21 Best Bodyweight Exercises to Burn Fat and Build Muscle

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Any fit guy will tell you that abs are made in the kitchen. But while burning fat will always be a function of eating rightOpens a New Window.—opt for these ultra-fit foods, for example—making those love handles go away also requires a dedicated gym routine of high-intensity, calorie-incinerating exercises.

And when it comes to getting shredded, sometimes the best thing you can do is set down the heavy iron and go for all-out, bare-bones bodyweight exercises.

To get the skinny on doing exactly that, we talked to Mike DonavanikOpens a New Window., C.S.C.S., a Los Angeles-based trainer and the creator of the Extreme Burn workout series. He put together a quick cheat sheet of his top seven bodyweight exercises in three different categories: strengthcardio, and core.

You can do a handful (or more, if you’re feeling intense) of these moves en masse—and that means revving up your heart rate in quick, efficient workouts. They’re pretty much equipment-free, which means you can do them just about anytime, anywhere. The best part? You can switch these up with almost endless variations, to make sure you’re always challenging your muscles in new ways.

1. Bar muscle-ups

Best for: strength | Challenge: high

Hang from a pullup bar and then swing your body forward a bit, pulling your shoulder blades together so your head and chest move forward. Swing your legs behind you as your chest comes forward. You may need to practice the motion. Now drive your legs forward while you pull up to the bar. The momentum of your entire body will help you up, and you’ll rise to the bar in an arc rather than straight up. You’ll feel as if you’re cheating a regular pullup. Once up, try to get the upper part of your abs touching the bar, then straighten your hips and push down on the bar so you suspend yourself over it (as in a dip). Lower yourself back down and reset for the next rep.

2. Pullups

Best for: strength | Challenge: medium

Grab onto a bar and hang so that your arms are straight and your feet aren’t touching the ground. Pull yourself up so that your chest touches the bar, then slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.

3. Chinups

Best for: strength | Challenge: medium

Grab a pullup bar underhand at shoulder-width. Hang from the bar, and then pull yourself up until your chin is over it.

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