Bodyweight Exercises: Skip the Gym and Do These 27 Moves to Tone up
Get fitter and stronger with these bodyweight exercises at home.
It’s a common assumption that you need a gym and heavy equipment to get in shape.
But all you really need is a bit of space and some bodyweight exercise ideas to start working out and even toning up.
Using your body resistance, you can get a full-body workout right in your living room.
With bodyweight training, you can effectively increase your cardio and physical fitness!
It’s one of the most untapped training styles you can use right away.
So, what do you think of when you hear “bodyweight exercises”? Calisthenics? Handstands? Yoga workouts?
It’s all of the above!
Bodyweight exercise is an exercise that utilizes gravity and your body weight as resistance to train and build muscle.
Bodyweight exercises borrow moves from many fitness training methods. Yoga workouts, strength training, and cardio to name a few.
Read next: The One Punch Man Workout 30-Day Challenge: Can You Do It?
Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises
There are many benefits to bodyweight exercises. They help build strength, endurance, and balance. They also help boost your metabolism and overall fat loss.
For those looking to improve mobility, bodyweight workouts can add to functional performance.
You’ll be doing those handstands and pull-ups in no time!
This fitness program will amp up your heart rate, burn calories and improve your overall physical fitness.
You can get a full-body workout including cardio training from virtually anywhere, at any time.
These home exercises require no equipment, just physical activity. Many are compound exercises.
Getting Started With Bodyweight Exercises
First things, first. Proper form is key with any exercise, but especially bodyweight workouts.
Please make sure to read through the description of each common bodyweight exercise prior and only complete a repetition if you can maintain the form, especially the advanced exercises.
Focus on your body awareness to minimize the risk of injury.
If you’re a beginner, start with a low number of reps of each exercise for your bodyweight movements.
Match your sets to your fitness level and fitness goals.
Only move onto the next set if you can maintain body form.
Take a minute of rest in between sets.
Without further ado, here are our top “50” favorite bodyweight moves!
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50 Best Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
Lower Body Bodyweight Exercises
1. Wall Sit
- Stand against a wall, back flat. Step your feet about 2 feet forward, shoulder-width distance apart.
- Slide your back down the wall until your knee joints are at 90-degree angles and stacked over your ankles. Your thighs are parallel to the ground. It’s almost as if you’re sitting in a chair. (Theclickreader)
- Hold for as long as can, keeping your abs engaged.
- Stand with your feet a little wider than your hips, toes slightly pointed out, gaze straight ahead.
- With your arms out in front of you and parallel to the floor, shift your weight into the heels and balls of your feet. Not your toes!
- Engage your core as you start to bend at the knees, slowly lowering down while sending your hips back until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- On an exhale, press through your heels as you rise to stand.
3. Reverse Lunges
- Stand with your hands on your waist, feet hip-width distance apart.
- Step back with your left foot and lower down until both knees are at a 90-degree angle.
- Press through your right heel as you return to the starting position.
- Alternate which leg you step back with.
- Stand in front of a bench or box, the height of your choice.
- Place your right foot on top of the selected object. Press through your foot, calves, and quads, lifting your body, keeping your chest up and shoulders back.
- Pause before lowering back to the starting position.
- Repeat, alternating starting legs.
5. Marching Glute Bridge
- Start lying on your back, knees bent and firmly on the mat. Your arms are by your sides, palms up.
- Press through your heels as you lift your pelvis off the ground, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- On an exhale, further lift your right knee towards your chest, keeping your core and glutes firm. Don’t let your hips drop!
- Return to start and repeat on the left side.
6. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
- Start in the glute bridge setup, as above.
- Straighten your right leg, keeping your left foot firmly on the ground.
- Lift your pelvis by pressing through your left heel, keeping the right leg straight.
- Slowly lower your hips and repeat.
- Switch to your left for an even number of reps.
7. Side Lunges
- Start in a neutral stance with your feet hip-width distance apart.
- Step widely to the right, bending at the knee and sending your hips back.
- Press off with your right foot returning to standing.
- Repeat on the left.
8. Bulgarian Split Squat
- Stand in front of a bench in a neutral stance, core engaged.
- Place the top of your foot on the bench behind you.
- Slowly lower until your opposite thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Press through your standing leg, returning both feet to the ground.
- Repeat with the opposite foot.
- Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in your hands for an added challenge.
9. Power Lunges
- Start in your neutral standing position.
- Step one leg forward, lowering until there are 90-degree angles in both knees.
- Powerfully press off the front leg returning to the starting position.
- Alternate legs.
10. Jumping Lunges
- Set up like the previous exercise.
- Instead of returning your front leg to start, jump and switch your legs mid-air, landing with the opposite foot in front.
- Lower until your front thigh is parallel with the ground.
- Jump and switch again. This is one rep.
Full Body Workout Bodyweight Exercises
- Set up in a pushup position with your toes tucked and wrists under your shoulders.
- Jump like a frog! Bring your feet to the outside of your hands as you lower your seat towards the ground, almost like your squat jump from previously.
- Jump back to the start. Repeat.
- This is great prep for handstands if you focus on stacking your hips!
- Start with a squat, bending at the knees and lowering your glutes toward the ground.
- Place your hands on the ground, directly under your shoulders.
- Shift your weight forward as you squat jump your feet back into a pushup.
- Complete 1 pushup.
- Jump your feet back to the outside of your wrists. (see Froggers)
- As you stand, jump and reach your arms overhead.
- Land with bent knees. This is 1 rep.
- Start in the basic plank position. This is with your wrists under your shoulders and toes tucked.
- There is a straight line from the tip of your head to your heels.
- With control, lower your chest towards the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together, stopping just above.
- Pause. Press back up.
14. Wide-Grip Push-Ups
- Set up in your high plank position. Walk your hands out wide.
- Lower your chest towards the ground.
- Push back up.
15. High Knees
- Start in your standing position.
- Pull one knee into your chest.
- Quickly switch, pulling your other knee in while simultaneously extending your opposite.
- Continue at a running pace.
16. Skater Hops
- While standing, jump your left foot out to the side, pulling the right behind into 90-degrees.
- Don’t let the foot touch the ground.
- Press through the left, jumping to the right with the left foot floating behind.
- Continue at a quick pace.
17. Jumping Jacks
- Again, start standing.
- Jump your feet out wide as you sweep your hands overhead into a clap.
- Return to standing.
Core Strength Bodyweight Exercises
19. Plank Taps
- Start in your high plank position.
- Engage your abdominals as you bring one hand to the opposite shoulder.
- Release and switch.
- Don’t rock back and forth, keep your upper body engaged and stable.
20. Side Plank Dips
- Start in your side plank position with your forearm on the mat, elbow under the shoulder.
- Your other hand can be on your waist or behind your ear.
- Slowly lower your hip toward the ground.
- Engage your side body as you bring it back to neutral. That is 1 dip.
21. Plank Ups
- Begin in your plank position.
- Drop your right forearm to the ground.
- Then your left, landing in a forearm plank.
- Reverse, picking up your right hand and placing it back under your shoulder.
- Then you left, returning to start.
- Alternate your hands that initiate the movement, abdominals engaged the entire time.
22. Mountain Climbers
- Begin in your pushup position.
- Bring your right knee to your right wrist.
- Return to plank pose.
- Alternate, bringing your left knee to your left wrist.
- Pick up your pace for each rep to get that heart rate up!
23. Bicycle Crunches
- Lie on your back, stacking your knees over your hips, both bent at 90-degrees.
- Place your fingertips behind your ears.
- Crunch up and twist, bringing your right elbow to your left knee and extending your right leg.
- Return to start and switch. That is 1 repetition.
- Lie on your back in full extension, arms overhead.
- On an exhale, crunch up, creating the letter “v” with your arms and legs.
- With control and core stability, slowly lower down.
- Take this combination to the next level by passing a yoga block between your hands and feet.
25. Dead Bugs
- Lie on your in back in a reverse tabletop, shins parallel to the ground, arms reaching toward the sky.
- With control, extend your opposite arm and leg. Return to your tabletop.
- Repeat with the opposite limbs.
- Alternate sides.
26. Sit-Up with Twists
- Begin in your standard sit-up position, feet firmly on the ground, hands together in front of your chest.
- Sit up, extending your arms, twisting and reaching your hands to the outside of your knees.
- Return down.
- Repeat, bringing your hands to the outside of the opposite knee.
27. Arm circles
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance, arms out by your sides, parallel to the ground.
- Make small circles with both arms, clockwise working through the full range of motion of your shoulder
- Repeat counterclockwise.
Bonus Exercise! Chair Dips
- Sit on a chair with bent knees and feet firmly on the ground.
- Wrap your fingers around the seat in a firm grip.
- Step your feet out until your glutes are off the chair and your arms (biceps and triceps) are supporting your weight.
- Lower down by bending through the arms.
- Press up to the start. This is one rep.
Get Moving With These Bodyweight Exercises
Use your own bodyweight through different exercises to get stronger, build your muscle mass and endurance through bodyweight training!
To recap: bodyweight exercises are a form of resistance training and physical activity and workout routines that use the weight of your own body for weight loss and strength training.
This type of exercise borrows from exercise videos, yoga workouts, plyometrics, and HIIT cardio.
Some of these moves are great preparation for complicated yoga poses such as handstands. You’ll see a significant difference in your practice.
You don’t need special equipment, weight machines, or fitness equipment to do bodyweight exercises.
It’s a good way to improve your overall health without an athletic trainer and minimal equipment.