If you’re more comfortable working out at home than in a crowded gym, or if there’s little to no space in your apartment for bulky exercise machines, there happens to be a way for you to still feel that burn and get your heartbeat racing. Enter: Exercises that only require your body weight. According to BuzzFeed Life, “High-intensity circuit training that you do using only your bodyweight challenges your cardiovascular fitness and gives you a killer, full-body workout if you do it right.” So, what are these effective workouts that can do just as much good as, say, running on a treadmill or using the bench press?
Crunches are a common, nostalgia-boosting exercise that holds a tummy-flattening purpose. (We say nostalgia because crunch exercises remind us of those oh-so-fun high school PE classes.) Now, we know why our gym teachers encouraged us to try them, even if we only got to six or seven. They strengthen abdominal muscles and improve our posture. And crunches don’t come in one style—nope, there are twist crunches, bicycle crunches, vertical leg crunch, oblique crunches, and more.
To get started with a basic crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, placing your hands on either side of your head. Then holding your elbows out to the sides, curl up and forward so that your head, neck, and shoulders are being lifted off the floor. (Note: Your shoulders should lift about 4 inches with your lower back remaining on the floor.) Hold for a moment then slowly move back down, repeating until you feel your ab muscles tightening, one by one.
As a popular lower body exercise, we all know what purpose squats have. Not only do they help achieve a defined shape in the backside area, but they also work the hamstrings, calves, and other leg muscles. And good news: You can do squats anywhere. Whether you choose jump squats, plié squats, one-legged squats, or pulse squats, you’ll be able to see some serious results, fast.
To get started with a basic squat, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms down by your side. Then, begin to lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your body weight into your heels. As you lower yourself into the squat, raise your arms in front of you for balance, never letting your knees go over your toes. As you’re in a squat position, your lower body should be parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted. Pause, then lift back up in a full standing position, and repeat.
Yes, sometimes the simplest of exercises result in the greatest of feels, and we’re talking about planks. Holding the plank position takes a lot of strength and endurance, but it’ll all be worth it once you see development in your core, shoulders, arms, hamstrings, and glutes. Planks also improve balance and support proper posture. There’s the up-down plank, reverse plank, elbow plank, side plank, wall plank, and plenty more.
To get started with a basic plank, go into pushup position on the floor, bending your elbows 90 degrees and resting your weight on your forearms (not your hands). Make sure that your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders, and your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Then hold the position for as long as you can.
If you desire shapely toned legs and a defined backside without having to use any equipment, then it’s time to meet your new friend: the lunge. Lunges are known for growing muscle tissue, strengthening the core, and making hips more flexible. And there’s a variety to choose from. Walking lunges, reverse lunges, lateral lunges, curtsy lunges, spider lunges—just take your pick!
To get started with a basic lunge, place your hands on your hips, stand tall, and pull your shoulders back. Take a nice sized step forward with your right leg, slowly lowering your body until your front knee is bent to 90 degrees. (The back knee should never touch the floor.) Next, push yourself back up to the starting position, then repeat with the other leg.
Drop down and give me 20! Just kidding, but like the others, this exercise can be done just about anywhere. Pushups activate nearly every muscle in your body, such as your abs, triceps, and shoulders, while also building definition in your back. And luckily, there are several types to choose from, including single-leg pushups, feet-elevated pushups, rotational pushups, hand-tap pushups, and close grip pushups.
To get started with a basic pushup, place your hands firmly on the ground (directly under shoulders) and ground your toes to stabilize your lower half. Flatten your back so your entire body is straight, then lower your body with your arms. Make sure to avoid letting your behind dip or stick out at any point during the exercise. Pick yourself back up using your arms and repeat.
No equipment, no problems. And in no time, you’ll see results and want to show off your newly defined bod. If you have any no-equipment exercises that have helped you in the past, please share them in the comment section below! Here’s to a healthy lifestyle!
Allyson Miller is a bookworm, history nerd and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing creative and informational content for SBT in Rock Hill, SC. Depending on the day, you can find her with her nose in historical documents, shopping for trendy exercise outfits or trying new cooking recipes. Allyson dreams that one day, engineers will figure out a way to build roller coasters sans the incline, ridding her of coasterphobia.