No Equipment? No Problem! The 6 Best Bodyweight Exercises to Try
by Catherine Santino
We've all been there: you arrive at the gym and realize that all the machines you want to use are currently occupied. You don't have time to wait, but don't want to sacrifice the day's workout.Fear not! There are tons of ways to fit in an effective workout without using a single piece of equipment.
In fact, it's a great excuse to mix some of the best bodyweight exercises into your routine — an important part of any exercise regimen! Relying on your own bodyweight (instead of using machines) can help enhance your balance, strength, and flexibility. Here are six bodyweight exercises to turn to when your favorite strength-training equipment and/or your favorite cardio equipment aren't immediately available.
1. Plank to Pushup
Planking is one of the best bodyweight exercises out there. This move, however, adds a pushup element to give your shoulders, triceps, and core a real workout.
To perform this exercise, start in a high plank with your palms on the ground. When ready, bring one forearm to the ground, followed by the other, so you are in a forearm plank. Now push yourself back up into the starting position one hand at a time, placing your palms where your elbows just were. If this is too challenging, try the move on an incline. Repeat as many times as you're able!
2. Mountain Climbers
This is a fantastic full-body workout. Mountain climbers get your heart pumping while also firing up several muscle groups in your arms and legs.
Start in a high plank with your arms fully extended. Then, bring your right knee in toward your chest. As you push your right leg back to the starting position, bring your left knee toward your chest. Continue alternating legs as quickly as you can, making sure to keep your core muscles tight.
3. The Inchworm
The inchworm is a quick and easy way to target the muscles in your shoulders, back, and core, as well as stretch those hamstrings. First, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, bend forward at the hips and walk yourself into a high plank (for an added challenge, try doing a pushup here!). Finally, walk your hands back toward your feet and stand up — then repeat the full movement until you feel the need for a short break.
4. Triceps Dips
Can you find a nearby box or bench to use as a support? If so, then you can do a triceps dip! This one is great for your back, shoulders, and of course, triceps.
Sit on the ground with your back against the support structure and your legs out in front of you. Place your palms on the surface behind you and then straighten your arms to lift your legs and body off the floor. Slowly bend your elbows until your butt hovers an inch or so above the floor. Repeat until you feel the burn!
5. Wall Sit
Here's a classic. You can do this at the office, at home, or at the gym — anywhere there are walls, really! This move targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core.
It's pretty simple: Just squat down with your back against a wall until your legs form a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then hold for 30–60 seconds.
This fun workout will give you that cardio boost you're looking for while targeting the muscles in your legs and improving the strength in your knees!
Start in a standing position with your legs just wider than shoulder-distance apart. Bend one knee at an angle behind your other knee. Keeping your back straight, chest up, and both knees bent, jump the back leg forward and the front leg back, switching sides. Alternate your arms so they swing in the same direction as your back leg. Then, switch back and repeat. Think like a speed skater!
As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.