We’ve all been there before. You want to get a good workout in, but you either don’t have access to a good gym or don’t have the time in your day to drive to the gym and lift. Whenever this happens, it is easy to take a “cheat day” and push the workout back a day or two. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional cheat day. However, sometimes one day can turn into five, and before you know it, the progress that you had been making through consistent workouts is lost and you have to work a little harder to get back in the routine that you had in the first place. This is where body-weight, no-equipment workouts can come in handy!
There are hundreds of different body-weight workout routines that require absolutely no equipment other than an open space and a good work ethic, and can be completed in less than 30 minutes. Fitness instructors have studied dozens of different body-weight exercises that target different areas of your body, and those body-weight exercises can be mixed and matched to build a full work-out depending upon what your fitness goals are and which group of muscles you want to target. That being said, here are a variety of our favorite no-equipment exercises that can target your lower-body, core, or upper-body.
Don’t be fooled— mountain climbers look like one of the most simple, effortless exercises you could do, but after a quick set of 20 you’ll be thinking differently. Having to support your own body weight while quickly driving your knees upwards will leave you burning. The great thing about mountain climbers is that they work nearly every muscle group in your body while getting your heart rate up at the same time. They are a seriously efficient workout to improve your flexibility, coordination, and core, and get your body toned fast.
Planks are another exercise that work a wide range of muscles in your body. One of the fun things about planks (although it won’t feel fun doing them) is that there are many variations to the basic plank that you can do to add variety to your workout. Side planks, extended planks, single-arm planks— the list goes on and on. While in a plank position, you are able to work your entire core, as well as your glutes. Planks are easy to safely perform and can actually take a lot of pressure off of your back as your abs get stronger and learn to support your body.
Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise that will get your heart rate up quickly. Plyometrics are a group of jumping exercises that require you to exert a lot of force in a short amount of time. Squat jumps work your glutes, lower abs, and leg muscles. If you aren’t quite feeling the burn with bodyweight squats, squat jumps are a great alternative to help build muscle as well as increase your vertical.
Burpees are quite possibly the most hated exercise in gym class and at football practice, but they are a great way to burn calories quickly. A burpee is another plyometric exercise that essentially combines a plank and a squat jump into one fluid exercise. If one of the main goals of your workout routines is fat loss, burpees are the move. Unfortunately, there is no fun way to do burpees. Whether you try to finish as many as you can in a certain time frame or are aiming for a certain number of reps, you are sure to feel the burn. The results will be worth it!
This one is a slight cheat, as you do need a pull-up bar for this one. There are many pull-up bars that you can buy for your door-way that are under forty-dollars, or you could move your workout to the local park. Even for the fittest adults, traditional pull-ups can be hard to do. That being said, they are one of the best exercises on this list for building muscle. Pull-ups naturally build the strength of your entire upper body and back and often yield quick results. If you are having difficulty getting started, you can find ways in your home to do an assisted pull-up, where you can perform the same muscle movement without having to pull your entire body weight off the ground.
Like planks, lunges have many variations, and work much more than just your legs. If your workouts are tailored toward sculpting and toning your body, lunges should be a regular part of your exercise routine. Without any equipment, you can perform stationary lunges, side lunges, walking lunges, reverse lunges, twist lunges, and other variations. These all work your abdominals, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Lunges are also great for athletes training for other sports, as they can greatly improve your balance and coordination.
You didn’t think we were going to leave push-ups off of this list, did you? We have all done push-ups before, but because they are so common, it is easy to develop poor push-up technique. If you are diligent about using great technique, push-ups can greatly improve your posture, and of course build muscle in your biceps, triceps, and deltoids. Adding a variation as simple as changing your hand placement and trying diamond push-ups, or wide push-ups can work different muscle groups and add variety to your workout.
If you looked up right now, you would probably see a wall. Unless you are reading this article in the middle of the desert, there are walls everywhere, which can quickly turn into a useful tool for burning calories and strengthening your core. Due to its simplicity, many people often overlook the wall sit because they feel that it is not as beneficial as a squat or lunge. Wall sits work your entire lower body and burn a lot of calories at the same time. Rather than increasing muscle mass, wall sits are targeted at improving your muscular endurance, which is great for runners and athletes.
Alright, we cheated again— you’re going to need a chair or an elevated surface for this one. Luckily that shouldn’t be too hard to find. Incorporating three sets of eight-ten tricep dips into your no-equipment workout can greatly improve your arm and shoulder strength. This is one of the few exercises on this list that specifically targets your triceps, which are one of the major muscle groups in your upper-arm. Not only will tricep dips help you appear more toned, they will improve your balance and help with sports that require pulling and pushing action.
Calf raises are a great way to finish out a workout as they require little cardiovascular endurance and can give you a chance to catch your breath while you still work a specific muscle group. Many people question if calf raises do anything, and while they aren’t as comprehensive of an exercise as burpees or mountain climbers, they can help build muscle and give you greater definition in your lower leg. They are also great for basketball and volleyball players as they can improve your vertical.
Get Out What You Put In
As with any workout, you will only see the results of a body-weight workout if you are diligent about using good technique and push yourself to hit a certain number of reps in a certain amount of time. Even though you might not have the time or resources to make it to an actual gym, you don’t have to take any steps backwards in your fitness journey by skipping out on a no-equipment workout!
Fitness Classes at The Fitness Equation
The Fitness Equation in Chantilly and Ashburn is proud to help local residents reach their fitness goals. If you are interested in joining a gym with access to hundreds of machines, or you simply want to try out a few fitness classes, we would love to hear from you. Our classes range from pilates to spin classes and are offered on a frequent schedule. Stop by whichever location is closest to you this week!