When it comes to resistance training we all have our own individual preferences.

Some people love the power and explosiveness of Olympic lifts. Others prefer the steady challenge of balance focused movements. Lately, Crossfit has popularized intense circuit style training.

And none of these are inherently “better" than the others. They all have their strengths and benefits. They all have their time and place. They all have their fans. In fact, they can even all be used in combination.

But there is one style of training that should be done by everyone. I won't dub it the “king" of exercise styles or anything silly like that. There is no “king". But it does serve as a foundation for every possible movement that you can think of, from getting out of bed to hitting a new PR in the squat rack. And for this reason, it cannot be ignored.

I'm talking about body weight training. If you're new to functional training or training in general, then body weight training will teach you proper movement patterns and serve to familiarize you with your body before you begin to throw weights on top of it or BOSU balls beneath it. If you're a seasoned veteran, it will groove these patterns. And even if you're an all-out beast, there are variations of each of the fundamental body weight exercises that are sure to test your grit. And the best part? It can be done anywhere and at any time.

Below are the top four body weight exercises that everyone should be doing. And for each I've included a challenging variation that everyone should strive to accomplish.

1. Squat

The squat is arguably the most important movement you can do. The squat is at the crux of so many things we do, from just getting out of your chair to dunking a basketball. And being able to squat properly requires and thus teaches good hip mobility and healthy posture.

Begin by sitting onto a chair slowly like you sit onto the toilet and then do it without the chair. Your heels should stay flat and your chest should stay up and facing forward.

Challenge: Pistol Squat

2. Push-Up

I remember doing push-ups every summer before little league football started. I'm pretty sure it's the only off season resistance training I ever did. Before you can bench press your body weight you must be able to perform a proper push up.

Your abs should stay tight and your butt should not sink down any lower than your shoulders in order to properly engage the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Challenge: Handstand push-up or one arm push-up (depending on the muscle groups you are targeting)

3. Chin-Up

I think everyone remembers their first chin-up. Being able to pull your body weight up using only your arms is a fundamental measure of strength.

Focus on driving your elbows down to fully recruit your back and your biceps as you raise your body up.

Challenge: One arm chin-up (If you are unable to pull up with one arm, substitute with controlled negative)

4. Plank

The plank is so important not because of the strength it builds but because of how it forces you to engage your core. Once you know what this feels like, you can apply it to your other exercises. A strong core is at the core of a strong body. It will improve your performance with other exercises and help avoid the development of lower back pain. It cannot be ignored.

You should suck your belly in towards your spine while planking to engage all of the core musculature. Also be careful that your butt doesn't sink down below shoulder level or rise up far above it.

Challenge: Single leg plank | Plank with a weight on your back

About the Author: David De Las Morenas is an engineer turned personal trainer turned entrepreneur known for his bestselling books on Men's Health. Weck Method readers can download his new Free eBook at his website: www.HowToBeast.com.

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