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Best Bodyweight Exercises

These bodyweight exercises can be done any time with no equipment


Updated June 03, 2011

The best thing about bodyweight exercise is that you have no excuse to not get a great workout no matter where you are or how much time you have. You can mix and match these exercises to create a bodyweight circuit, a mini workout or use them as part of an interval training routine.  Try these bodyweight exercises any time you need a quick, efficient and effective workout.

1. Push Ups

Push up
Photo (c) E. Quinn

Remember high school gym class? The push up is one great bodyweight exercise for building upper body and core strength without any equipment. 

2. Pull Ups

Pull Ups
Photo (c) Photodisc / Getty Images

Get s simple door way pull up bar or go to a playground or find a sturdy low-hanging tree branch, and you have a great, simple way to build upper body strength.

3. Burpees

Burpee Exercise
Photo (c) Mike Powell / Getty Images

Burpees are a tough, simple exercise for the total body and cardiovascular system quickly. Start by standing tall, then squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you and kick back to a push up position. Do a push if you want or just jump your feet back to start position, jump high in the air and repeat. Check out this burpee video to learn how to do it right.

4. Shuttle Sprints

Shuttle Sprints
Photo (c) Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
Shuttle sprints are a standard agility and speed drill used by athletes who play stop-and-go sports such as soccer, hockey, basketball, and tennis. To do shuttle sprints, simply set up two markers about 25 yards apart. Sprint from one marker to the other and back. That's one repetition. Try for 10 sprints at a time. You can do shuttle sprints forward, forward and backward or side-to-side.

5. Tuck Jumps

Tuck Jumps
Photo (c) Nick White/ Getty Images
Tuck jumps are simple drills that improve agility and power. Start with your feet shoulder width and knees slightly bent. Squat down and powerfully jump straight up bringing your knees toward your chest while in midair. Try to land gently, sink down to absorb the impact and repeat the next jump.

6. One-Leg Squat with Reach

Squat and reach
Photo (c) E. Quinn

Often used in rehab programs to build stability and hip strength, the one-leg squat-and-reach exercise is a simple way to build balance, proprioception, gluteus strength, and trunk stabilization.

7. Stair Running

Stair running workout
Inti St. Clair / Getty Images

For a hardcore workout, take the stairs. Running stairs and walking down is a fine interval workout. You get cardiovascular benefits similar to running but also build sprint power. Simply find a set of stairs and you're all set.

8. Side Planks

Side Plank Exercise
Photo (c) E. Quinn
Along with the standard plank exercise, I'm a huge fan of the side plank. The side plank targets all the muscles that get missed during the plank, namely the hip and knee stabilizers.

9. V-Sit Abdominal Exercise

V-Sit Abdominal Exercise
Photo (c) Stuart Gregory / Getty Images

The v-sit is an effective abdominal and core exercise that works the entire torso -- rectus abdominis, the external obliques and internal obliques. This exercise also engages the hip flexors.

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