Fitness isn’t something that NEEDS fancy equipment to get you the results you are looking for. In fact, the oldest forms of exercise are available to everyone, for free, whether you are at home or on the go.
Bodyweight training allows people to add strength and flexibility to their frame without the need to spend hundreds to THOUSANDS of dollars. They are THAT effective. There is also the added bonus of being able to take your training on the road with you.
(In fact, you can apply these to our Training While Traveling article)
But where do you start with your training? What bodyweight exercises provide you the best bang for your buck? Well if you are looking to enhance your no equipment workouts, here are some of our favorites that you can use
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The push-up is probably the single most well known bodyweight exercise of all time, hands down.
This movement requires only hands and the ground to build your upper body strength and size and with the amount of push-up variations available, it just cannot be beat for its versatility.
A basic push-up targets a very SPECIFIC set of mirror muscles (this is a wide callout that mirror muscles are what you see EASILY reflected in the mirror when you stand there), IE your triceps, pecs (chest), and anterior delts. The other advantage that comes with perfecting the push-up is you are able to focus more on different parts of the muscles worked depending on the variation.
If you are looking to NAIL the triceps, start bringing your hands in for a diamond push-up. If you are wanting a thicc chest, a wider grip works wonders. And if you are wanting to target your shoulders, put your feet on an elevated surface and to an “incline” push-up.
When it comes to pressing power, push-ups have you covered.
To perform the king of lower body strength training, all you need is your own two feet.
Learning how to squat properly and using it in your training will help you in all walks of life, from strength to balance and everything in between.
Two variations that we love for the booty builder are the balance heavy pistol squat and the explosiveness of a jump squat. The pistol squat works stabilizer muscles within your legs to maintain your momentum on the way down and up through the movement. With one leg in front of you and the other pushing, you won’t want to miss out.
As for the jump squat, it provides a phenomenal base for explosiveness within your training. It isn’t much more complicated than a regular body weight squat, just with a little… EXTRA power at the top to get your feet as far of the ground as you feel comfortable.
The squat, when done right, will allow you to get a sweat on and leave your legs shaking for days on end.
Planks and their variations are a killer way to build up your abdominal strength and endurance if you are having trouble hitting the gym.
While we think that the side plank is great for your obliques, the original will always hold a special place in our hearts and backs as the king of core exercises.
There are two basic positions for the plank, either palms or forearms touching the ground, but they both use the same two principles to perfect the abs.
Ideally when you are in a plank position, you will be squeezing THREE different parts of your body that are all connected.
First and most obvious will be your core or the middle part of your stomach. You aren’t sucking in, you are BRACING that part of your body solidly. Next you will be tucking your lats (back muscles) into your back pockets. Doing so will ensure that the entirety of your core is flexed perfectly.
The final part is a little known secret to the plank that adds that extra zest to the exercise and fortifies your body. SQUEEZE THE CHEEKS. And by cheeks we mean your buns, or you rear. Doing so will que your body into making sure that your hips don’t dip and your core is on fire.
When planking, don’t worry about how much you start shaking, because when you think you get it, you don’t. If you are able to go for a minute, go longer or have someone put some weight on your back if you absolutely need it. Your core will never be stronger… or sorer.
If you’re looking for an added pump to those logs you call legs, then lunges may be the move for you!
With a WIDE variation of lunges, from the regular walking lunge to a reverse lunge and even going side to side, you can hit nearly every leg muscle on all reps. An added bonus on lunges is that as a lower body leg strength exercise it also happens to hit your balance and jump-start coordination.
Our pick for best lunge variation is the demon that is a Bulgarian Split Squat. While many may say it falls into the “squat” category for most people, when performed right you need absolutely no weight to put the pump in your quads. In conception it’s close to the lunge, you just put the top of your rear foot on an elevated platform (think chair) and put most of the pressure through your front foot to really squeeze that quad.
No matter which lunge the community thinks is best, you would be remiss if you didn’t start adding them into a body weight routine in some fashion.
Burpees are the bastard child of Push-Ups, Squats, and straight up jumping.
Really, that is the simplest breakdown for a burpee that can be put into words. But if you are wanting the secrets to the proper technique for this full-body exercise, we have put in the literal reps on this.
A perfect burpee starts off with your arms bent at a 90 degree angle while you are standing. From there squat down to QUICKLY (listen, this whole exercise is for high-intensity workouts, so the whole thing will be quick) get in a proper push-up position where you will go down, touch your chest to the ground and push… back up. As soon as your arms have reached full extension in the push-up, quickly pull your feet in to a good squat position and from there lift your hands in the air as you explode from the bottom of the squat to having your feet off of the ground in a jumping position.
Burpees hit your cardiovascular system very well and are a staple component in any HIIT training session your are looking to do in a small area or on the go.
Burn the body with your badass burpees.
Finishing This Set
When it comes to getting fit anywhere, these body-weight exercises will take you as far as you can travel. From building that booty to making the business meeting mirror flex POP, your body is the canvas and the tool built with the ideals of health for you.
While we do love all of these exercises equally, what are the ones that you enjoy the most in your routine? Is it the squat? Push-up? Or maybe even the burpee.