19 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do At Home

Get strong with a quick no-equipment workout

Strong woman in a plank

?Delmaine Donson?/ Getty Images

Bodyweight exercises are full-body strength training exercises that can help you stay fit at home because they require little to no equipment. These conditioning exercises use the weight of your body against gravity to provide resistance training for your muscles.

Bodyweight training is extremely popular and celebrities like Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Aniston are known for touting the benefits of these full-body exercises and using them as part of their regular fitness and strength-training routines.

Bodyweight conditioning circuits include exercises like cardio calisthenics that require less strength so they can be performed for a set duration, usually between 30–60 seconds, similar to an interval workout or circuit training.

Bodyweight exercises can range from low to high intensity depending on your health status, level of fitness, and strength training goals.

Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

A bodyweight workout can be designed to work the whole body to build muscle mass and improve endurance, flexibility, speed, precision, coordination, balance, and stability. The level of intensity and the number of repetitions is entirely up to you.

In clinical trials, research has shown that high-intensity interval bodyweight training (HIBWT) can build muscle mass and also improve insulin resistance and even reduce inflammation in postmenopausal women at risk for type 2 diabetes.???????????

At the other end of the spectrum, a 2018 study on low-intensity bodyweight training for older adults showed significant improvements in physical function and muscular strength.??????????????

Strength training combined with heart-pumping cardio supports long-term health and vitality, and everyone can benefit from this type of exercise.???? No-equipment bodyweight exercises are an ideal way to get a strengthening workout anytime, anywhere—whether you're staying at home or traveling.

Everyone can benefit from strength and resistance training,????? and there's plenty of evidence to support that getting strong, fit, and healthy protects us from chronic disease as we age.????

How to Do a Bodyweight Workout

Before you begin a bodyweight workout, it's recommended to start with a light warm-up for 5–10 minutes. This can be walking, marching in place, or simply stepping side to side. The goal of the warmup is to get your blood circulating, heart pumping, and your body temperature rising in order to prepare your muscles and joints for the higher-intensity exercises.

Many bodyweight exercises can be performed on repeat for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your conditioning. The idea is to transition to the next exercise smoothly but quickly, resting in between each exercise for up to a minute, if need be.

Depending on which exercises you want to perform, you can continue a bodyweight exercise routine as long as you like, but try to aim for a goal of 20–30 minutes. That might mean completing a couple of sets of each exercise, depending on how many exercises you choose to do.

When you're finished, cool down with at least 5 minutes of gentle stretching and simple movement. Be sure to hydrate and replenish your body with healthy fuel.

It's important to pay attention to your body while you're doing these exercises. If you feel any pain, stop the exercise immediately and rest. Listening to your body and knowing your limits can help prevent injury.

19 At-Home Bodyweight Exercises

The best part about having a variety of bodyweight exercises to choose from is you can custom tailor your workout to suit your level of fitness. Some require basic at-home gym equipment like a pullup bar or props you can easily find around the house, while others simply use your own body weight.

Shake up your usual workout with some at-home bodyweight conditioning. These are some of the best bodyweight exercises for building and maintaining muscle strength and endurance and establishing an interval training routine. Depending on what you have on hand, you might even try them all.

Abdominal Crunches

Exercises that target the abdominals and strengthen the core not only prepare you for tougher full-body bodyweight exercises but will help you perform the moves for longer sets.

Ab exercises can be done almost anywhere with no equipment and there are many varieties to try. If you're still developing core strength, we recommend trying some moves from this list of The Best Ab Exercises You Can Do or trying this 20-Minute Core Workout.

If you're ready to try some basic abdominal crunches, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, maintaining a neutral spine. Place your fingertips to each side of your head just behind your ears. Curl up slowly so both your shoulders lift off the floor a few inches. Hold for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.

Don’t tuck your chin to your chest; keep your head up, and don't pull on your neck. Repeat the crunches for up to 2 minutes.

Reverse Crunches

For this variation on the classic crunch, lie on your back with your hands by your sides. Lift your legs in the air as you flex your hips to about 90 degrees and maintain a neutral spine. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lift your hips off the floor as you imagine trying to touch the ceiling with your toes.

Your knees will come toward you slightly to flex your hips past 90 degrees, but be mindful not to move in a rocking motion. Hold a few seconds and repeat for up to 2 minutes. Rest for 1 minute.

Supermans

Superman exercises target the abdominals and lower back. Lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you and legs stretched out behind you. Raise your arms and legs off the ground a few inches, hold a few seconds, and then lower.

Be mindful of any discomfort or pain in your lower back as this could indicate your limbs are lifted too far off the ground. You can also try alternating supermans by lifting and lowering the opposite arm and leg. Repeat for up to 2 minutes.

Pushups

Pushups are a time-tested strength-building exercise for the upper body and core. Start in a plank position or lower your knees to a tabletop if you're still building up your strength.

Perform four pushups, abs in, and spine neutral. On the fifth pushup, lower halfway down and hold for 4 counts. Push back up and repeat the series—4 regular pushups and 1 halfway down—five or more times for up to 2 minutes.

Power Planks

Get into a plank position with your hands a little wider than your shoulders and your legs parallel. Pull your abdominals in and up to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine to avoid collapsing in your shoulders or dropping your hips.

"Push" the floor away from you with your hands to prevent "banana back" as you reach through the crown of your head. Keep your gaze to the floor or a few feet out in front of you as you extend through your cervical spine (neck). Try to hold this position for as long as you can, ideally for the full 2 minutes.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers, also known as running planks, target the whole body. Start on your hands and knees, and get into a sprinter’s start position.

Keep your hands on the ground and push off with the balls of your feet so you alternately lift each knee to your chest (similar to running in place) for up to 2 minutes. Keep your spine neutral, not arched.

Pullups

Pullups are a great, simple way to build serious upper-body strength. The pullup exercise does require some basic equipment such as a pullup bar hung in a doorway, or some creativity. If there's a playground in your area, there may be a bar you can hang from there.

Start by hanging and allowing your arms to fully extend overhead. Exhale as you pull yourself up with your chin level to the bar. Pause at the top, then inhale as you lower. Repeat the pullup 5 times or more and then rest.

Chair Dips

For these triceps dips, you’ll simply need a sturdy chair. Sit on the edge of the chair with the palms of your hands down and gripping the edges. Slide forward just far enough that your rear clears the edge of the chair and bend your elbows to 90 degrees.

Keep your knees slightly bent as you dig your heels into the floor—going barefoot or wearing athletic shoes will work best, as socks will slip. Engage your triceps and start dipping, keeping your elbows in at your sides. Repeat for 30 seconds (or even up to 2 minutes) and then rest.

Wall Sit

The beloved (albeit grueling) wall sit is a great stability move for building isometric strength in the lower body and core.

With your back against a wall and your feet about 2 feet away from the wall, slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold the position as long as you can, keeping your spine glued to the wall and your hips parallel with your knees, for up to 2 minutes.

Wall Squat Thrusts

Switch up your wall sit with wall squat thrusts, which can also be performed for up to 2 minutes. To do them, turn around to face the wall and keep your feet about hips-width distance apart a few feet from the wall. Reach your arms in front of you and press your hands into the wall for support.

Slowly lift one knee a few inches in toward your chest and then lower, then lift the opposite knee and lower. As you improve your fitness, you can increase your leg lift speed and shift your weight onto the ball of the grounded foot.

One-Leg Balance / Squat / Reach

This dynamic move will test your balance and fire up your glutes. Place an object on the floor, several feet in front of you (a book, perhaps). Stand on one leg and balance on it for 20–30 seconds, then add a slight squat motion.

Then slowly squat down even more and reach out with one arm and gently touch the object on the floor. Keep your spine as close to neutral as you can and slowly return to an upright position using your core muscles. After about a minute, perform the exercise on the other side.

Jump Squats

The jump squat, also known as a squat jump or tuck jump, is a bodyweight exercise favorite due to its explosive power that targets the core and lower body muscles.

Start with your feet shoulder-width distance apart and knees slightly bent. Bend your knees and lower into a squat as you engage your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Using your lower body, push off the floor and allow your legs to extend as you jump a few inches or more to lift your feet off the floor.

On your descent, control your landing by lowering to the balls of the feet first, followed by the arches and heels, and then return to a squat to repeat another jump. Continue for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. Rest for 1 minute.

Squat Thrusts

Squat thrusts are a version of burpees that work the entire body and get the heart pumping. Stand with your feet a little wider than hips-width distance apart and lower into a deep squat as you touch your hands to the floor just in front of you.

Jump your feet out behind and land in a pushup position with your body in a straight line, then right away, jump your feet back to your starting position. Continue jumping your feet out and back in using quick, yet controlled movements for up to 2 minutes, completing 1–3 sets.

Optional: Add more intensity by standing up each time you jump the feet back in and then jump up, which turns this explosive move into a burpee variation.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks burn up to 100 calories per minute, making this classic move a great full-body combination of cardio and strength training. Because jumping jacks are a high-impact exercise, you'll want to wear proper athletic shoes to protect your joints.

To increase the level of intensity in your jumping jacks, you can try "plyo-jacks," which incorporate a deep squat then an explosive jump in the air.

Side Jumps

These lateral plyometric jumps improve agility and increase power and endurance. Start standing with your feet parallel. Jump to the right several feet and bend your knees as you land in a squat position. Jump back to the left, drawing your feet together, then lower into another squat.

Continue jumping from side to side. Use a small object to jump over if you like (cone, book, yoga block, etc.) and continue for up to 2 minutes.

Backward Stride

This lower-body move requires some coordination but is sure to get your heart rate up. Start by standing with your feet together. Stride backward with one leg to tap the ball of the foot to the floor as you raise the arms to shoulder level.

Lower the arms to your side as you step back to your starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Pick up the pace and keep moving for up to 2 minutes.

Jump Lunges

Lunges target the hips, glutes, and thighs, and adding a jump gets the heart pumping. Start in a classic lunge position with one foot forward and one foot back. Bend your knees deeper, and then jump up high to switch leg positions.

Use explosive, but controlled movements, repeating the jump lunges for up to 2 minutes.

Walking Lunge

Walking lunges work the quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core. Start at one end of the room and take a long stride forward with the right leg and bend the knee to 90 degrees to land in a lunge. Straighten the knee to stand back up, and step forward with the other leg to land in another lunge.

Continue the walking lunges until you reach the other side of the room, and then turn around. Perform walking lunges to the other side of the room and turn around again, continuing the exercise for up to 2 minutes.

Shadow Boxing

At-home shadow boxing provides cardio and strength training and tests balance and coordination. Focus on controlled movements with your air punches, and stay light on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent and feet in position.

Practice jabs and uppercuts and all your favorite boxing moves. Hold a water bottle or light dumbbells in each hand for more resistance training.

If you are motivated and a little creative, you can get a bodyweight workout anytime, anywhere to improve your physical fitness and overall health while strengthening your heart and lungs. If you're new to full-body exercises and have any health concerns, check with your health care provider before beginning a bodyweight exercise program, and always listen to your body for signs of pain or injury.

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