10 Bodyweight Exercises for Your Home Gym
By Ari Ziskin
Published: January 12, 2016 | Updated: February 25, 2019
10 Bodyweight Exercises for Your Home Gym
Get solutions, not excuses, with these 10 bodyweight exercises for your home gym. No equipment necessary in these 10 moves that will make your entire body burn so good!
One of the biggest challenges for people hoping to change their health/fitness is resources. It feels like you can’t get started without the gym membership, the trainer, the envious Lululemon workout gear, the list goes on.
The truth? All you need is YOU and a little bit of knowledge.
You can easily create a home gym with some rubber tiles, set up a workout mat or a yoga mat, or even on your living room carpet. I always recommend at least getting a mat to create a designated workout area. This helps with accountability. If that’s not an option at this time, you don’t have to put your fitness goals on hold.
We’ve put together a list of 10 exercises you can do at home, in the break room at work (I’ve been known to squat there…), pretty much anywhere! You can put these together for a full body workout, or just do a few to focus on a specific body part. If you ask me, it’s always better to get a full body workout. I don’t participate in “arm day” or “leg day”, but lots of people do. Feel free to use them however you’d like!
Squats are a great because they work a ton of things at once. They (should be) focused on your glutes with the supporting muscles from your legs (yup ALL of your leg muscles!) and core.
To make sure you hit the glutes (they are grouchy little Bs that don’t always like to turn on), keep your weight on your heels and keep your knees over your toes. Don’t let them collapse in – use your glutes to push them out.
Lunges also target the glutes (your butt) with support from your leg muscles (yup, all of them again!) and core (abs and back). There are a ton of varieties, but the basic lunge just steps forward into position, then back up. Be sure to keep the weight in your working (front) leg in your heel and focus on pushing back up with your glutes.
No matter what type of lunge you’re doing, always make sure to keep your knee over your toe and do not exceed a 90 degree angle. This basically makes your knee pissed. Even if it doesn’t tell you right away, so don’t do it alright?
The best part about bodyweight exercises? They always work multiple muscles at once. Wall sits target the quads (front of your thighs) with support from your hamstrings (back of thighs), adductors (inner thighs) and core.
Unlike lunges and squats, wall sits are a static exercise intended to make your legs quiver and your stability muscles go into overdrive! To perform a wall sit, press your back against the wall, engage your abs and lower yourself into a squat with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
Try holding for 20-30 seconds, then work your way up to 20-30 minutes. Hahaha, I kid, I kid, but you can totally work your way upwards of 5 minutes, or more if you’re a total beast!
These babies are a total body workout that will make your legs and your lungs burn! There are lots of different ways that people do mountain climbers. I like to start in push up position and jump between lunges from there. I always focus on keeping my hips as low as possible to keep my abs engaged.
Even just a minute of these babies will kick your butt. It’s the perfect strength/cardio combo that can have a big impact in a short amount of time.
Ugh. Okay, let’s pretend these are not my least favorite exercise of all time, and pretend they are SO MUCH FUN. I would actually say that if you only have time to do one exercise, burpees will give you the most bang for your buck.
A total body workout that will get your heart rate up in no time, burpees will give you quick results, and also give you that it-hurts-to-sit-down feeling the next day.
Everyone has their way to perform a burpee and this is mine: start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands down right in front of your feet and jump your feet back into push-up position. Bend your elbows and get your chest all the way to the ground (if you don’t have the strength to perform standard push ups, you can literally lay your whole body on the ground then push it back up – this is equally good, I promise!), push yourself back up, jump your legs back in, then jump straight up. All of the fun, right?!
All of the fun, right?!
Please, please, please do not do crunches. I know they burn so good, but the full range of motion in a sit-up will give you a significantly better workout. Sit ups primarily work the rectus abdominis (your 6 pack) with support from external obliques (your side abs) and traverus abdominus (lower abs).
A traditional crunch only targets the rectus abdominis. Now, if there is anything I’ve learned about health and fitness, it is that everyone has a different opinion on “what is the RIGHT way”. If you believe strongly in crunches, have at it sister!
To perform a sit up, lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms either behind your head (this helps you get some momentum and it especially good for high reps, or newbies), or crossed on your chest. Using your abdominals, lift your entire upper body up to your legs, then lay back down and repeat. For an extra challenge, try to keep your legs firmly planted so you don’t end up using your hip flexors instead of working on that chiseled 6 pack.
For an extra challenge, try to keep your legs firmly planted so you don’t end up using your hip flexors instead of working on that chiseled 6 pack.
Superman (or Wonderwoman!)
The super/wonder(wo)man is a great back exercise that can be done just about anywhere. Okay, I’ve never actually heard it called ”
Okay, I’ve never actually heard it called “wonderwoman”, but in my world, we have a female version too. The superman targets your back muscles with assistance from glutes and hamstrings.
Now, for this exercise, you’re going to get your face right up in the floor, so I highly recommend getting a workout mat or yoga mat. To perform a superman, lay face down with your legs straight and your arms stretched out in front of you. Raise your arms and legs at the same time to a point that is “comfortably uncomfortable”. Release and repeat.
**Note: Back exercises are super important! If you do all abs and never work your back, you will end up out of balance and, likely, injured. Always work those opposing muscles!
Okay, so these I actually do like! There is no better way to strengthen your core than planks! It only takes a few minutes to get a killer workout done. And I promise it will kick the pants off those crunch routines.
Aside from targeting your entire core, you’re also using basically the entire rest of your body as supporting muscles. There are about a million types of planks. To complete the basic plank, start in a push-up position, but with your elbows/forearms on the ground supporting your weight rather than your hands. No, you do not want only your elbows on the ground. Your whole forearm should be there to hold you up. I legit had someone think that’s what I meant by “on your elbows” before…
Your arms should be centered under your chest, not too far in front or behind you. Your body should be flat. You do not want your hips in the air or collapsing in. Think about squeezing your abs to keep your body totally parallel to the ground.
Now all you have to do is hold it! Hah, easier said than done. Start with 15-20 seconds (or longer if you’d like!) and work your way up. I’ve never gotten past the 5 minute mark…#goals.
First of all, we are not calling them “girl push-ups” and “boy push ups” today. A push-up is a push-up. Doing push-ups on your knees, against the wall, etc. are just scaled versions of the traditional push-up.
Push-ups target the pectoral (chest) muscles with a lotta help from your core (push ups always make my abs sore!), arms and shoulders. And a little help from basically the rest of your body! Like a plank, your whole body is engaged to stabilize you including glutes, hamstrings, etc.
To complete a push-up, get in push-up position with your body flat and parallel to the ground. Bend your arms to lower yourself until your chest touches the ground, then push yourself back up. Repeat…or do 1 and call it good because push ups are hard!
And I wish we were talking about guacamole, but you do these dips so you can eat that dip!
Dips, often called tricep dips, target…your triceps! They get a little help from your shoulders and chest. There are lots of ways to do dips The most hardcore (that I know of) being unassisted from those gymnastics rings #goals.
For a basic tricep dip, you just need a box / chair / bench / etc. Place your hands on the edge of the box / chair / bench while facing away with your knees bent and your back straight. Keeping your back straight, bend your arms to about a 90 degree angle, then straighten and repeat.
What’s your favorite bodyweight exercise?
You have got superb fitness.