Bodyweight Exercises: Get in Shape Anytime and Anywhere
A good workout doesn’t always need to have weights and equipment. In this list of the best bodyweight exercises, we detail 25 bodyweight exercises that are sure to help put you in great shape. And thankfully, this list has everything from upper body to lower body to cardio bodyweight exercises to ensure that you are in the best shape possible!
For even more exercise and health ideas, check out our list of the best workout videos, list of the best protein powders, and our list of the best bodybuilding supplements.
Top 25 Bodyweight Exercises:
Great for the core, the plank is perfect for small workout spaces. You will be able to develop your abs pretty much anywhere. The great thing about this exercise is that there are also several different variations you can do to help make the exercise easier or more difficult. To make it a little easier you can go on your knees, and to make it a little more difficult, you can raise up on your hands and extend them out in front of you or to your side. The keys are making sure you keep your back straight and don’t let it sag at all.
A high cardio exercise, burpees help to work on the whole body. To get your heart rate up and build endurance, burpees are the way to go. If you only have a limited time to workout or are wanting to challenge yourself, burpees are the way to go. Most people usually have a love-hate relationship with this exercise.
A great cardio workout that does not require a lot of space – mountain climbers get the heart rate up and work the abs, all in a small area. Try this exercise next time you need some cardio but don’t have the space to run. You will be able to tone up with this excellent bodyweight exercise. To really ramp up the difficulty of this exercises, try performing it with TRX straps.
The humble pushup makes this list for a good reason – it is a great upper body workout. And, with so many variations like the decline pushup, diamond pushup, clap pushup, etc., a variety of different muscle groups can be targeted. A big key to this exercise is making sure that you have good form. Also, if you are not quite strong enough to do a traditional pushup yet, start from your knees and work your way up.
A good Pilates exercise, leg lifts, or leg raises, really work the core and will allow you to tone up your midsection. As you are going through the exercise, make sure that you control your breathing and keep your core tight. Continue to increase the number of sets and repetitions as you begin to master this exercise.
Another great core and midsection exercise, the Russian twist can be done with or without a weight. The key is making sure that you have great form and are controlling your movements and your breathing.
Calf Raises will really help to develop a long, lean calf muscle. You can do this exercise with our without weight, and still get great results. To make it a little harder you can go on one foot at a time or find a small ledge to hang your heels off of; this will allow you to get full motion in your calf raises.
Side planks are going to really isolate your obliques and help to tighten up those love handles. Along with working on your core, it is also going to help strengthen your shoulders because of having to prop up all of your weight on one arm.
A push-up variation, this exercise is going to work on developing chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs. The knee motion is going to challenge your core as you go down. Alternate which leg you kick with each time for a balanced full upper body exercise.
Great for working on the glute and hamstring muscles, you will really be able to feel this exercise because it does such a great job of isolating these specific muscles. Focus on keeping your body in great form and really extend up on the glute kickbacks.
A little bit more of an advanced exercise, the side star plank is going to work on your obliques and also your shoulder muscle, as you have to hold up all your weight on one arm. A big key to this exercise is making sure that you keep a straight line with your body, so if you start to feel yourself sag, go back to regular side planks.
With or without weight, the single leg deadlift exercise is going to be great for strengthening your hamstrings and also improving flexibility. You really want to do a great job of staying balanced and having nice controlled movements as you go down and up.
More of a yoga pose, but still a really excellent bodyweight exercise, bird dog raises are going to work your abs, glutes, lower back, hamstrings, shoulders, and traps. To make the exercise a little bit more difficult, you can also hold the pose at the top for a set amount of seconds on each repetition as well.
Perfect for isolating the lower back muscles, the Superman exercise is going to allow you to strengthen and help to protect your lower back. If you struggle with back pain, you are going to want to try out this exercise. It will really help to strengthen your back, and hopefully help to prevent future back injuries.
Typically used for a warm-up, arm circles can also be a great exercise to tone and strengthen your shoulders and traps. Try them out for 30+ seconds, and you will really start to feel the burn. Do some arm circles going both forward and backward for best results. Also, you can do large circles, small circles, or palms up as well to give the exercise some variation.
Get the six pack abs you always dreamed of with the bicycle exercise. You will really be able to tone and strengthen your core with this exercise and to make it easier or more difficult, increase or decrease the seconds you do the exercise for. Try this exercise out next time you are watching your favorite TV show.
The shoulder bridge or glute bridge exercise is going to really allow you to strengthen your core, glutes, and hamstrings. When you do the exercise, really lock in on good form and make sure that you are keeping your core tight and are flexing your glutes at the top of the motion. A couple of variations are one leg at a time and holding the pose at the top for a set number of seconds on each repetition.
A really great upper leg exercise, Side lunges are going to allow you to strengthen, tone, and improve flexibility in your legs. The key to this exercise is form. Whether you are going nice and slow to work on strength and stability, or looking to work on being explosive by going quickly from rep to rep, really lock in on form for best results.
There are several different variations of the single leg squat, and all have value. This single leg squat variation is going to have you stand still, place one of your feet cross-legged over your other knee, squat down like you are going to sit in a chair, and then raise your hands out as you do. Try to get to 90 degrees before coming back up.
Not just for athletes, this full leg exercise is going to allow you to develop your legs but also improve your fast twitch muscles. A couple of keys are making sure that you get all the way down on the squat before jumping up, and then making sure that you land softly with bent knees.
A great cardio exercise that will really get the heart rate up and the blood pumping, high knees can be done pretty much anywhere and are great for when you don’t have enough room to run. Make sure that you get your knees up to waist height each time for best results.
Whether you have ever curtsied before or not, the curtsy squat is still for you. The curtsy motion is going to allow you to isolate your leg muscles and help to develop your muscles in another way similar to side lunges and forward lunges. The curtsy squat is going to allow you to come at your leg muscles from a different angle.
Finding the traditional plank a little too easy or just wanting to mix it up? The dynamic plank exercise is going to be perfect for you then. Working similar muscles as the plank exercise, the dynamic plank is going add a level of difficulty by having you go back and forth between your hands and elbows.
You don’t need dumbbells are a barbell loaded up with hundreds of lbs to do squats. Bodyweight squats are going to allow you to strengthen your quads, glutes, and hamstrings as well as improve your hip flexibility. A few keys are going to be making sure you have a nice solid base with your feet, making sure that you keep your weight on your heels as you squat down, and then not allowing your back to round as you squat down.
Whether they are in-place lunges or walking lunges, lunges really tone the lower body. If toned glutes and legs are what you are after, lunges should not be skipped. Make sure that when you are lunging forward you do not allow your knee to pass over your toes, think 90-degree angle with the forward leg.
Best Bodyweight Exercises Conclusion
Staying in shape has never been easier with this list of the best bodyweight exercises. So whether you are looking to switch it up at the gym or are just wanting to do some exercises at home on your own, you will be able to get a full body exercise with this list. Our goal with this list was to provide exercises that were going to allow you to get a full body workout pretty much anywhere.
We would love to hear your feedback on any of these exercises in the comments below.