You’re at home, tired and your local gym has been shut down. You enjoy exercising, but struggle to find a proper workout due to a lack of equipment. If this is the case, you’ve come to the right place because I have listed 10 of my favourite bodyweight exercises requiring no equipment whatsoever.
The push-up is one of the oldest and most well documented upper body exercises you will find without the use of additional weights. Depending on the variation, it can target any number of upper body parts, such as your chest (traditional push-up), triceps (diamond push-up) and shoulders (decline push-up).
“Keep your hands shoulder width apart. Keep your elbows tucked to your sides as you bring your chest all the way to the ground. Breath in on the way down and breath out as you push up.” –Francis Mathew
Access to weights or not, burpees are a great bodyweight exercise for anyone looking to get in tip top shape this summer. Aside from the multitude of benefits it entails to your cardiovascular health, this exercise works your whole body like few others can, hitting your chest, shoulders, arms, quads, glutes and core.
“Drop your tush first, eyes forward. Walk or float back to plank. Push-up optional. Walk or float back to wide frog squat. Stand tall with a straight back.” –Stephanie Lauren
3. Tricep Dips
Although a less common exercise than the above two, its lack of notoriety shouldn’t be held against the movement. In fact, one can contest that tricep dips are the most effective bodyweight movement you can impart upon your triceps. So if you lack a chin-up bar or dumbbells, fret not, because tricep dips will work your arms without either.
“Bend yours elbows and keep them pointing back. Shoulder blades wrap around the spine to keep the chest open. Every time you push up, push yourself out of the shoulders and elongate the neck. For added support, keep your feet on the floor right under your knees.” –phitosophy
If you’re reading this, you’re probably accustomed to doing squats with some form of weight resisting your movement, and thus are wondering why this is even listed here. However, it would be a travesty not to include the most complete exercise known to man, and you would be doing your body a disservice by not including these in your workouts. Even without the use of additional weight, there are plenty of squats you can challenge yourself with, such as jump squats, split squats and pistol squats.
“For the bodyweight squat, feet should start shoulder width apart. Depending on mobility, descend into a lowered squat position and drive through the heels into an upright position.” –Dillon Keane
Lunges are often used as a warmup exercise to more intense exercises, but that doesn’t need to be the case. There are different forms of lunges, such as the side lunge or the back lunge, both of which will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, as well as your hip flexors, a muscle group that often times will be neglected.
“When doing a lunge, you want your front knee tracking over your ankle/toes; your back knee pointing towards the floor; you are balancing on your back toe; and you want to keep your torso upright with tight abs.” –Chris Freytag
6. Calf Raises
Squats and lunges will blast your quadriceps and hamstrings, but in spite of this, it can be difficult to find bodyweight exercises that will target your calves. To do so, a great exercise is the oft-forgotten calf raise, which is specifically designed to build your calves. Usually, people will hold dumbbells to increase difficulty to their movement, but the same effect can be achieved by opting for volume over sheer weight. You can also mix things up by angling your feet inwards, straight or outwards, and your calves will thank you for it.
“You want to maximize the range of motion, dropping your heel as low as you can and getting a good stretch on the bottom end, while getting as high up as you can on the ball of your foot on the top end.” –Sean Harley
It can be hard to find an exercise predicated to strengthening your core, but the plank does just that, targeting your abs and your obliques to help turn that extra coat of protection into lean muscle mass. Though the most common type of plank is the front plank (mainly targeting your abs), the side plank is an equally effective exercise, putting more emphasis on your oblique muscles.
“Don’t let your butt creep up and your heels roll back. To get the most out of planks, push your heels forward until you’re up on your tippy toes.” –Kindal Boyle
It’s hard to believe that improving fitness can be done while lying on your stomach, but the superman exercise proves just that. This movement targets your abdominal muscles and your back, and when fully extended, has you emulating Superman while flying. Add this to your workout routine and you might wind up looking like him too.
“Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended, then hold. Keep your body completely rigid and don’t relax your muscles at all.” –niufittrainer
9. Jumping Jacks
We’ve all done this at one point or another during gym class and while it may not seem like it, there is merit behind this tiresome exercise. The jumping jack is an excellent way to enhance your cardio while working your glutes, quadriceps and hip flexors. Doing these at the start of your sessions will get the heart rate going and the blood flowing, setting you up for an intense workout.
“Keep moving and keep breathing. You don’t have to go super fast, simply stay consistent.” –bactivefitness
It may be hard to run within the confines of your own home, but a series of short sprints will work wonders for your explosiveness and is a true full body exercise, primarily hitting your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors. Ideally, these should be performed as high-intensity reps with significant rest in between, and doing so will ensure you become more explosive while working up a nice sweat.
“It is key to maintain high heel recovery. The most common cueing mistake is high knees.” –Will Collins
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, it’s time to pop the champagne – you now have everything you need to get in some fantastic workouts and attain your greatest fitness goals. All that’s left is to strap on your sneakers and do it.