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Bodyweight Exercises for Fast Fitness Anywhere

Try bodyweight exercises for a quick no equipment workout

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Updated May 16, 2014

Young woman lying on exercise mat with hands behind head, smiling
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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 you 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.

Bodyweight Exercises

  • Abdominal Exercises
    Ab exercises can be done almost anywhere with no equipment.
  • Push Ups
    Begin in push up position, on knees or toes. Perform 4 push ups, abs in and back straight. On the 5th 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.
  • Pull Ups
    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.
  • One-Leg Balance / Squat / Reach
    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.
  • Tuck Jump
    The tuck jump exercise ranks near the top of the list for developing explosive power using only an athlete's body weight.
  • Chair Dips
    You’ll need two chairs, (or a bed and a chair or a counter, etc…) for this great tricep exercise. Place two chairs facing each other, about 3 feet apart. Sit on one chair with your hands palm 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.
  • Wall Sit
    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. This is great for ski conditioning.
  • Abdominal Crunches
    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.
  • Supermans
    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.
  • Reverse Crunch
    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.
  • Plank Exercise
    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.
  • Squat-Thrusts
    Stand with feet together. Squat down and place your hands on the floor next to your feet. In an explosive movement, jump feet backwards into a push-up position, jump feet back between hands and stand up.
  • Jumping Jacks
    The basic jumping jack is a good cardio and strength training exercise.
  • Side Jumps
    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..).
  • Mountain Climbers
    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.

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