With the recent pandemic, stay at home orders and the closure of non-essential business—with gyms being one of those affected—people are looking for alternatives to staying fit and healthy. While you may have limited to no equipment, it’s possible to get in a thorough workout from doing exclusively body weight exercises. Keep reading to learn 9 of the best home exercises you can do with no equipment.
If you’re looking for a simple exercise to improve your core strength and overall body stability, planks are a great alternative to crunches and situps that sometimes aggravate back issues. They also activate your whole body giving you a more effective workout.
How to: Planks are very easy to do, but difficult to master. Start on your stomach and raise to your forearms and toes. Hold the position keeping your back straight and your head parallel to your body.
Variations: If resting on your forearms is uncomfortable, you can try planking in the push up position, but again keep your whole body flat and don’t let your head sag. If you’re looking for more of a challenge try lifting up one arm or leg at a time in intervals.
If you’re looking for stronger arms, bench dips might be your solution. They’re a great for all ability levels and an effective way to build up your tricep, chest and shoulder strength.
How to: For bench dips all you need is an elevated surface like a bench, chair, low table or stairs. Start by sitting on the surface and place your hands next to your thighs. Walk your feet out so they’re extended all the way (a slight bend is OK). Then, lower yourself to where your elbows are at a 90° angle. Push back up and repeat. Make sure you go down to 90° but not past. If you go too far down you can easily tweak your shoulders or wrists.
Variations: If bodyweight dips feel too easy for you, feel free to add a dumbbell, weighted plate or anything heavy on your lap. You can also try to elevate your feet for a deeper burn.
This is a very versatile exercise that is great for cardio, core strength and agility, as well as building muscle in your whole body.
How to: Start in a push up position position with your weight distributed evenly. While keeping your body flat and your head up lift your right knee to your chest. Continue with the left and start to pick up the pace while alternating from right to left. Keep your whole body engaged, and remember to inhale and exhale with each leg.
Variations: Once you’re more efficient you can start to quicken your pace or go for longer intervals. If you have hardwood floors or another slippery surface you can use a gliding disk or a towel to do sliding climbers. This variation will make it harder to stabilize yourself, and they will work the quads a little more.
This is a classic exercise where you can’t go wrong. They build muscle in your upper body including your triceps, chest and shoulders with many different variations that focus on certain muscles.
How to: Start on your hands and knees and raise up to your toes. Again, keep your body rigid and your head up. Slowly lower yourself until your chin or chest touches the floor. Push back up until your arms are straight and you are once again on your hands and toes.
Variations: One of the best things about push ups is the countless variations you can do to isolate muscles you want to focus on.
- Triceps: narrow hand placement
- Chest: wide hand placement
- Shoulders: feet-elevated
If regular push ups are starting to get too easy you can also try clap push ups, one legged push ups or diamond push ups. Check out this article for 82 different push up variations.
Bodyweight squats (air squats) are often categorized as “too easy” or “ineffective,” but they are a great way to warm up, learn proper squatting technique and build muscle if done properly.
How to: This exercise is pretty self explanatory, but there are a few things to keep in mind when doing them to prevent injury. When squatting it’s imperative to keep your back straight, your knees over your ankles and do not drop your shoulders down. You should never be on your toes, and always push through your heels.
Variations: Air squats are great to add into a routine of different exercises because they keep you active and work your whole body. For different variations you can try pause air squats, jumping squats or one legged squats.
These are a great way to build stamina and leg and core strength while challenging your balance, coordination and agility. While they do work the big muscles like quads and hamstrings, they also work on the often neglected stabilization muscles that are important if you are still playing sports.
How to: Start off with your feet in a staggered, lunge position just a little bit wider than shoulder width. Bend your knees and sink down into a lunge position and activate your core. Explosively drive your feet down into the ground and jump up thrusting your hips and chest. As you’re jumping switch your feet mid air and drop back into the lunge. Don’t go too fast to where you break your form. Like squats, your weight shouldn’t be on your toes, don’t let your knees go over your toes, and keep your core engaged the whole time.
Variations: If the jumping aspect has you a little intimidated, try normal lunges to feel the movement and build up the right muscles. To step it up a notch you can try longer intervals, higher jumps or deeper lunges.
Crunches are another classic exercise that have seemed to stand the test of time. They are great for isolating and building core muscle, but do not burn fat so they won’t give you the washboard abs you’ve been looking for.
How to: The starting position is similar to a sit up. Lie down on your back, and bend your knees. Lift only your head, neck and shoulder blades off the ground while intensely activating your core. Return to the starting position, and remember to inhale and exhale with each rep.
Variations: For a slightly more difficult variation try raising your legs throughout the whole set while keeping the same form. You can also try alternating opposite elbow to knee to isolate your obliques.
If you’re looking to combine muscle building, cardio and agility training all in one, this is the perfect exercise for you. It’s a full body burner that works the legs, arms and core too.
How to: You’ll start off just standing. Then, drop to a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet out immediately and perform a push up. With no pause, return to squat position and jump as high as you can with your arms up. Continue without stopping at any point during the set.
Variations: If you need to build up your strength before doing the full burpee you can try doing them without the push up. To test out your strength you can try star burpees, side burpees or box jump burpees.
Spiderman Push Ups
If you can do regular ups in proper form, spiderman push ups are a great way to test your ability. It targets your upper body like normal push ups, but also engages your core, obliques and legs.
How to: The movement of spiderman push ups can feel a little awkward at first, but don’t let that scare you off. Start in a normal push up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your body and head rigid, and start to go down like a normal push up. As you are lowering your chest to the ground, bring your right knee to your right elbow, and as you push back up return your foot to the starting position. Repeat with your left knee coming up to your left elbow. You should vaguely resemble spiderman climbing up a wall. Remember to breathe and make sure your elbows aren’t too close to your torso.
Variations: If this seems a little too foreign for you, try to do regular push ups, but when you push your chest back up bring your knee to elbow in plank position in between push ups. This will help your body understand the movements.
Best Home Exercises with Flex Appeal
You’re now equipped to go and get a great full body workout from home! Feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 775.852.FLEX if you have any questions or concerns.
If you’re still looking to meet your body goals, why not try a free trial at the Flex Appeal gym!