34 Best Body Weight Exercises for Men

If the best body workouts for men prove one thing, it’s that your average gym membership is way overpriced. Indeed, why sign confusing contracts and pay monthly dues when you can reap the same benefits for (essentially) free? That’s exactly where the best bodyweight exercises come in, relying on forces like gravity, rudimentary equipment, and your body’s own mechanisms when trimming fat or building muscle. We’re talking push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, planks, and other exercises that you can perform in the comfort of your own home.

What’s even more impressive is just how many effective bodyweight workout programs and exercises there are, many of which generate fast-acting results. Some provide variations on familiar concepts while others will have you looking at your own body or surroundings in new and interesting ways. Whether you’re seeking a solid six-pack, potent pectorals, bulging biceps, or other signs of physical prowess, these top body exercises for men will definitely get you where you’re going.

Advantages of a Bodyweight Workout

Before we dive into the best bodyweight exercises for men, let’s pump you up with a list of adjoining benefits. They’re as follows:

  1. Bodyweight Workouts are Basically Free – You might have to shell out for an occasional pull-up bar or similarly accessible piece of equipment, but other than that, bodyweight exercises come free of charge.
  2. You Can Perform Bodyweight Exercises Pretty Much Anywhere – Do you have enough room in your home or apartment to stretch your arms and legs? If so, then you have enough room to kick off a bodyweight workout program.
  3. Bodyweight Exercises Actually Work – Want to prevent injury? Build muscle? Develop technique? Retain a tight figure? Well, bodyweight workouts are one way to do it.
  4. Bodyweight Workouts Improve Both Your Range of Motion and Centre of Gravity – Flexibility and balance are two things no self-respecting fitness freak should be without. Bodyweight exercises can improve both of these fundamental components. You do the math.

Best Bodyweight Exercises for Muscle Building

1. Push-up

A timeless classic if there ever was one, the mighty push-up is also quite effortless to execute. On the off-chance that this is your first day in the civilised world, here’s how to perform one:

  • Get on all fours and prop yourself up on your hands, keeping them just outside of shoulder-width apart
  • Straighten your arms and legs
  • Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor
  • Hold for a moment
  • Push yourself back up
  • Repeat

Start with: 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: pectorals, deltoids, biceps, triceps

2. Groiners

A terrific (albeit poorly named) bodyweight exercise for men, this one increases your body’s range of motion and blood flow as well, which in turn prevents injuries. To execute, complete the following steps:

  • Assume a push-up position
  • Jump forward with both legs, so that they’re squatting outside either hand
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat.

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings

3. Spider Crawl

Also known as the spider walk, this bodyweight workout tightens your core and builds muscle pretty much everywhere. Perform it properly and you’ll quickly see results. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start in the push-up position
  • Raise one foot off the floor and bring your knee toward your elbow
  • Hold for a moment and make sure you’re crunching your core
  • Return to the starting position
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: shoulders, chest, upper back, arms, quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, calves

4. Standing Long Jump

Targeting the fast-twitch muscle fibres, this highly effective bodyweight workout builds upon explosive strength and improves balance. Here’s how to exercise like an Olympic long jumper:

  • Lower yourself in a squat position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Swing your arms back and use them to provide momentum
  • Use your legs as a spring for extra thrust
  • Jump as far as you can, landing on the soles of your feet
  • Repeat.

Start with: 3 sets of 8 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: hamstrings, thighs, back, abs, hips, glutes

5. Burpees

Putting a gym session’s worth of fitness into one choice workout, this bonafide calorie-burner targets muscles all over the body. Let’s get into it:

  • Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, assume the squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Place your hands on the floor and kick your legs out until you’re in the push-up position
  • Push up until your arms are straight and then tuck your legs back into the squat position
  • Drive through at the heels and jump six inches off the floor
  • Repeat.

Start with: 3 sets of 20 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs

6. Handstand Wall Walk

Definitely not for beginners, this bodyweight workout builds a serious amount of back strength. Plus, it looks cool. Perform the following steps:

  • Assume the handstand position and plant your feet against the wall
  • Crawl toward the wall until you’ve reached it
  • Crawl away from the wall, until your feet are near the floor
  • Re-assume the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 1 full walk
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: deltoids, rotator cuffs, core, triceps, back

7. Wide-Grip Pull-Ups

Amongst bodyweight exercises to build muscle, the wide-grip pull-up is certainly one of the best. It’s also quite tough. Here’s how to do it:

  • Grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing outward, your arms fully extended, and your hands as far apart as you can (comfortably) muster
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together, exhale, and bring your elbows toward your hips as you raise your chin above the bar
  • Carefully lower into the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: lats, delts

8. Glute Bridge

According to legend, strong glutes often indicate a strong sex drive. With that established, let’s get to work:

  • Lie face-up on the floor, keeping your knees bent, your feet flat, your arms at either side, and your palms down
  • Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line
  • Squeezing your glutes and keeping your abs clenched, hold the bridge
  • Slowly ease back to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: glutes, thighs, hips, core, hamstrings

9. Inverted Row

For strong shoulders, biceps, and back muscles, look no further than this trusty bodyweight exercise, which requires a pull-up bar or workout bench. Here’s how to execute:

  • Position the bar at about waist height
  • Place your hands on the bar, keeping them just outside shoulder-width
  • Hang under the bar with your body straight, your heels on the ground, and your arms fully extended
  • Flex the elbows and pull your chest toward the bar, retracting your shoulder blades as you go
  • Pause at the top and then return to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: back, biceps, traps

10. Close-Grip Push-Ups

When regular push-ups get easy, switch to this version instead. Here’s how:

  • Get on all fours and prop yourself up on your hands, placing them inside of shoulder-width
  • Straighten your arms and legs
  • Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor
  • Hold for a moment
  • Push yourself back up
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: pectorals, deltoids, biceps, triceps

11. Pike Push-Up

Ready for another alternative to the standard push-up? Try the following:

  • Start in the push-up position, keeping your arms straight and your hands shoulder-width apart
  • Lift your hips so that your body forms an upside-down V, keeping your legs and arms as straight as possible
  • Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head almost touches the floor
  • Return the starting position and repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: deltoids, triceps, back, core

12. Diamond Push-Up

Let’s keep those push-up variables coming! Here’s another one for experts only:

  • Assume the modified push-up position, with your hands together so that your index fingers and thumbs form a diamond
  • Extend your arms
  • Lower your chest toward the floor while keeping your back straight
  • Rise and repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: pectorals, core, back, shoulders, triceps, quads, glutes

13. Clap Push-Up

If you’re a push-up pro, then make this bodyweight exercise part of your routine. Here’s how:

  • Assume the push-up position
  • Slowly lower to the ground, keeping your back straight and core tight
  • Push yourself up explosively
  • Clap your hands before landing back into the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: pectorals, core, back, shoulders, triceps, quads, glutes

14. Plank-to-Push-Up

This top bodyweight workout for men is exactly as productive as it sounds. Do the following:

  • Assume the plank position on your forearms, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your lower back flat
  • Press yourself into a push-up position
  • Lower back down into the plank
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: pectorals, core, back, shoulders, triceps, quads, glutes

15. Handstand Push-Up

When you have just your body for an exercise machine, push-ups are your friend. Here’s how to perform yet one more variation:

  • Assume a handstand position against the wall
  • Squeeze your abs, glutes and thighs
  • Lower yourself toward the ground
  • Push back up
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: delts, back, abs, core

Best Bodyweight Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

1. Reverse Crunch

Kick off a proper ab routine with this trusty exercise. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back, keeping your arms on the floor at either side and your palms facing down
  • Bend your knees and bring them toward your chest as you contract your abs
  • As your knees rise, roll your pelvis to lift your hips off the floor
  • Hold and squeeze at the top
  • Slowly lower to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 5 sets at 60 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs

2. Sit-Up

You know the drill, but here it is anyway:

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent
  • If possible, put your feet under something that will stop them from moving
  • Put your hands behind your head and tighten your core
  • Lift your torso until your upper body and thighs form a V-shape
  • Lower to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 5 sets at 60 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs

3. Mountain Climber

You don’t have to climb a mountain to execute this one. Simply perform the following steps:

  • Assume the sprinter’s position, with one foot beneath your waist and the other one straight back
  • Swap foot positions at a high speed
  • Repeat

Start with: 5 sets at 60 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: deltoids, biceps, triceps, chest, obliques, abdominals, quads, hamstrings and hip abductors

4. Plank

Hold this one for over a minute and you’ll be working not just your abs, but a variety of other muscles as well. It also helps improve balance. Here’s how to do it:

  • Assume a push-up-like position, except with your forearms resting on the floor at a 90-degree angle
  • Place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and look straight toward the floor
  • Maintaining a perfectly straight line, hold the position as long as you can, keeping your abs and back muscles tight

Start with: 3 sets at 30 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs, lower back, shoulders, neck, glutes, legs

5. Star Plank

Ready to take your plank workout to a brutal extreme? If so, then perform this intensified variant. Here’s how:

  • Assume the push-up position
  • Outstretch your arms and legs beyond shoulder-width
  • Hold the position as long as you can, keeping your abs and back muscles tight

Start with: 3 sets at 30 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs, lower back, shoulders, neck, glutes, legs, pectorals

6. Bicycle Crunch

It’s crunch time (again)! Here’s how to do this powerful bodyweight exercise:

  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground
  • Put your hands behind your head
  • Bring your knees toward your chest and lift your shoulders off the ground without pulling at your neck
  • Straighten your right leg to a 45-degree angle above the ground while turning your upper body to the left and bringing your right elbow toward your left knee
  • Switch sides and repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 20 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs, hips, obliques

7. Frozen V-Sit

You don’t need gym equipment or a personal trainer to achieve rock hard abs—all you need to do is master this intense bodyweight workout for men. Here’s how:

  • Lie on your back with your arms and legs outstretched
  • Raise your hands and feet just above the floor
  • Raise your torso and legs up as you touch your feet
  • Hold for 10 seconds
  • Return to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs

Best Bodyweight Exercises for a Strong Lower Body

1. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Want to build muscle in your legs, butt, and back? The single-glute bridge is one equipment-free way to do it. Here are the steps:

  • Lie on your back and raise one leg in the air
  • Thrust forward, raising your hips as high as you can
  • Clench your glutes
  • Keeping your leg in the air, slowly lower back to the floor
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: legs, abs, back, hips

2. Bulgarian Split Squat

You’ll need a bench, step, or similar knee-height platform for this one. Here’s how to do it:

  • Get into a forward lunge position with your torso upright, core braced, and hips centered
  • Put your back foot onto the bench, keeping your leading leg a half metre in front of the bench
  • Lower the back leg while keeping your knee aligned with your foot
  • Drive through at the front heel and return to the starting position
  • Perform 5-10 reps on one leg before switching to the other

Start with: 5 sets of 5-10 reps per leg
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: glutes, upper legs

3. Squats

Good for building muscle, increasing strength, improving hip mobility, and burning fat, the traditional squat is a bodyweight workout essential. Here’s how to do it:

  • Set your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly facing outward
  • Pull in your lower abs and keep your eyes forward
  • Slowly bend at the knees and lower your body, keeping your heels flat on the floor
  • Pause at the bottom before pushing back up to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, calves

4. Box Jumps

Yes, you’ll need a strong box, which won’t tip over. Then do the following:

  • Stand in front of the box with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend into a quarter squat and swing your arms back
  • Swing the arms forward and jump off the ground, landing on the box with your feet flat and your knees slightly bent
  • Perform the exact same action in reverse
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings

5. Jump Squats

Boost your explosive power potential with this bodyweight workout, which combines box jumps and squats. Perform these steps:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Assume the regular squat position
  • Jump up in explosive fashion
  • Upon landing, lower carefully back into the squat position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 5 reps per leg
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: quads, hamstrings, glutes, legs, lower back, abs

6. Overhead Lunge

While still effective without equipment, this bodyweight workout yields maximum results when you bring in a medicine ball. Either way, perform these steps (while inhaling and exhaling carefully):

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent
  • Raise your arms (or a medicine ball) above your head, keeping them centered between the shoulder joints
  • Exhale as you step forward into a deep lunge
  • Drive your forward heel into the ground
  • Return to the starting position
  • Perform 10 reps before switching legs

Start with: 3 sets of 10 reps per leg
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: core, quads, glutes, traps, hamstrings, hip flexors

7. Step-Up with Knee Raises

This one requires a bench or box and helps even out muscle imbalances in your lower body. Here’s how to do it:

  • Put the bench (or box) in front of you
  • Step onto the platform with one foot
  • Drive through with your other foot, raising your knee as high as you can
  • Lower the knee and step back to the floor
  • Switch to the other foot and repeat

Start with: 3 sets at 60 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: quads, hamstrings, glutes

Best Bodyweight Exercises for a Full Body Workout Routine

1. Pistol Squat

Kick off your full body workout routine with this wildly effective leg exercise. Here’s how to perform it:

  • Stand with your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart
  • Lift one leg off the floor
  • Bend your standing knee to squat down as low as you can, all while keeping your back straight
  • Push through at the heel as you return to the starting position
  • Switch legs and repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 14 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves

 

2. Spaceman Jump

Part two of this full body workout brings out your inner spaceman, one jump at a time. It also helps you build explosive strength. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend down and then push off your right foot into the air, landing on your left foot
  • Sink as you land and perform the same exercise in the opposite direction

Start with: 3 sets at 30 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: legs

3. Side Plank

Modern fitness freaks are all about the side plank and with good reason. Here’s how to get it done:

  • Lie on your left side and prop your upper body onto your forearm, keeping the knees straight
  • Tighten your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line
  • Hold the position and breathe deeply
  • Roll over and repeat on the other side

Start with: 3 sets of 4 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings

4. Prone Back Extension

Playing off the natural motions and contours of your back, this bodyweight exercise might very well be more effective than your average machine-based counterpart. Here it is:

  • Lie flat on the floor with your palms facing upward and your toes touching the ground
  • Pull your shoulders back and lift your legs as high as they go, slowly raising yourself off the ground
  • Look straight ahead and hold
  • Return to the starting position and repeat

Start with: 3 sets at 30 seconds per set
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: spine, back stabiliser muscles

5. Bench Dips

Round out your full body (or should we say “full bodyweight”) workout with this vigorous exercise. Naturally, you’ll need a bench. Perform the following steps:

  • Facing away from the bench, grab it with both hands at shoulder-width
  • Extend your legs in front of you
  • Flex at the elbow and slowly lower your body until your forearms achieve a 90-degree angle
  • Use your triceps to return to the starting position
  • Repeat

Start with: 3 sets of 12 reps
Muscles this bodyweight exercise targets: triceps, anterior delts, pectorals

General FAQ

Can you build muscle mass with bodyweight exercises?

Yes, you can build muscle with push-ups and other bodyweight exercises. Beginners, in particular, will see results.

How do I get in shape with bodyweight exercises?

To get in shape, perform bodyweight exercises with consistency and dedication. You should also put together full body workout routines, building upon sets and reps as you improve.

Are bodyweight workouts effective?

When performed with dedication and consistency, bodyweight workouts can be highly effective.

Can you get ripped with bodyweight exercises?

There are a number of bodyweight exercises that will build muscles in your abs, legs, arms, chest, and other areas of your body.

How many pushups should I do a day to get ripped?

When it comes to push-ups, start by performing 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps and work your way up as you improve.

Should you do bodyweight exercises everyday?

Presuming you don't go overboard, you can and should perform bodyweight exercises every day.

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