Try these Bodyweight Exercises for a Quick No-Equipment Workout
Bodyweight exercises can help you stay fit at home, or on the road with little or no equipment. Here are a few of the best bodyweight exercises for maintaining muscle strength and endurance, or creating a great interval training routine at home. Mix and match the exercises to create the perfect workout for traveling, home fitness or simply adding a bit of variety to your typical exercise routine.
Start with a light warm-up for a few minutes. This can be walking, marching in place or stepping side to side. The goal of the warm-up is to get your blood circulating and your body temperature rising in order to prepare for higher intensity exercise.
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds to two minutes depending upon your conditioning and interest. Move to the next exercise smoothly, but quickly. You can continue the routine as long as you like but aim for a twenty to thirty-minute workout. Cool down with five or more minutes of stretching and easy movements.
- Ab exercises can be done almost anywhere with no equipment, and there are many varieties to try.
- Begin in push-up position, on knees or toes. Perform 4 push-ups, abs in and back straight. On the fifth push-up, lower halfway down and hold for 4 counts. Push back up and repeat the series – 4 regular push-ups and 1 halfway — 5 or more times.
- The pull-up exercise does require some basic equipment, or some creativity (go to a playground or find a low hanging tree branch, for example), but it’s a great, simple way to build upper body strength.
- Stand on one leg and balance it as long as you can. If this is too easy, add a slight squat motion. Still too easy? Place an object on the floor, several feet in front of you (a book, perhaps), and slowly squat down, and reach out with one arm and touch the object and slowly return to an upright position. Stay on one leg at all times. Repeat on the other leg after a minute or so.
- The tuck jump exercise ranks near the top of the list for developing explosive power using only an athlete’s body weight.
- You’ll need two chairs, (or a bed and a chair or a counter, etc…) for this great triceps exercise. Place two chairs facing each other, about 3 feet apart. Sit on one chair with the palms of your hands down and gripping the edge of the chair. Place your heels on the edge of the other chair and hold yourself up using your triceps. Slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the chair and lower yourself so your elbows are at 90 degrees. Do as many repetitions as you can.
- With your back against a wall and your feet about two feet away from the wall, slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold the position as long as you can. This is great for ski conditioning.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your fingertips to the side of your head just behind your ears. Push your lower back into the floor flattening the arch and hold. Curl up slowly so both your shoulders lift off the floor a few inches. Hold for a count of 2 and return to the start position. Tip: Don’t tuck your chin to your chest; keep your head up.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs stretched out. Raise your arms and legs off the ground a few inches, hold a few seconds, and then lower. Alternate arms and legs as an option. Repeat.
- Lie on your back with your hands out to your sides, and bend your knees. Bring your knees toward your head until your hips come up slightly off the floor (don’t rock). Hold one second and repeat.
- Get into push-up position on hands and toes, or on elbows and toes. Contract your abdominal muscles (and core). Keep your back straight (don’t collapse in the middle) and hold this position for as long as you can.
- Stand with feet together. Squat down and place your hands on the floor next to your feet. In an explosive movement, jump feet backward into a push-up position, jump feet back between hands and stand up.
- The basic jumping jack is a good cardio and strength training exercise.
- Stand with feet together. Jump to the right several feet, keeping knees bent and landing in a squat position. Jump back to the left and continue jumping from side to side. Use a small object to jump over if you like (book, pillow etc..).
- Start on your hands and knees and get into in a sprinter’s start position. Keep your hands on the ground and push off with your feet so you alternate foot placement (run in place) as long as you can. Be sure to keep your back straight, not arched.
- Lean into a wall with your hands and keep your feet shoulder-width apart several feet from the wall. Slowly lift one knee up toward your chest and back and then the other leg. As you improve your fitness, increase your leg lift speed and move your weight onto the ball of the rear foot.
- Stand with feet together. Stride backward with one leg, while raising the arms to shoulder level. Lower the arms to your side and repeat with the other leg. Pick up the pace for more cardio.
- Start in the lunge position – one foot forward and one foot back. Bend your knees and then jump up high and switch leg positions. Use explosive, but controlled movements.
- Start at one end of the room and take a long stride forward with the right leg. Bend down so the forward knee is directly over the toes and at a 90-degree angle. Rise up and repeat with the other leg across the room.
- Assume the position and go for a little shadow boxing. It’s really a pretty decent way to get your cardio and strength work all at once. Focus on controlled movements (not flailing punches), stay light on the balls of your feet and keep your knees bent. Practice jabs and uppercuts and all your moves. Hold a couple bottles of water for more resistance.
If you are motivated and a little creative, you can get a full body workout anytime, anywhere.
Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and listen to your body for signs of injury.
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