All you need is yourself and a yoga mat to tackle these strength-building, heart-pumping bodyweight exercises.
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A diverse group of women exercising, jumping in the air doing burpees in a public park surrounded by nature. They are working out in their community to get exercise and spend quality time together.
Credit: Getty Images

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 and improving fitness. (That's the whole point of calisthenics!) 

Here, the best bodyweight exercises that will become your go-to moves for developing strength all over your body, which are demonstrated by Mindy Lai, a trainer at GRIT BXNG in New York City. Try the best bodyweight exercises 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.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

How it works: For a cardio-based workout, pick one best bodyweight exercise from each category (core, arms, back, legs, glutes, and full body) and perform them as a circuit, doing one set of each exercise. Take 1 minute of rest, then repeat the circuit five times (or as many times as you'd like). For a strength-based workout, pick one to two moves from each category and perform three sets of each exercise, with 30 seconds of rest between sets, before moving on to the next exercise.

What you'll need: a yoga mat, if desired

The Best Bodyweight Exercises: Core

High Plank

High Plank
Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Hold for up to 1 minute.

Bear Crawl

bear crawl
bear crawl
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lift knees 2 inches off the floor.

B. Keeping back flat and core engaged, move right arm and left leg forward 2 inches in a controlled manner. Then, move left arm and right leg forward 2 inches.

Do 4 steps forward, then 4 steps backward.

Bird-Dog

bird-dog-core-bodyweight-exercises
Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core and raise the right arm and left leg until parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

Do 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Dead Bug

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dead-bug-core-body-weight-exercises
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie on back on the floor with arms extended in front of shoulders, pointing toward the ceiling. Bring knees to a 90-degree angle. Engage core and press lower back into the floor.

B. Take a deep breath in and, while exhaling, slowly extend right leg toward the floor and bring left arm overhead.

C. Keeping core engaged, slowly return arm and leg to starting position.

Do 16 reps, alternating sides.

Forearm Plank

forearm plank
Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart. Lower one forearm down to the floor at a time, elbows in line with shoulders. Plant palms firmly on the floor or create gentle fists.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a forearm plank position, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

Hold for up to 1 minute.

Hollow Body Hold

hollow-body-hold-core-bodyweight-exercises
Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie faceup on the floor with arms overhead, biceps by ears, and legs outstretched.

B. Keeping core engaged, tailbone tucked, and neck neutral, lift legs and arms so shoulders and feet are off the floor.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Leg Drop

leg-drops-a-core-bodyweight-exercises
leg-drops-core-bodyweight-exercises
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie on the floor faceup with legs extended and feet touching and hands resting underneath butt.

B. Engage core, then raise legs straight up toward the ceiling, keeping feet together and a neutral spine, to the starting postion.

B. Lower legs back to the floor, keeping them straight and stopping a few inches above the floor. Then, raise legs back up to the starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises: Arms

Plank Up/Down

plank-up-down-high
plank-up-down-mid
forearm plank
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Center: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels to come into the starting position.

C. Keeping hips square, lower right elbow to the floor, then left elbow, to come into a forearm plank. Place right hand under right shoulder, then left hand under left shoulder to return to a high plank. That's one rep.

Do 8 to 15 reps.

Triceps Dip

triceps-dips
triceps-dips-bodyweight
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Sit on the floor, hands behind body with thumbs pointing forward and fingertips on a slight diagonal. Lift hips up, shift weight into hands, open chest, and roll shoulders back.

B. Bend at elbows and send them straight back until butt taps the floor.

C. Push into hands to straighten elbows.

Do 15 reps.

Hand-Release Push-Up

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hand-release-push-up-c
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a high plank position with hands directly underneath shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads. Push elbows out so arms form a 45-degree angle to body.

C. Look down to keep neck neutral and slowly lower body to the floor.

D. Quickly lift hands off the floor, lower them back down, then push off the floor to return to the starting position. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring body forms a straight line from head to knees.

Do 6 to 12 reps.

Push-Up

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push-up-hold-bottom
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a high plank position with hands directly underneath shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads. Push elbows out so arms form a 45-degree angle to body.

C. Look down to keep neck neutral and slowly lower body, stopping 3 inches above the floor. Keep core engaged throughout the movement, ensuring body forms a straight line from head to toe.

D. Quickly push back up to the starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps.

Triceps Extension

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downward-dog-triceps-extension_0
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips. Walk hands a few inches forward and spread fingers wide, pressing palms into mat.

B. Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward ceiling, bringing body into a downward dog position, pressing shoulders away from ears. Feet should be hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

C. Rotate elbows in and tap forearms to the floor.  

D.Press through palms to extend elbows and return to downward dog.

Do 12 to 15 reps.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises: Back

Prone Y-W-T

ywt-y-back-exercise
ywt-w-back-exercise
ywt-t-back-exercise
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Center: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie facedown on the floor with arms extended forward, biceps by ears. Engage core and lift upper body off the floor, then 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 the starting position.

Do 10 to 12 reps.

Push-Up Hold

push-up-hold-top_0
push-up-hold-bottom
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Center: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a high plank position with hands directly underneath shoulders and legs extended, feet hip-width apart.

B. Engage core by tucking tailbone and drawing navel in toward spine. Lock in lats by drawing shoulders down and away from ears. Engage glutes and quads. Push elbows out so arms form a 45-degree angle to body.

C. Look down to keep neck neutral and slowly lower body, stopping 3 inches above the floor. Hold for 1 deep breath, and then press halfway up and hold for 1 deep breath.

D. Lower back down to the lowest point and hold for 1 deep breath.

E. Return to the halfway point for one more 1-breath hold, then quickly push back up to the starting position.

Do 5 reps.

Plank with Lateral Raise

plank-up-down-high
plank-arm-lateral-raise
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a table-top position on the floor with hands stacked directly under shoulders, knees bent and stacked directly under hips, and feet hip-width apart.

B. Lift both knees off the floor and straighten legs to come into a high plank position on palms, squeezing glutes together and engaging core. Actively push away from the floor and maintain a straight line from head to heels.

C. Keeping hips as still as possible, lift one arm up to shoulder height. Return to center, then lift the other arm to shoulder height.

Do 10 reps.

Superman

bodyweight-back-exercises-superman
Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie facedown on the floor with arms and legs extended straight.

B. Engage core and simultaneously lift head, chest, arms, and legs up into a Superman-style flying position, gazing slightly forward at the floor.

Hold for 30 seconds.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises: Legs

Air Squat

air-squat-leg-exercise
air-squat-leg-exercise-low
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned slightly outward and hands clasped in front of chest.

B. On an inhale, sit back into hips and bend knees to lower until thighs are parallel or almost parallel with floor, keeping chest up and preventing back from rounding.

C. On an exhale, press through feet to straighten legs and return to standing.

Do 15 reps.

Jumping Lunge

jump-lunge-low-lunge
lump-lunge-plyo
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Starting in lunge position with right leg in front and both legs bent at 90-degree angles.

B. Lower down 1 to 2 inches to gain momentum, then push off and jump directly up, switching legs before landing softly in lunge position with opposite leg in front

Do 12 reps.

Lateral Lunge

lateral-lunge
Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet together and hands clasped in front of chest. 

B. Take a large step out to the right and immediately lower 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. 

C. Push through right foot to straighten right leg, step right foot next to left, and return to the starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Pistol Squat

pistol-squat-standing
pistol-squat-low
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at sides. Place heel of right foot on the floor slightly in front of body, toes up.

B. Raise right leg in front of body and push hips backward to bend into a squat on left leg. If necessary, extend arms forward to assist with balance. Lower hips as low as possible, keeping right leg lifted.

C. Push through left foot to return to the starting position.

Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Pulse Squat

pulse-squat
pulse-squat-low
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned slightly outward and hands clasped in front of chest.

B. On an inhale, sit back into hips and bend knees to lower until thighs are parallel or almost parallel with floor, keeping chest up and preventing back from rounding.

C. On an exhale, press through feet to straighten legs halfway up.

D. Descend back into the bottom of the squat, then press through feet to straighten legs and return to standing.

Do 10 to 12 reps.

Split Squat

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split-squat-low
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms at sides. Take one step forward with right foot so it's resting 2 to 4 feet in front of left foot. Stay on toes of left foot

B. Bend knees and lower hips until front thigh is parallel with the floor. Push through right heel to straighten knees and drive hips upward to return to the starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises: Glutes

Curtsy Lunge

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curtsy-lunge-leg-exercise-low_0
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped in front of chest.

B. Step left leg to cross behind the other, bending both knees until legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off left foot to return to the starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Frog Pump

frog-pump-exercise
frog-pump-glute-exercise
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie faceup on the floor with arms at sides and soles of feet pressed together. Scoot feet as close to butt as possible.

B. Engage core and press lower back into the floor. Keeping chin tucked into neck, ribs down, and shoulders on the floor, press down into the floor with edges of feet and squeeze glutes to thrust hips toward the ceiling.

c. Pause at the top, then lower butt back down to the floor with control.

Do 20 to 30 reps.

Side-Lying Hip Raise

side-lying-hip-raise-exercise
side-lying-hip-raise
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

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

B. Press through right knee to raise hips up into a side plank position, allowing knees to separate with left foot on the floor. 

C. Lower hips back to start.

Do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

single-leg-glute-bridge
single-leg-clute-bridge-raise
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Lie faceup on the floor with arms at sides, feet flat, and knees pointing toward the ceiling. Straighten and extend right leg up toward ceiling.

B. Press into left foot to lift hips off the floor, forming a straight line from shoulders to right heel to start.

C. Slowly lower hips to tap the floor, keeping core engaged. Then, press through left foot to return to the starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Step-Up

step-up-glutes
step-up-glutes-high-knee
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with arms at sides and feet hip-width apart facing a sturdy chair, bench, step, or plyo box. Place right foot on the box.

B. Lean upper body forward and drive through right foot, pressing through toe and heel, to come up to standing on top of the bench. Drive left knee up to hip-height, knee bent at a 90-degree angle.

C. Lower left foot back to the floor to return to the starting position.

Do 10 to 12 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

The Best Bodyweight Exercises: Full Body

Burpee

burpee-crouch_0
burpee-floor
burpee-jump
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Center: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, weight in heels, arms at sides.

B. Push hips back, bend knees, and lower body into a squat.

C. Place hands on the floor directly in front of and just inside feet. Shift weight onto hands.

D. Jump feet back to softly land on balls of feet in a plank position. Body should form a straight line from head to heels. Be careful not to let back sag or butt stick up in the air, as both can prevent effective core activation.

E. Optional: Lower body all the way onto the floor, keeping core engaged. Push up to lift body off of the floor and return to plank position.

F. Jump feet back so they land just outside hands.

G. Explosively jump into the air. Land and immediately lower back into a squat for next rep.

Do 10 to 15 reps.

Mountain Climber

mountain-climbers
mountain-climbers-plank
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, fingers spread apart, feet hip-width apart, and weight resting on balls of feet. Body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.

B. Maintaining a flat back and gazing between hands, brace core, lift one foot off the floor, and quickly drive knee to chest.

C. Return foot to start and repeat with the other leg. Quickly alternate driving knees in toward chest as if running.

Do 30 reps.

Tuck Jump

tuck-jump-prep
tuck-jump_1
Left: Credit: SHAPE
Right: Credit: SHAPE

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned slightly outward and hands clasped in front of chest.

B. On an inhale, sit back into hips and bend knees to lower until thighs are parallel or almost parallel with floor, keeping chest up and preventing back from rounding.

C. On an exhale, explosively press through feet and jump as high as possible, swinging arms and tucking knees toward chest.

D. Land softly and lower into a squat for the next rep.

Do 10 reps.