23 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do at Home Without Any Equipment

This list of 23 bodyweight exercises can be mixed and matched to create a full-body workout that can be done anywhere, without any additional equipment.

Before I had any equipment in my home gym, I needed a way to get a full-body workout. Every plan I found mentioned weights, bands, or bars that I didn’t have access to.

With the help of a personal trainer, I created this list that I still turn to when I’m stuck at a hotel with no gym or just need a quick way to get my heart pumping. 

Pick 5 or 6 exercises from the list below that target your whole body. Aim for 10 – 12 reps per exercise or 60 seconds for the exercises that require you to hold a position. Perform the list for 3 sets and you will have completed an incredibly effective full-body workout without any special equipment.  Use variations of different exercises to keep the workouts fresh and interesting.

Push-Up
Squat
Bear Crawl
Burpee
Triceps Dip
Plank
Wall Sit
Step-Up
Lunge
Calf Raise
Mountain Climbers

Push-Up

A push-up is an effective exercise for building upper body strength, targeting the chest, arms, and shoulders. Using proper form also engages your core muscles improving posture and stability.

This versatile exercise can be done almost anywhere with no equipment. It can be modified for beginners and has a number of variations to keep even the fittest athletes honest.

How to do the basic Push-Up:

  • Start in the high plank position (shown above), with your hands slightly wider than your shoulder width and feet parallel about hip-width apart
  • Tighten your abs, glutes, and quads keeping your body rigid throughout the movement
  • Inhale, and slowly lower yourself until your chest just touches the floor, keeping your elbows tucked tight to your sides
  • Exhale as you push down through your palms returning back to the starting position

Push-Up Variations 

Bent Knee Push-Up

One variation to make the push-up easier is called the Bent-Knee Push-Up. In this modified version your knees will be on the ground supporting your weight instead of your toes. The movement is done the same as a basic push-up, just be careful not to bend at the hips.

Incline Push-up 

Another beginner-friendly variation is the incline push-up. With your hands elevated you’ll be lifting less of your body weight, making the movement easier and taking pressure off of your joints. The higher you elevate your hands, the easier the push-up will be. For example, an incline push-up off of your counter will be easier than one off of a coffee table.

Decline Push-Up

Decline push-ups are a more challenging variation that targets the upper chest and front shoulders. A decline push-up is done with the same motion as a basic push-up, but you will have your feet elevated on a chair, couch, or stair.

Inchworm Push-Up

Inchworm Push-Ups involve walking your arms out in addition to the basic push-up which engages the shoulders and stretches out your hips, glutes, and quadriceps. How to do an inchworm push-up:

  • Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your legs straight and bend at your hips to place your hands on the ground
  • Walk your hands out in front of you until you reach the high-plank position
  • Complete a basic push-up
  • Keeping your legs as straight as possible, walk your hands back into a forward bent position, then return to the standing position

Spiderman Push-Up

The spiderman push-up is a variation of the basic push-up that engages your core and obliques. To perform a spiderman push-up:

  • Start in the high plank position like a basic push up and tighten your core
  • As you lower to the ground, lift your right foot off the ground and bend your right knee forward to reach your right elbow
  • Pause for a second with your chest just off the floor and your knee touching your elbow
  • Reverse the motion back to the high plank position
  • Repeat with the other leg

Squat

A bodyweight squat is a great lower body exercise that targets your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. It can be done virtually anywhere, with zero equipment. There are a number of squat variations that target slightly different muscles and have varying degrees of difficulty.

To perform a bodyweight squat:

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly out
  • Brace your core and place your hands behind your head, or straight out in front of you
  • Initiate the movement by first hinging at your hip, then bending the knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  • Pause for a moment at the bottom of the movement, then return to the starting position

There are a few things to watch out for when squatting to make sure you have proper form and lessen the chance of injury. First, keep your core tight for the entire movement to avoid putting any extra strain on your back. Second, prevent your heels from lifting off of the floor by balancing your weight on the back part of your foot. Finally, keep your knees from caving inward as you push back up, keep them aligned with your feet throughout the movement.

Squat Variations

Jump Squat

Not much of an explanation is needed for the jump squat. It is exactly the same as a regular squat, but instead of slowly returning to the starting position, you jump up explosively. As you land you return right back into the downward motion of the squat and repeat for as many reps as you can.


Sumo Squat

A sumo squat is similar to a regular squat but requires your feet to be farther apart, and toes pointed outward. The wide stance engages your inner thigh muscles, which a regular squat doesn’t target as much.

To perform a sumo squat:

  • Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, and feet pointed out
  • Engage your core, and clasp your hands together at your chest
  • Start to lower by hinging at the hip, then bending your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor
  • Keep your knees tracking directing over your feet, and your back straight as you lower
  • Pause at the bottom, then return to the starting position

Pistol Squat

This one is tough! There is no sugar coating it. It’s still a work in progress for me, but it’s on this list because it’s an incredibly challenging combination of strength, skill, balance, and mobility. 

To properly execute a pistol squat:

  • Stand tall with your feet together
  • Balance firmly on your right foot, and lift your left leg off the ground with your foot flexed and toes pointed up
  • Extend both arms in front of you at shoulder height, engage your core and look straight ahead
  • Bend your right knee and lower your hips all the down past parallel so your butt is just a couple of inches off of the floor
  • Your hands and left leg should be straight out in front of you, with your leg off the ground
  • Focus on keeping your core engaged and balanced, and return yourself to the starting position without letting your left foot touch the ground
  • Repeat movement balancing on the left leg
  • Brag to your friends 😉

This advanced exercise takes dedicated training, shown here, that explains the progression of exercises to finally master the pistol squat. Good luck!


Bear Crawl

The bear crawl is a great compound exercise that works your shoulders, legs, and everything in between. Although you don’t need equipment for the bear crawl, you do need a bit of flat floor space to work with.

Here’s how to bear crawl:

  • Start in the tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor, with your shoulders above your hands and hips above your knees.
  • Tighten your core and lift your knees approx 2-3 inches off of the floor
  • Crawl forward by moving your right hand and left foot in unison, followed by your left hand and right foot in unison

Common mistakes when performing the bear claw are lifting your hips too high off of the ground. The higher your hips, the easier the movement, and therefore less effective. Another common mistake is not maintaining a solid core and letting your back or head droop down. Your hips and shoulders should be in a straight line throughout the movement.

Burpee

The dreaded burpee. Just thinking about doing burpees tires me out. As much as I loathe doing them, I know they are worth the effort and a great way to build strength and endurance. Listed as ‘optional’ below, the push-up wasn’t a part of the original exercise invented in 1939. However, it has become a bit of a staple with burpees, and the way my coaches have always drilled it.

How to do a burpee:

  • Start standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Lower down into a fully squatted position and place your hands on the ground
  • Shift your weight into your hands as you jump your feet straight back into a high plank position
  • OPTIONAL – perform a basic push-up
  • Jump your feet back under your hips and return to the low squat position
  • Explosively jump straight up and extend your hands above your head
  • As you land, return back to the low squat position and repeat.

There are a couple of variations to make the burpee easier. First, you can skip the optional push-up. And second, you can step your feet back into the high plank position instead of jumping.

Triceps Dip

The triceps dip exercise targets the arms and shoulders and is an effective way to build strength and muscle. It can be done using a chair, bench, couch, or anything solid to support your weight without sliding out on you.

To perform the triceps dip:

  • Start seated on a chair, or whatever support you will be using
  • Grip the front edge of the chair and hover your butt just off and in front of the seat, with your knees bent and feet out in front of you and your arms straight. This is the starting position 
  • Bend at the elbows and lower your body towards the floor until your arms are at 90 degrees
  • Push through your palms and raise your body back to the starting position, that is one rep.

The farther your feet are away from you the harder the dip will be. To make it even harder, rest your heels on a second chair at the same height, and perform the dip the same.


Plank

The plank is a simple but effective exercise that mostly targets your core, but will also engage your arms and legs. They activate more muscles than crunches and are easier on your lower back. Including planks regularly in your routine can help improve your posture and flexibility.

To perform a plank, you:

  • Get into the start of the push-up position, or high plank. Keep your back straight and core tight
  • Hold this position for as long as you can

In a low plank, you maintain the same body position as a high plank but lower down onto your elbows instead of your hands.

Plank Variations

Side Plank

To perform a side plank:

  • Lay on your right side with your right forearm on the ground supporting your upper body. Your elbow should be in line with your shoulder
  • Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. You will be creating a triangle with your body and the floor.
  • You can stack your left foot on top of your right foot, or have the sides of both feet touching the ground.
  • Hold for as long as you can.

Bear Plank

A bear plank is similar to a high plank, but your knees will be bent instead of straight back. To perform a bear plank you:

  • Start in the tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips.
  • Tuck your toes to support the weight and lift your knees off the ground about 2 inches.
  • Maintain a tight core and straight back, and hold for as long as possible.

Wall Sit

While looking simple, the wall sit will absolutely torch your lower body. Rather than aiming for high reps, you aim to hold the wall sit for as long as you can handle. All of your leg muscles will be engaged, as well as your core. Keeping these muscles contracted for a long period will also burn calories.

To perform a wall sit:

  • Stand with your back leaning against a flat wall, and your feet should be shoulder width apart and out from the wall about 2 feet.
  • Slowly lower down the wall moving your feet out as necessary to get to a position where your thighs are parallel with the ground, and knees are bent and directly over top of your feet.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can

Step-Up

The bodyweight step-up is a lower body exercise mainly targeting your thighs and glutes. You will need to find something sturdy to step up on, like a chair, bench, or stairs. The height of the step will determine how hard the step-up will be. The step-up can also be a good cardio workout if you do them for a long enough duration.

To perform a Step-up:

  • Start standing, facing the step with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  • Place your entire right foot on the step and tighten your core
  • Drive through your right heel and lift your body up onto the step until your left foot is at the same level as your right foot, pause at the top
  • Slowly lower your left foot back to the ground, then your right foot so you’re back at the starting position
  • Repeat movement with the left foot first

Lunge

A lunge is a single-leg bodyweight exercise that works your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. Just your body weight is enough to build muscle, improve flexibility, and test your coordination and balance. The basic lunge can be done almost anywhere, if you have enough room to tie your shoes, you have enough room to crush some lunges.

To perform a basic lunge:

  • Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your core engaged
  • Take a big step forward with your right foot
  • Bend both knees and lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right shin is vertical. Try to keep your right knee directly over your right foot, and your left knee should be a couple of inches off of the floor
  • Drive through your right foot and push yourself back to the starting position
  • Repeat with left foot forward

There are a couple of things to watch out for when doing lunges to ensure proper form. You’ll want to take a big enough step that your front heel doesn’t lift off of the floor when you are in the lowered position. It’s also essential to keep your torso straight up and down and avoid leaning forward when lowered.

Lunge Variations

Lateral Lunge

The lateral lunge, or side lunge, targets the same muscles as a basic lunge but also incorporates the inner thigh muscles.

How to perform a lateral lunge:

  • Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  • Step your right foot out wide to the side while keeping your left foot flat on the ground
  • Bend your right knee to 90 degrees while keeping your left leg straight. Keep your hips back as your upper body hinges forward slightly, and your hands out in front of you for balance
  • Forcefully push off your right foot to return to the starting position
  • Repeat with left leg

Curtsy Lunge

The curtsy lunge is a lunge variation that targets your glutes, thighs, and hamstrings, and also hits the inner thighs and stabilizer muscles that a basic lunge does not.

How to perform a curtsy lunge:

  • Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  • Step your right foot back and to the left
  • Bend both of your knees until your left knee is at 90 degrees and keep it directly over your left foot. Your right knee will be crossed behind your left leg and a couple of inches off of the floor resembling a curtsy bow.
  • Drive upwards in a controlled manner and return to the starting point
  • Repeat with left leg

Calf Raise

Exercises don’t come much more straightforward than the calf raise. They can be done virtually anywhere as part of your workout routine or snuck in when you have a spare second waiting in line for coffee.

How to perform a calf raise:

  • Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  • Slowly raise your heels until you’re standing on your toes, and hold for 2 seconds
  • Slowly lower back to the floor

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a great way to target your entire body without needing any equipment. It essentially involves holding a plank while driving your knees forward. You get all the upper body benefits of a plank, with the added lower body burn.

How to perform Mountain Climbers

  • Start in the high plank position with your toes tucked, the balls of your feet touching the ground and your core muscles engaged
  • Drive your right knee forward towards your chest as far as you can, then step it back into the high plank position
  • Repeat, driving the left knee forward

Once you get a hang of the basic movement, it can be sped up into a cardio workout. When your right foot is returning to the high plank position, simultaneously your left knee is driving forward, resembling running on the spot from the high plank position.

What next?

Every workout should be paired with a stretching routine to help boost flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. It will also help with a reduction of soreness so you can get on with your day.

These bodyweight exercises are great for long days at the office because you can sneak them in between (or during!) Zoom meetings. Wall Sits, Squats, and Lunges are home office workout staples, and can help you stay active with even the busiest of schedules!