No Equipment? Bodyweight Workouts Can Get You There
by Jackie Burgmann, creator of "Hot at Home" - The Transformation Solution for People Who Hate The Gym
Let’s face it, even if you work out at home, you can’t always get to the equipment.
And if you work out at a gym, when life gets hectic, it can be twice as challenging to get there and get the workout done.
However, that doesn’t mean your workout has to wait.
You’ve got a body, don't ya? It weighs something (and I'm guessing it weighs more than 100 lbs, almost every adult weighs at least 100lbs).
Yes, bodyweight exercises are the answer to the 'no time, no equipment' dilemmas.
You can do bodyweight exercises almost anywhere at any time.
Here are the best bodyweight exercises you can use when time is tight and equipment is non-existent.
Lunges are terrific for toning and developing your lower body. Your legs, butt and hips will all benefit from Lunges.
If you’re low on space, just do regular lunges, moving forward and back repeatedly, or backward lunges or side lunges.
If you’re outdoors or have a larger workout space do walking lunges, moving forward continuously, and then backward until you get back to your starting point.
If you have something heavy you can hold in each hand, do bicep curls or shoulder presses as you do each lunge.
Again, use your creativity and you’ll find lots of ways to change it up.
You could even lunge your way all the way to work in the morning and back at the end of the day if you don’t mind a few snickers from passersby along the way (just tell them you're practicing for a Monty Python skit with your theatre group).
Squats are also great for working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, all that good stuff below your belly button.
Throw your arms out in front of you as you lower yourself and lower them as you raise yourself to give your upper body something to do, and now you're working your shoulder and back muscles too.
Or hold something heavy if you’ve got something heavy close by. Make it more challenging by holding that something heavy over your head while you squat. Hello Shoulders!
You can make this exercise even harder by doing a timed set. Try to see how many "proper form" bodyweight squats you can do in 5 minutes flat. My record is 235. That’s not easy, trust me. However, it is a short but killer workout.
Or mix it up by doing Split Squats or Squats with one leg behind you on a table or chair, or widen your stance beyond shoulder width to hit your inner thighs harder.
There’s lots of ways to get variety in your squats. It just takes a little imagination.
If done correctly Pushups are very challenging. And there are lots of ways to get variety here, too.
Try them with your hands close together, or one hand beside your chest and the other one beside your ribcage.
Try doing spiderman pushups where you bring one knee towards your elbow with each push or if you're really strong (and have great balance skills) try one armed pushups.
Get even more intense about it by puttingyour feet on a table or stool, or if you’re really exceptional in the strength department, the wall. The higher you place your feet, the bigger the challenge.
4) Pull-ups or Chin-ups.
You do need a bar or at least something stable you can hang off of to do Pull-ups, but if you are near a playground or a sturdy tree branch, you still don't need any special equipment.
Otherwise, get a pull-up bar installed in a doorway in your home. It is worth the investment, and they're very handy for many other bodyweight exercises like hanging leg lifts and bodyweight back rows.
It will surprise you how fast you can build up strength for this one if you can do one or two several times a day just walking through your doorway the ’hard’ way!
5) Towel Back Rows.
Towel Rows are great for working your back muscles. These are also known as "Reverse Rows".
Like Pull-ups you will need to find something to hook a towel around (hint: see 'Pull-up Bar' from #4) that you can lie under and use to pull yourself up. But if you have even a banister or railing in your home, that will do just fine.
You may think Planks look pretty easy to do. Done correctly they definitely are NOT easy to do, at least for more than about 15 seconds.
Let me ask you this... as you travel through life do you sometimes feel like time goes by too quickly?
Let me solve that for you: try doing a front plank for one minute and experience how that one minute can feel like an eternity.
Trust me, time will feel like it's CRAWLING by as you wait for that second hand to hit the :60 second marker so you can let go of the position.
Do Front Planks, Side Planks and Back Planks. Want to make your planks harder? Do them from a straight arm position, supporting yourself with your hands, not your elbows.
Want to make your Planks even more challenging?
Add a dumbbell snatch to your Side Planks and do them in reps instead of holding. It hurts so good, and your shoulders will be the first to show you the great things that exercise is for you.
Supermen isometric exercises that are great for your lower back and core.
Just get on the floor into a Superman like stance with your hands out in front of your face raised off the ground and your legs raised out behind you with your feet off the ground.
Now just hang there for as long as you can and pretend you’re flying over Gotham City looking for The Joker!!
Hold at least one minute, work up to your own personal best. Hey, the Riddler needs to be caught too, right?
Oh wait. Those guys are Batman's enemies. Well, whatever. You get what I'm sayin'.
8) Mountain Climbers / Mountain Jumpers / Breakdancers.
Mountain Climbers, Mountain Jumpers and Breakdancers are all similar to each other and are done from a
pushup position and accomplished by bringing your feet up to your hands either in a jumping motion,
climbing motion or breakdancing motion (hence the names). They are also fantastic exercises for getting
your heart rate up.
Just move your feet one at a time up to beside your hands for mountain climbers, jump your feet both at the same time up to beside your hands for mountain jumpers or twist your body so that your feet land one at a time beside the opposite hand for breakdancers.
Not easy, but darn fun!
9) Calf Raises.
All you need is a small ledge or a stair where you can dip your heels below the level of the ledge in order to give your calves a workout with Calf Raises.
Raise those heels up, then lower them down, raise up, lower down. It's as simple as that.
Calf raises are the best way to work those calves that I can think of, and they're easy to accomplish almost anywhere as long as you can find a stair or ledge.
10) Bench Tricep Dips.
Use a chair, coffee table or stool to work your triceps with Bench Dips.
Make your Bench Dips harder by finding something to raise your feet onto while you use your arms to support yourself on the stool to dip your glutes towards the floor and back up again. How about the couch, another chair or your ottoman?
Bonus Bodyweight Fun:
Burpees. This is an exercise that you will likely love to hate. With a passion.
Burpees will kick your butt hard. Start with a squat press but at the top of the move, add a jump throwing your hands in the air. At the mid-point of the move, instead of just squat pressing, do a push-up at the end before jumping up. Ouch.
If you want to make it even harder, jump up to a pull-up bar and do a pull-up before hitting the ground again.
Now THAT’s challenging. And fun.
Extra Bonus Bodyweight Fun:
So, yes, you do need a rope so theoretically you need one minor piece of 'equipment'. But with just a tiny bit of forethought you can shove that little item into your briefcase or purse for later.
Jumping rope is a fantastic full body cardio workout, plus it works your calves hard. And jumping rope tests your coordination while you’re at it.
How long can you jump before that rope hits your feet and interrupts your rhythm? Try to break your record every time.
Bodyweight workouts are a great way to get in shape with no (or minimal) investment and zero equipment so get out there (or stay in here) and have fun!
There are tons of great workout tips, mindset tricks and nutrition strategies in the ultimate Home Workout Guide "Hot at Home".
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