If there is one sure way to build strength, balance, and endurance, it’s doing bodyweight exercises on a consistent basis. Bodyweight exercises engage all of your muscles for shorter, more intense workouts. All bodies are different and everyone has distinct exercise goals in mind, but not everyone has the time or space to work out. Free up your day with these ten bodyweight exercises you can do almost anywhere.
1. Single-leg Glute Bridge
Lie on the floor with both of your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart, flat against the ground. Raise one leg straight up while keeping both knees aligned. Drive the heel of your bent knee into the ground, lifting your hips into a bridge and your raised leg up. Slowly lower your hips back to the ground, keeping your raised leg in the air.
Plant your hands under your shoulders, like preparing for a push up. Squeeze your glutes, tighten your core, and engage your legs. Engaging your whole body makes this exercise easier to do and correctly targets all the muscle groups. Don’t lift your head or let your glutes sag, as it puts an unhealthy strain on the wrong muscles.
3. Mountain Climber
Plant your hands as if preparing for a push up or plank. Reach one knee to your chest while keeping your foot flexed and the other leg straight. Return your leg to the straightened position and reach up with the other knee. Keep alternating legs, while firmly rooting into your hands.
4. Wall Sit
Stand with your back flat against a wall and your feet hip distance apart, about two feet in front of you. Slide down the wall until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Hold here for as long as you can.
5. Single-leg Deadlift
Standing up with a straight back, plant both of your feet flat on the ground. Lean forward, raising one leg straight back behind you. Keep your back flat and your toes flexed. You can lower your arms down as you lean forward, but be sure not to reach too far forward with your fingertips so you don’t round your back. Hinge at the hips, so you only bend as far as your flexibility allows.
6. Reverse Lunge
Stand up with both feet planted firmly into the ground. Step one foot backwards, but only far enough that your front knee remains at a 90 degree angle. Lightly touch the floor with your back knee, then push through your front heel as you return it to the starting position. Repeat, alternating both legs. Make sure to engage your entire body by pumping opposite arms to your legs with each lunge.
There are dozens of variations of squats, so feel free to modify this exercise based on your target muscle group. The basic squat starts with your legs a bit more than hip distance apart, toes slightly facing outward. Ground into your heels and squat backwards into your glutes. Keep your weight back to release pressure on your knees and be sure to keep your knees from bending past your toes. If you are not holding a weight it helps to put your arms forward, as this will increase balance.
Pull down from a squat to the floor. Place your hands on the ground and kick out into plank position. Jump your feet back up to your hands, then jump up again from the floor, reaching your arms up. Repeat, pulling down from the jump into the squat. It’s essential to maintain a fast pace and rhythm so as to get the most out of a set of burpees.
9. Step Up
Find a bench, chair, or stair and place one foot on top. Drive into this foot as you stand up to join both feet together on top. Lower the same foot you brought up back down and step the other foot down to match. Then, switch by placing your lifted foot on top and drive down to lift the alternate leg.
Lie down on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and your arms above your head. Contract at your core to bring up your legs and arms to meet in midair. If this is too difficult, modify by bending your knees and reaching your arms straight ahead in parallel with your legs. Hold this position before slowly releasing down to the ground. Continue to engage your core by hovering your straightened legs and upper body above the ground, then lift back up.
Even if you have no weights, these exercises can still be fun and can be done anywhere. The best part about body weight exercise is that they can be integrated into a busy schedule and are great to do during an outdoor jog or inside the house.