellent instruction of bodyweight training for beginner and experts.
Body Weight Exercises: The Lunge
Technique: Engage your core and stand tall. Lunge forward with one leg and lower your hips until your knees are at about a 90* angle. Make sure your front foot is flat on the ground. Keeping the weight on your heels, raise back up to the starting position.
Advantages: The lunge is safe and incredibly effective exercise for balance and core stability. It is a functional movement that correlates to many natural, everyday movements.
Faults: Some faults include: leaning your torso forward, knees not reaching a 90 degree angle, and not having your front foot flat on the floor.
Scaling: To increase the challenge of this move, you can hold two dumbbells down to your side, or a single dumbbell overhead (which requires more balance and mobility). If you lack the balance and strength to perform fully, you can start yourself in the lunge-ed position, and focus on engaging your core and work on your single leg stability/balance.
Body Weight Exercises: Warrior 3 Pose
Technique: Standing tall with the core engaged, lift one leg off of the ground as you hinge your upper body forward slowly. Keep your stable knee locked out and extend your arms forward, keeping your body in one straight line. The goal is to have your body parallel with the floor.
Advantages: This move is a great stretch to the hamstrings and works on your single leg balance, core & shoulder stabilization. This exercise requires great balance and is a worthy move to work towards.
Faults: Not having your grounded leg fully locked out, and rotating your torso because the core isn’t strong/engaged enough..
Scaling: A good way to start working towards this move is to start with a band to grab with your arms as you lower your body. You can also bend your hind leg to make this move easier. To increase the effectiveness of this pose, strive to hold it for longer amounts of time.