Ancient Bodyweight Exercises that Still Work Nowadays

The past shaped our future, and this is true even in the fitness world. Despite new technologies, bodybuilders get their inspiration from ancient methods that were used way back in time. For you to get a shredded body, you don’t have to use dumbbells, barbells, and other fancy machines. The ancient methods kept it simple yet used to work miraculously. Bodyweight exercises target the upper and lower-body muscles, and according to research published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45-minute bodyweight training increases your metabolic rate for up to 45 hours. Astonishing, isn’t it? Interested to find out the ancient bodyweight exercises that still work nowadays? Let’s get right to it.

The Half Moon Push Up

Popular among jiu-jitsu players, the half-moon pushups help to prevent injuries to the ribs while at the same time helping you develop greater strength through a greater range of motion.

How to do it:

  • Your starting position is the bear squat, with your arms fully stretched outwards. Your hands should be shoulder width apart, feet hip-width apart, and your knees bent with your butt close to the heels.
  • With your body close to the ground, pull yourself up through your hands like in a pull-up motion. At the same time, turn your knees and torso simultaneously toward the left side. This move puts a lot of weight on your right hand.
  • Push yourself until your chest is in line with your shoulders and palms, and then start shifting your weight to the left and turn your knees and torso to the right.
  • Make sure you turn until you’re fully facing the right side.
  • Now, start pushing yourself back turning your knees and torso back to the starting position, which is the bear squat.
  • To do several reps, alternate the side on which you start this exercise. For instance, if you start by turning to the left, the next rep should start by turning to the right side.
  • Keep in mind that this push up should be performed in one seamless motion as if drawing a ‘C’ as your body moves across the floor. That’s where it gets the name, half-moon push-ups.

Spider Crawl

This exercise works your core, chest, arms, shoulders, and legs, all at once. It’s a perfect exercise that touches on almost all body muscles. Plus, you can do it anywhere at any time.

How to do it:

  • Get into a press-up position.
  • Raise your left foot off the floor and bring the knee towards your left elbow.
  • Hold that position for three seconds and return to the starting (press-up) position.
  • Repeat with your right leg.
  • The trick here is to tighten your core and try to bring the knees as close to your elbows as possible.

Hindu Squats

This is an ancient exercise that was used by Hindu wrestlers many years back. This is deeper than normal squats as it forces your knee over your toe. It’s, therefore, not recommended if you have a knee injury.

How to do it:

  • In a standing position, take your feet hip-width apart and extend your hands out in front of you. However, your stance shouldn’t be as wide as in a normal squat.
  • Begin to squat while putting your weight on the balls of your heels. Allow your knees to pass over your toes.
  • Keep your back straight and head up. Allow your hands to swing back out behind you and keep your fingers extended outwards.
  • Lower yourself all the way down until your butt touches your heels. When you get to this position, your hands should be beside you with your fingers brushing the floor beside your feet.
  • With your weight on the balls of your feet, press the ground using your arms and slowly swing back up to the starting position, with your hands stretched out in front of you. While performing this explosive exercise, keep your chin, back, and torso up. Do this exercise slowly, avoiding not to drop too quickly.

Burpee Jumps (Bastards)

If you want a rapid calorie burner, burpee jumps are great. Also known as bastards, this exercise attacks numerous muscles on your body due to the amount of effort it requires. You can incorporate this exercise anywhere between your workout regimen, and it’s going to get tough.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, making sure your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Place the palms of your hands on the floor and kick your legs out behind you until you get into the press-up position.
  • Bring your legs back to the squat position (tucked between your hands) in a quick motion and push yourself upwards so that you’re about six inches off the ground. Repeat until failure.

Frozen V-Sit

If you want a six-pack, this old as time exercise is your best friend. While crunches are also good, v-sits pushes your core muscles to the limit, adding more tension, hence building your six-packs faster. To get the most out of this exercise, you need to practice control and balance. Do it slowly and try to keep your back straight.

How to do it:

  • Lie flat down with your back on the floor.
  • Stretch out your legs and lift them slightly off the ground. Your arms should be outstretched as well.
  • Simultaneously raise your legs and torso and try to touch your feet with your fingers.
  • Hold this position for five seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat as many times as you can.

All images by Pixabay


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