Many people find that they do not have the time to get to the gym, yet they still want to do an at-home workout.
The good news is that even if you do not have resistance bands or adjustable dumbbells, you can still perform bodyweight exercises for a total-body no equipment workout.
In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions for some of the best bodyweight exercises so that you can put together the best bodyweight workouts based on your fitness level and primary training goals:
- Bodyweight Squats
- Jump Squats
- Push-Up Holds
- Lunge Matrix
- Clapping Push-Ups
- Up-Down Plank
- Single-Leg Calf Raises
- Inverted Rows
Let’s dive in!
What Are the Best Bodyweight Exercises?
There isn’t a single list of exercises that will constitute the “best bodyweight workouts“ for everyone.
Your own fitness level and training goals will dictate the selection of bodyweight exercises you should include in your no-equipment at-home workouts.
For example, you might be interested in doing a total-body workout without equipment.
This type of bodyweight workout routine should involve at least one or two strength training exercises for each of the major muscles of the body.
On the other hand, if you prefer to program your strength training workout with a body part split approach, you might focus your bodyweight workouts on specific regions of the body, such as a lower body bodyweight workout or an upper body bodyweight workout.There are also plenty of bodyweight core exercises that you can include in either a full body bodyweight workout or a standalone bodyweight ab workout or core workout.
One important thing to consider is how to structure your body weight at home workouts.
Depending on your fitness level, you may need to perform more reps and sets to maintain or improve the strength and mass gains you have worked to achieve in the gym.
Many of the best bodyweight exercises are surprisingly difficult. For this reason,
Beginners may be best suited by just performing each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds or 12 to 15 reps.
When you are working with just your body weight, the resistance that your muscles are experiencing will not be as high as when you are using external resistance such as dumbbells, barbells, or even resistance bands.
This means that in order to accumulate enough muscle-building stimulus, you need to ramp up the training volume.
Therefore, advanced athletes who want to improve strength or build more muscle are advised to consider performing sets of each exercise to failure or performing enough rounds of the bodyweight exercises to accumulate a high total volume of strength training.
Exercises for the Best Bodyweight Workouts
Here are some of the best bodyweight exercises to include in a no-equipment-at-home workout:
#1: Bodyweight Squats
The bodyweight squat is a great lower-body exercise for home workouts.
Here are the steps:
- Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, shoulders back, chest up, and core engaged.
- Bend your knees and sit your butt back while thrusting your arms forward in front of you for counterbalance.
- When your thighs are parallel to the floor, press through your heels to stand back up.
#2: Jump Squats
The jump squat will add a cardio burst to your bodyweight workouts.
As you press to stand back up from your squat, explode through your feet to jump straight up into the air.
Cushion your landing by bending your knees as you seamlessly transition to the next squat.
Much in the way that the squat is a foundational lower-body bodyweight exercise, the push-up is a key upper-body exercise for bodyweight workouts.
Here are the steps:
- Get into the standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes on the floor. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor.
- Press through your palms to lift your body back up to the starting position.
#4: Push-Up Holds
This challenging bodyweight exercise adds an isometric hold to the push-up. This builds muscular endurance and core stability.
Drop down in the push-up until your chest is hovering over the ground, and then try to hold the position for 10-30 seconds or more.
#5: Lunge Matrix
The lunge matrix has you moving in multiple planes, helping work all the muscles in your legs, glutes, and hips.
Here are the steps:
- Stand upright with good posture and your hands on your hips.
- Step your right foot forward and bend both knees to drop down into a forward lunge.
- Use your glutes to press back up to standing.
- Then, step the right leg out to the side.
- Bend the right knee and keep the left knee straight as you drop into a lateral lunge.
- After pressing back up to the standing position, step the right leg backward and drop down into a reverse lunge.
- Complete 15 rounds with both legs.
You can do bodyweight dips off the end of a chair or couch to work your triceps.
This modification won’t be as challenging as using parallel dip bars, but it is a good alternative for bodyweight at home workouts.
Here are the steps:
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your hands cupping the edge of the chair on either side of your hips.
- Straighten your legs out in front of you and rest the back of your heels on the ground (toes pointing up).
- Lift your butt off the chair and shift your weight fully into your palms and heels.
- Bend your elbows to lower your hips to hover just above the floor. Your hands should be behind you on the chair.
- Use your triceps and chest to press through your palms to lift your body up.
#7: Clapping Push-Ups
In this plyometric bodyweight exercise, you perform a push-up and press forcefully through your palms once your chest is lowered to propel your upper body off the ground.
Clap quickly and then catch your upper body on the descent by getting your hands back into position and bending your elbows to move seamlessly into the next rep.
#8: Up-Down Plank
The up-down plank is an advanced bodyweight exercise that continuously transitions between a forearm plank and a high plank (push-up position).
- To do so, start in a push-up position, then drop one forearm to the ground and then the other.
- Then, press back up by shifting your weight so that you can lift one forearm off and place the hand down instead.
- Press through that hand to get the other hand on the floor.
- Keep going back and forth between the two positions for 30-60 seconds.
#9: Single-Leg Calf Raises
- For this bodyweight exercise, stand on the edge of a step. Hook one leg behind the opposite calf so that you’re standing on just one leg.
- Press through the ball of your foot, using your calf to raise up onto tiptoes.
- Hold the top position for 3 seconds.
- Slowly lower your heels all the way down (past neutral) before pressing back up for the next rep.
Burpees are great for bodyweight workouts when you want to work your entire body while also boosting your heart rate.
Here are the steps for this bodyweight cardio exercise:
- Stand upright and then drop down into a bodyweight squat.
- Instead of standing back up, drop your hands to the ground in front of your body about shoulder-width apart.
- Load your weight to your hands and jump your feet back behind you into a push-up position.
- Complete one full push-up.
- Then, load all your weight back into your hands and jump your feet towards your hands, springing your body up into a vertical jump, thrusting your arms up towards the ceiling.
- While you land, bend your knees to cushion the landing, transitioning immediately into a full squat to begin the next rep.
#11: Inverted Rows
Inverted rows are one of the best bodyweight back and biceps exercises.
Here is how to perform this bodyweight exercise with a sturdy table:
- Sit on the floor under the table with one hand holding either side of the table.
- Lift up so that your body is in a stiff board position with your weight on your heels and your hips in line with your body from your heels to the top of your head.
- Use your biceps, core, and lats to lift your body up until your chest raises to the underside of the table.
- Slowly lower your body back down.
For more ideas about bodyweight workouts without equipment, check out our guide to workouts you can do in a hotel room while traveling.