Bodyweight exercises are fantastic for countless reasons. For starters, you can do them nearly anywhere and don’t need any equipment save for your own sweet self. But pulling or pushing your own weight also allows you to work within your natural range of motion and perform more functional movements—which can help translate to a stronger core and less risk of injuries.
Here are three to tack onto your next walk or run. Pick the one that suits your fitness level, or do all three for a full-body challenge.
Step Calf Press
Strengthens: Calf muscles to help support ankles and improve balance.
Don’t just run or walk up that set of stairs. Each time you step onto a stair, press up onto the ball of your foot and squeeze your calf muscle. Hold for a second to balance yourself, and press up with each stair you encounter.
Bench or Wall Dip
Strengthens: Triceps—which you don’t often challenge with everyday movements. Typically your biceps see more action, like when you’re carrying bags or picking up other items.
Sit on a sturdy bench or short wall, and grab the bench with both hands at your sides, knuckles facing forward. Walk your feet out in front of you so that your knees are just slightly bent. Pull your abs in toward your spine to help stabilize your body, and lower your body toward the ground, until your elbows form 90-degree angles. Press back up, focusing on your triceps, and repeat for 10 reps.
Strengthens: Core, glutes and thighs—and is excellent for enhancing balance.
Stand a few feet in front of a sturdy bench (or wall) that’s about knee height, and place one foot behind you on the seat. Pull your abs in toward your spine to stabilize your core, and slowly lower toward the ground, keeping your chest up. You can clasp your hands in front of your chest or leave them at your sides—whichever feels best for balance. Lower until your knee forms a 90-degree angle and your thigh is parallel to the ground. Press back up to complete one rep, and repeat for a set of 10 reps before switching sides.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.