10 bodyweight exercises you can do in your own home
People lead busy lives and often find they run out of time to go to the gym, especially after a long day at work. Or maybe a gym membership is just not affordable - they can be ridiculously expensive for what they are worth. But the good thing is, who needs a gym membership when you have a living room or bedroom floor?! Bodyweight exercises are a simple and effective way to improve your fitness without lots of complex machinery. From legs and abs to arms and back, you can work all parts of your body using just your own bodyweight!
Here are my 10 favourite bodyweight exercises that require absolutely no equipment. No gym? No excuses!
1) Burpees (full body)
These are one of the most effective (and most hated) bodyweight exercises around. You start out in a standing position and jump as high as possible, reaching to the roof with your hands. As you land you drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. Then you jump your feet back so you are in a high plank before immediately jumping your feet back to the squat position. You then jump up from the squat position and start the process again! Burpees are an incredibly tough but amazing full-body exercise!
2) Push ups (chest & arms)
Another classic bodyweight exercise working the chest, triceps, abs and deltoids (shoulders) - you will be increasing your upper body strength as well as your core stability and overall fitness. You start in a high plank position and slowly lower yourself to the floor, keeping your elbow close to the body. It is important to keep the body flat as you are lowering yourself and to do this you need to engage those core muscles. Pause at the bottom before pushing yourself back up with your arms to the high plank position. For beginners, it might be easier to start with your knees on the floor instead of your toes.
3) Squat jumps (legs)
Just like a normal squat... except ten times harder! You start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing at a 45 degree angle. Bend your knees to get into a squat position, keeping your back straight (make sure you don't lean forward - try and stay neutral). From this position, use your leg power to jump in the air as high as possible before landing and going back into a squat position again. You'll feel those quads burning in no time!
4) Lunge jumps (legs)
I find these ones hard as I have the worst balance! You start in a split stance with one leg in front of the other and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. From here, jump as high as you can and, whilst in the air, switch the position of your legs so your front one moves to the back and back to the front. As you land, absorb the impact by bending your knees back into a lunge position again. Repeat! This exercise requires balance and strength so it is great for the legs and core.
5) Plank pushup (arms & abs)
A great variation on the plank which is slightly more advanced. You start in a normal plank position on your forearms before lifting yourself up onto your hands one arm at a time so you are in a high plank position. Hold the high plank position for a few seconds before moving back into low plank on your forearms again. It is important to keep your back straight throughout this whole exercise and to do this you must engage your core muscles!
6) Mountain climbers (legs & cardio)
Another full-body workout which mainly targets your quads, shoulders and cardio fitness. You begin in a high plank position with a straight back. Bring one foot off the floor and bend your knee so it is close to your chest. Return to the high plank position and repeat with the opposite leg. Try and get some speed whilst also maintaining control and balance.
7) Tricep dips (arms)
The name kind of gives it away, but this exercise mainly targets your triceps (or your bingo wings for the ladies out there). It is a great exercise because there are a few different variations to make it easier or harder depending on your fitness level. If you are at home you will need to use a stair (or a chair/bench/sofa). Face away from the bench and put your hands on the edge at shoulder width apart. Extend your legs out in front of you with your feet resting on the floor (you can bend your knees to make this easier like in my video or you can raise your feet on another chair to make it harder). Bend your elbows and lower your torso before using your triceps to lift yourself back up to the starting position again.
8) Bicycle crunch (abs)
Lie with your back flat on the floor. Put your hands to your head and bend one knee towards your chest. At the same time, lift and twist your torso so your opposite elbow nearly touches the bent knee. Switch sides and do the same motion with your other leg and elbow. Speed is not important in this exercise - it is better to go more slowly and controlled so you engage your abs more.
9) Glute bridge (glutes e.g. bum)
Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent and hands by your side. Pushing with your feet and glutes, lift your hips off the floor keeping your back straight. When you are at the top, squeeze your bum to really activate your glute muscles before bringing your body back to the starting position.
This is a tough variation of a normal push up as it really targets your core. Start in a high plank position and bend your arms to perform a push up whilst at the same time bending your right knee to you right elbow. As you push up with your arms bring your foot back to the plank position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
So next time you think you can't do any exercise because you don't have time to go to the gym... think again! Give some of these exercises a go in a mini circuit-style HIIT workout and you'll feel so much better for it afterwards!
An example HIIT workout you could do using a few of these exercises is 3 rounds of the following with 30 secs rest between each round: