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The Best Bodyweight Exercises for Getting Fit Anywhere

Hitting the gym is fun (weights! music! socializing!), but there are going to be times when you want to squeeze a workout in and don't have access to any equipment. Good news: Though lifting weights has a ton of benefits, bodyweight exercises are still super effective for getting stronger, leaner, and fitter. (That's the whole point of calistehnics!) 

Ahead, the best bodyweight exercises that will become your go-tos for developing strength all over your body, demonstrated by Mindy Lai, a trainer at EverybodyFights in New York City. Try them for an amazing workout at home, on vacation, or at your local park—or just keep this master list on-hand for when you need a little inspo.

How it works: These best bodyweight exercises are divided into body parts: core, arms, back, legs, glutes, and total body. You have two options: For a cardio-based workout, pick one move from each category and perform them as a circuit, doing one set of each exercise and taking 1 minute of rest after each round of the circuit. Repeat five times (or as many times as you'd like). For a more strength-based workout, pick one to two moves from each section, and perform three sets of each exercise, with 30 seconds of rest between sets, before moving on to the next exercise.

Total Time: up to 1 hour

You will need: Mat, No equipment

1. Core: High Plank

A.

Start on all fours on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders and knees bent and stacked directly under hips. Step one leg back at a time to come into high plank position on palms, actively squeezing heels and glutes together and drawing navel to spine.

Sets:

2-4

Reps:

15-30 seconds, progress to 1 minute or more

2. Core: Bear Crawl

A.

Start on all fours, with knees hovering 2 inches above the ground.

B.

Keeping back flat and core tight, move opposite arm and leg forward 2 inches in a controlled manner. Repeat with the other side.

C.

Move forward for 4 total steps, then backward for 4 steps.

Sets:

2-3

Reps:

4 forward, 4 backward

3. Core: Bird-Dog

A.

Get into an all-fours position with palms flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Brace abs, and raise the opposite arm and leg until they're parallel to the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8 per side

4. Core: Dead Bug

A.

Lie on back with legs in tabletop, calves parallel to the ground, arms extended up toward the ceiling.

B.

Extend one arm back and the opposite leg down, hovering an inch off the ground, then return to the start.

C.

Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8 per side

5. Low Plank

A.

Start in a high plank position with feet hip-width apart and shoulders over wrists. Lower onto elbows. Hold this position.

Sets:

2-4

Reps:

15-30 seconds, progress to 1 minute or more

6. Core: Hollow Body Hold

A.

Lie face up on the floor and pull legs into chest, with tailbone tucked under. Press lower back into the ground and lift arms and legs to hover 6 inches off the ground. Hold this position.

Sets:

3

Reps:

30 seconds

7. Core: Leg Drop

A.

Support back by placing hands underneath butt, and extend legs straight up toward the ceiling.

B.

Lower legs together, keeping them straight and stopping a few inches above the floor, then raise back to starting position. Keep the core connected and be sure not to arch back.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8-12

8. Arms: Plank Up/Downs

A.

Get into a forearm plank position; stay tight in core.

B.

Push up with one arm at a time into a high plank.

C.

Once in high plank, lower to elbows. Repeat, alternating which arm leads.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8-15

9. Arms: Triceps Dips

A.

Sit on the floor, hands behind you with thumbs pointing forward and fingertips on a slight diagonal. Lift hips up, shift weight onto hands, opening chest and rolling shoulders back.

B.

Bend at the elbows, shooting them straight back, until butt taps the floor, and push to straighten.

Sets:

3

Reps:

15

10. Arms: Hand-Release Push-Ups

A.

Start in a high-plank position. Lower chest all the way to the ground, keeping the elbows close to ribs.

B.

At the bottom, lift hands off the ground for 1 count. Press palms into the ground, then smoothly lift body in a plank position back to the top of a plank.

Sets:

3

Reps:

6-12

11. Arms: Push-Ups

A.

Start on floor in plank position with your hands below your shoulders and feet 8 to 12 inches apart . Squeeze your glutes.

B.

Begin to lower, bending your arms so there's a 4- to 6-inch space between your elbow and rib cage, to ensure more muscles pitch in. Once your chest brushes the floor, power back up to plank.

Sets:

3

12. Arms: Bodyweight Triceps Extension

A.

Start in downward dog position.

B.

Rotating elbows in, tap forearms to the floor. Press through the palms to extend elbows and return to downward dog. Keep hips in downward dog position throughout movement.

Sets:

3

Reps:

12-15

13. Back: Prone Y-W-T

A.

Lie face down, arms extended forward, biceps by ears. Lift upper body off the ground and widen arms to create a "Y." 

B.

Keeping chest lifted, draw elbows down next to ribs, to form a "W" shape. 

C.

Then extend arms straight out to sides to form a "T" shape, keeping them lifted toward the ceiling throughout the movement. Swing arms around to return to start.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10-12

14. Back: Push-Up Hold

A.

Start in push-up position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width, feet hip-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from heels to head.

B.

Bend elbows and lower body until hovering a few inches above the ground. Hold for 1 deep breath, and then press half-way up and hold for 1 deep breath.

C.

C. Lower back down to your lowest point, holding for 1 deep breath. Return to your half-way point for one more hold.

Sets:

3

Reps:

5

15. Back: Plank With Lateral Raise

A.

Start in a straight-arm plank with hands below and in line with shoulders, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.

B.

Keeping hips as still as possible, lift one arm up to shoulder height. Return to center, then lift the other arm to shoulder height. (Draw belly button up and in and keep your body centered.)

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

16. Back: Supermans

A.

Lie face down with arms extended straight overhead, legs extended straight. Simultaneously lift head, chest, arms, and legs up, so you're in a Superman-style flying position, gazing slightly forward at the floor. Hold this position.

Sets:

3

Reps:

30 seconds

17. Legs: Air Squats

A.

Start in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart and hands in front of chest, elbows slightly bent.

B.

Brace abs, push hips back, and bend knees, lowering into a squat. Pause at the bottom, then push back up to start.

Sets:

3

Reps:

15

18. Legs: Jumping Lunges

A.

Start in a lunge position, upper body tall.

B.

From the bottom of the lunge, explode into the air, landing softly in a lunge with the opposite leg in front.

Sets:

3

Reps:

12

19. Legs: Lateral Lunge

A.

Stand with feet together and hands clasped in front of chest. Take a large step out to the left, immediately lowering into a lunge, sinking hips back and bending right knee to track directly in line with right foot. Keep left leg straight but not locked, with both feet pointing forward. Push off the left foot to straighten right leg, step right foot next to left, and return to starting position. Perform all reps on right leg before switching to left.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8-12

20. Legs: Pistol Squat

A.

Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart. Place heel of left foot on the floor slightly in front of you, toes up. (Advanced: Hold your leg completely off the floor.)

B.

Raise left leg in front of body and push hips backwards to bend into a squat on the standing leg. If necessary, extend arms forward to assist with balance. Lower hips as low as possible, keeping front leg lifted. Push back to start. Complete all reps on one side before moving to the other.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10 per side

21. Legs: Pulse Squats

A.

Start in a standing position, feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped in front of chest, elbows slightly bent. Brace your abs and send hips back to descend into a squat position, pushing the knees out.

B.

Stand halfway up, then in a controlled manner (don't bounce), descend back into the bottom of your squat. Stand all the way up.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10-12

22. Legs: Split Squat

A.

Stagger feet stance, with front foot 2 to 4 feet in front of rear foot. Stay on the toes of rear foot. (Bonus: if this exercise is too difficult, try putting the front foot on the first step of a staircase.)

B.

Lower hips until front thigh is at least parallel to the floor. Push through the front leg's heel, and drive the hips and knees upward, to return to the starting position.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8-12

23. Glutes: Curtsy Lunge

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart.

B.

Step one leg to cross behind the other, bending both knees until legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off the back foot to return to start.

24. Glutes: Frog Pump

A.

Lie face-up on the ground, soles of the feet together, knees out, so that they form a diamond shape. (Don't worry about dropping knees all the way to the ground.) Arms are by sides, pressing into the floor for support.

B.

Press hips into the air while squeezing glutes. Lower down to return to starting position.

Sets:

3

Reps:

20-30

25. Glutes: Side-Lying Hip Raise

A.

Lie on the right side, propped up on the right elbow, with the bottom knee bent at a 90-degree angle and top leg extended, knees stacked on top of each other.

B.

Press throught the bottom knee to raise hips up into a plank position, allowing knees to separate with top foot on the floor. Lower back to start.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8-12

26. Glutes: Single-Leg Glute Bridge

A.

Lie face-up on the floor with feet flat and knees pointing toward the ceiling. Extend the right leg.

B.

 Press into both feet to lift hips off the floor to form a straight line from shoulders to right heel to start. Slowly lower hips to tap the floor, keeping core engaged. Do all reps on one side before moving to the other.

Sets:

3

Reps:

8-12

27. Glutes: Step-Ups

A.

Face a sturdy chair, bench, step, or plyo box. Step onto the bench with one foot.

B.

Lean upper body forward and drive through the foot on the bench, pressing through the toe and heel, to come up to standing on top of the bench. Return to start. Complete all reps on one side before moving to the other.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10-12

28. Total Body: Burpees

A.

Stand with feet together. Crouch, and plant palms on the floor.

B.

With abs tight, jump feet back to plank. Bend elbows to lower chest and thighs to the floor.

C.

Press up to plank and jump feet toward hands. Jump as high as you can, making sure feet are under shoulders before launching.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10-15

29. Total Body: Mountain Climber

A.

Start in a high plank position.

B.

Alternate 'running' your knees into your chest as quickly as you can.

Sets:

3

Reps:

60

30. Total Body: Tuck Jump

A.

Stand with feet hip-width distance apart with arms at your sides or in a ready position. Squat to start.

B.

Jump as high as you can, swinging arms and tucking knees toward chest. Land softly.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

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