Convenient and inexpensive, bodyweight exercises combine cardio and strength training for incredible results. In each exercise, the major and minor muscle groups must work simultaneously. This increases intensity, which burns more calories and more fat, more efficiently. Workouts are shorter and more intense and never boring. Everyone can find bodyweight exercises that work for them, and every exercise can be adapted for beginners.

1. Plank

Extend from your heels through the top of your head. Keep your core tight. Hold steady for 30 seconds and rest. Repeat 3 times.

photo: burnstomachfat101.com

photo: burnstomachfat101.com

Variations:
Push forward on your toes and hold.
Try leg lifts while holding plank.
Move from plank pose on forearms to plank pose on hands and back down.

2. Side Plank

Holding side plank works the obliques, but remember to keep your core tight.

photo: menshealth.com

photo: menshealth.com

Variations:
Try side plank pose while doing leg lifts or arm extensions.
Try side plank pose with dips and twists.
Move into push-ups from side plank and back.

3. Boat Pose

This classic yoga pose challenges every muscle of your back, core, arms, glutes, thighs. This move is no joke. Hold for 30 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat 3 times. Try and relax into the pose and enjoy it!

photo: myvega.com

photo: myvega.com

4. Superman

Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched. Engaging your core, lift your arms and legs simultaneously and lower. Repeat for 8 and rest. Complete 2 sets.

photo: whiteroomfitness.com

photo: whiteroomfitness.com

Variations:
Beginners can lift one arm and opposite leg at a time.

5. Push-up

Stop letting your elbows stick out like chicken wings. Keep those elbows in tight! Lower your body in an even line and keep your core engaged.

photo: womenshealthmag.com

photo: womenshealthmag.com

6. Close Grip Push-Up

This is an advanced version of the push-up. The key is to make sure your hands are placed below the center of your chest, you’re extending from your heels through the top of your head, and you’re keeping your core tight!

photo: juicers-best.com

photo: juicers-best.com

7. Bridge

Great active-rest move to help tone your glutes.

photo: menshealth.com
photo: menshealth.com

8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

The advanced version is to perform the glute bridge with a single planted leg. Do 8 reps on each side. Complete 2 sets.

photo: menshealth.com

photo: menshealth.com

9. Burpee

Perhaps the best bodyweight exercise of them all. The burpee combines cardio and strength training and requires rapid fire of many major muscle groups.

photo: bootcampnoosa.com

photo: bootcampnoosa.com

Variations:
Increase difficulty by adding a push-up while on the floor.
Increase difficulty by adding a squat jump at the top of the burpee.

10. Lunge

Keep a straight back as you lower with your chest lifted and your gaze forward. Lower no further than a 90 degree angle on the forward thigh. Don’t let the forward knee extend past your toes. Do 8 reps on each side. Repeat 2 sets.

Lunge

photo: fitbie.com

11. Walking Lunge

Same form as the stationary lunge while incorporating forward movement. The task here is to keep good form while challenging your balance.

12. Side Lunge

Make sure your support knee doesn’t extend past your toes and keep your other leg fairly straight. Here’s a trick: perform this move on a wood floor, use a towel under your non-support leg and slide into the pose as opposed to stepping.

photo: menshealth.com

photo: menshealth.com

Variations:
For added difficult, incorporate weights or a sandbag into your lunges.

13. Lunge Jumps

Stand with your feet together, elbows bent 90 degrees. Lunge  forward with your right foot [A]. Jump straight up as you thrust your arms forward, elbows still bent. Switch legs in midair, like a scissor [B], and land in a lunge with your left leg forward [C]. Repeat, switching legs again. That’s 1 rep; do 10.

Lunge Jumps

photo: Women’s Health Mag

14. Squats

Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position. Do 30 reps.

photo: maxfitness.com

photo: maxfitness.com

Variations:
For increased difficulty, add in a barbell or sandbag.
Before squatting, raise your heels and keep them raised for the entirety of the squat.

15. Squat Jumps

Place your fingers on the back of your head and pull your elbows back so that they’re in line with your body. (A) Dip your knees in preparation to leap. (B) Explosively jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately squat down and jump again. (C)

photo: lifestyle.yahoo.com

photo: lifestyle.yahoo.com

 

16. Pistol Squats

Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor, and hold it there. (A) Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. (B)

17. Sumo Squats

Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest. Squat down as low as you can, keeping your heels on the ground and your back straight. Press back up to standing. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps total.

Sumo Squats

photo: fitsugar.com

 

18. Mountain Climbers

These babies may well rival the burpee for best bodyweight exercise. Starting in a push-up position, bring one knee to your chest and explosively reverse the positions of your legs.  Repeat in an alternating fashion for 20-30 seconds or until you gas out.

mountain climbers

photo: leanitup.com

 

19. Sprinter Sit-Ups

Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees. As you sit up, twist your upper body to the left and bring your left knee toward your right elbow while you swing your left arm back. Lower your body to the starting position, and repeat to your right. That’s 1 rep. Complete 30 reps. Rest. Repeat.

sprinter sit ups

photo: muscleandfitness.com

20. Single Leg Deadlifts

Standing on one leg, bend forward at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance. Continue lowering until you are parallel to the ground, and then return to the upright position.

single leg dead lift

photo: fitnessbodygain.com

Variations:
Complete the same exercise with the sandbag for added difficulty.

21. Bear Crawl

Get on hands and toes and propel yourself forward without letting your knees touch the ground.

bear crawl

photo: stumptuous.com

Variations:
Try side to side or backward bear crawls.

22. Pull-Up

To complete the following exercise,  you will need to invest in a pull-up bar. If you can’t yet perform a pull-up or do not know the proper form, please read this awesome guide from Nerd Fitness.
photo: pullupszone.com

23. Dip

To complete these next few exercises, you will need to invest in a dip station or use a similar piece of equipment at the gym.

Keep your back straight and your core tight. Cross your legs and lower yourself until arms are bent at a 90 degree angle. Return to start position. If these are easy for you, complete 3 sets of 8 reps. If these are difficult or you cannot perform them at all, see our beginner variation below.

dips

Variations:
Try assisted dips by placing one foot on the floor.

24. Inverted Row

We like to say, if you’re not rowing, you’re muscles aren’t growing. Position yourself underneath the dip station. Your heels should be on the ground and your arms fully extended. Pull your chest towards the station, pause at the top of the motion, and return yourself to the start position.

inverted row

25. Suspended Push-Up

To complete the following, you will need to invest in an accessory pack for the dip station or the Dynamic Strength Package. Lean into the straps, take a handle in each hand and move into a push-up plank position. You should be as close to parallel to the ground as you can manage with your arms fully extended. Keep your core engaged and descend by allowing your elbows to flex at 90 degrees. Return to start.
suspended push up

 Additional Resources:
Greatist’s 50 Best Bodyweight Exercises
Jason Ferruggia’s 20 Best Bodyweight Exercises
Fit Sugar’s 67 Best Bodyweight Exercises