As part of today’s society, most people are judged on their physical fitness based on their overall body shapes. If you have more body fat, you are most likely to undergo some scrutiny for such a body shape. Through such scrutiny and judgments, a large percentage has started making strides towards transforming their body shapes. In most cases, the uniform goal for women is attaining a curvy body shape and men a muscular physique. Read on to find out about body composition exercises.
You can indeed transform your body into your desired body shape. However, you will need to change your diet and exercise plans. Most people have no problem with the diet aspect as healthy eating is being highly embraced in today’s society.
The problem lies in exercise. It is not about not figuring when and how long you work out but instead what exercises to perform. For the longest time now, most people have been doing the wrong exercises in a bid to try and transform their bodies. It has resulted in a few changes. You ought to identify the correct body composition exercises, and particularly those that work best for you.
In this article, we will be analyzing five effective body composition exercises to help you attain your desired body shape. We will examine how you ought to do them as well as their benefits.
Body Composition Exercises
Body mass, body composition, and body mass index are some popular terms you will hear in the fitness industry. They are believed to have quite an impact on your overall body health. One of the most striking terms that have garnered attention over time is body composition.
Body composition refers to the ratio of your body’s fat to lean mass. To evaluate it, experts look at your total body fat percentage (1). According to experts, your body fat may tend to change due to your dietary patterns, age, genes, and other primary factors. Below is a sample of the recommended body fat percent within different age groups (1):
Ages 20 To 29 (Women):
- Excellent: 14 to 16.5%
- Good: 16.6 to 19.4%
- Fair: 19.5 to 22.7 %
- Poor: Between 22.8 to 27.1%
- Dangerously low: Under 14%
- Dangerously high: Over 27.2%
Ages 20 To 29 (Men):
- Excellent: 8 to 10.5%
- Good: 10.6 to 14.8%
- Fair: 14.9 to 18.6 %
- Poor: Between 18.7 and 23.1%
- Dangerously low: Under 8%
- Dangerously high: Over 23.2%
Having a high percentage of body fat can be harmful and lead to possible health risks. So, you need to maintain your body fat to acceptable levels, depending on your age. As mentioned earlier, your diet and exercise plan has a high influence on your body composition.
Therefore, you cannot work on one and leave the other out and still expect to transform your body shape. It does not work like that. The two work simultaneously, therefore, go hand in hand. Let us evaluate some of the best body composition exercises you can do at home.
You can choose to do all or combine 3 exercises for body composition from this list. The best way to figure out the best combination is to seek expertise on the same. So, seek professional help before you start these workouts.
5 Examples Of Body Composition Exercises You Can Do At Home
Transforming your body shape is not as hard as it may sound. Whether you want to lose weight or lose fat but gain muscles, the fact is that such goals are achievable. The trick is discovering the key body composition exercise to perform in order to attain these goals.
Here is a sample of five effective workouts to try at home to transform your body shape. Remember to consult with your trainer and doctor before trying any of these exercises. They are:
Burpees are among the best total body exercises. Performing them makes your heart pound faster, and your heart rate increases quickly. They are great workouts to train your muscle coordination, endurance, and power (3).
However, simply because they are effective does not mean they are a favorite. You may hate them, specifically, because they tend to incorporate other exercises. A burpee will incorporate a squat, a push-up, and a jump.
You may modify a burpee depending on your fitness abilities. Nonetheless, the basic protocol of performing a burpee is as follows:
- Start in a standing position with your arms by your sides. When ready, drop into a squat.
- Instead of coming back up, you will proceed to drop into the high plank position.
- Perform one push-up, and then jump up into the standing position.
- Repeat your set, take a break, and, if possible, do another set or two.
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When you start your fitness journey, you will be classified into the beginner, intermediate, or advanced fitness levels. The fitness aspect determines the exercise variation or modification that you perform. Here are various key pointers to take note of when doing the burpee:
- If you are new to these workouts, enroll a trainer to help you perform them correctly. Similarly, you can reduce the intensity of this workout by first skipping the jump (8).
- If you have any hip or knee injuries, consult with your doctor before doing burpees. If they give you the go-ahead to perform them, skip the jumps at first. These entail the jumps back to the plank position from the squat and the jump from the squat up. Instead, walk it out.
- If you want to add intensity, especially if you are in the advanced fitness level, don’t skip the jumps. Similarly, try doing one or two push-ups to make it more challenging.
While exercises are indeed vital for general body fitness, it does not mean that they ought to be loved. In the list of the exercises, most people would rather not do the push-ups. It is not because they are not effective but instead because they can be quite complex at first.
Although they are certainly not the easiest, they are very effective in muscular development. The following all-body exercise will work your chest, legs, shoulder, arms, and core muscles. The other great thing about this body composition exercise is that you can do it anywhere and any time.
Experts advocate for this exercise and prefer it over the chest press machine exercise (2). It is because it is better in building muscular development and activating your total core. Here is how you do a push-up:
- Start by kneeling on the floor with your head facing downward. Press your palms on the floor and directly beneath your shoulders. Make sure your arms are straight and fully extended.
- Stretch your legs back and make sure your body weight rests on the balls of your feet. Keep your back straight, such that your entire body appears to form a straight line.
- Slowly start to lower your body as if you want your nose or chest to touch the floor. Do not let your body lie on the floor. It should rest a few inches from it. Hold this position for some seconds, and then push yourself back up.
- Do ten reps for one set and proceed to do another set after taking a break.
Your reps may vary depending on your trainer’s instructions or on your fitness level. If you are at the advanced phase, you may tend to do more reps before tiring. Again, this basic variation may be challenging for beginners. Here is an easier low-impact modification of the exercise that you can try at first:
- Start in the same position and stretch your arms to allow your palms to rest underneath your shoulders.
- Instead of extending your legs back, you will simply rest on your knees. You will continue to lower your body and lift it while in this position. Over time, this modification will become effortless and less challenging, and your trainer will recommend doing the standard push-up version.
Below are more expert-approved tips to help you perfect how you do this body composition exercise (4):
- If you are a beginner, start doing push-ups in the presence of an instructor. If it is not possible, then do this full-body workout in front of your mirror. It will help you have a glimpse of your form. If you are doing the wrong push-up form, you will get to correct it before it leads to any injuries.
- If you want to tone your muscles, focus on your reps and variations. Do not just do many reps of the standard push-up version. You can also do this exercise on your knees or while you stand at a wall.
- For more muscle mass in your back and upper arms, do fewer reps but with a maximum weight load. Remember to keep your legs straight and lower your chest not less than two inches from the floor.
Squats are also great exercises to maintain body composition. They are particularly effective in helping you work out your lower body muscles. You might have seen or heard about it among the people obsessed with these exercises due to their impeccable results.
However, sometimes your obsession may not yield results. You may want to sculpt your lower body but end up injuring your back and knees in the process. It happens when you do the wrong form of this exercise.
Here is a guideline on how to do a proper regular squat (10):
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. You should be facing directly in front.
- Stretch your arms in front of your body and slowly start to lower your butt as if you are seating. Try to lower it as much as possible without tripping or losing your balance. Again, remember to keep your back straight. Take note of your knees to make sure they are not in front of your toes. Hold this squatting position for a while before standing to the starting position.
- Clench your glutes after you stand and repeat this as many times as possible.
For more intensity, you can hold onto weights to make these squats more challenging. Remember to consult a fitness coach before you start incorporating weights into your workout plans.
Again, like any other exercise, you can also perform various modifications of the squat. If you want to lose butt fat and sculpt this region, then try the one leg squat. It will be challenging to perform but will yield results. Here is how you do it (10):
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of your body.
- Stand on your right leg and extend your left one in front of you. Try to lift it as high as you can.
- Slowly start to descend into a squatting position. Be cautious as possible to avoid losing your stability and tripping over. Keep your back straight too, and your right knee in line with your right leg.
- Return to the starting stance and do this severally before switching to the left leg.
You also need to note that various injuries may arise when you are doing this body composition exercise. You may squat incorrectly and end up spraining or with a knee injury. Such issues may result in pain and tenderness around your knee or ankle area.
Experts advise you follow the following tips to the latter to avoid any issues arising from squatting incorrectly (7):
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart while starting, and hold out your arms to help in improving balance.
- As you drop into the squat position, breathe out and keep your heels firmly pressed on the floor.
- Keep your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Remember to keep your hips, toes, and knees pointing forward while in the squat stance.
- Breathe in as you return to the standing position.
Planks are other exercises for body composition that you can do at home. The plank exercise is very effective in improving your posture by strengthening various muscles. It works the muscles in your core, shoulders, hamstrings, and glutes.
The exercise also helps in the proper alignment of your spine. Experts recommend doing planks instead of either sit-ups or the crunch machine workout (2). It is because planks are much better for your spin and neck.
Besides that, they also help in activating the (transverse) abdominal muscles that are often overlooked. So, you can also do planks to help in building mass in these muscles.
Whatever reason you choose as your goal of doing planks, remember to consult with your doctor and trainer. Otherwise, you might end up doing this exercise believing it is helping yet causing more problems.
To plank correctly, you need to follow these steps (5):
- Get on the floor and onto your hands and knees. Find a comfortable mat if your floor is uncomfortable.
- Align your hands with your shoulders as you stretch them towards the floor. Similarly, align your knees with your hips.
- Start to slowly stretch your legs back until you come onto the balls of your feet. Straighten your legs and make sure that you are not bending either your knees or elbows. Also, keep your back straight such that your body forms a straight line.
- Open your chest and lean your shoulders back. Stay in this position anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds.
- Repeat as many times as you can.
As with the squats, there are also various plank variations. Perform the recommended variations by your instructor depending on your fitness abilities. Additionally, learn how to do each plank exercise correctly (9). It will help you transform into your desired body shape.
Similarly, take note of the instructed body forms while planking. It will help in avoiding injuries. For example, remember to keep your back straight. Remember to also breathe normally instead of holding your breath.
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The last exercise in this body composition exercise list is the lunges. Whether or not you have done a lunge before, you might be familiar with the lunge position. It is because chances are you have knelt before to tie your shoelace. Such a position is quite similar to the lunge stance.
However, it does not imply that whenever you go on one knee you are doing a lunge. That is not the case. There are various forms of lunges that you can be asked to do. So, the form may tend to vary depending on the variation you are doing.
Here is how you correctly perform a regular standing lunge:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms on your hips. Your feet must be firmly pressed on the ground.
- Take one huge step in front using your right leg. Start to slowly lower your body as if you want to kneel. Both of your knees will automatically bend. Remember to try to bend your knees not more than 90 degrees. Similarly, remember to keep the right knee aligned over your front ankle. Also, do not let your left knee touch the floor.
- Hold this position for some seconds before returning to the starting standing position.
- Do this severally for your right leg, and then alternate and do the same for your left leg.
NOTE: If done right, these exercises certainly help in transforming your body shape, especially your lower body. If not, it can put so much pressure on your knee joints and lower back, causing problems in these two regions (6).
Always take time to learn how to do an exercise before you start performing it. If this is not working, enroll a trainer to help you with your workouts. They will undoubtedly correct you whenever you do an exercise in the wrong form.
The Bottom Line
The search for the best body composition exercises is now higher than ever. It is because most people have a quest of transforming their current body types into their desired body shapes. You can transform your body at home by doing body composition exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees, and planks.
However, before you start these exercises, remember to talk to a licensed trainer, doctor, and dietitian. They will help in shedding more light on how you can incorporate these workouts into your schedule.
Check out the 20 Minute Full Body Workout at Home below.
All the views expressed in this article are meant for general informational purposes. They are not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Before acting upon any of the findings in this piece, always make sure you talk to your healthcare provider.
Reviewed by: Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer
- Body fat percentage charts for men and women (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Body-weight training: Ditch the dumbbells (2017, mayoclinic.org)
- Do 30-day fitness challenges you see on social media really work? (2019, nbcnews.com)
- Doing the Perfect Push-Up (2009, webmd.com)
- Exercises and tips for better posture (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How to Get a Better Butt (2006, webmd.com)
- Knee pain from squatting: What to do (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- List of the best full-body exercises (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Simple Fitness How-Tos (2020, webmd.com)
- The 12 best ways to lose butt fat (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)