10 Bodyweight Training Exercises You Can Try at Home

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You know you should exercise, but that gym membership you’ve been thinking about hasn’t yet materialized. Maybe you’re not quite ready to venture outside to run or walk in public. The good news? You can get a full-body workout in the comfort and privacy of home—and it won’t cost you a dime.
While many mistakenly assume that they need a full home gym with pricey equipment and tons of space to get a good workout, with bodyweight exercises, you can work all of the major muscle groups without a single piece of fitness gear. It’s a great way to ease into strength training if you’re still a little daunted by weights. Best of all, you can do them anywhere—from your living room floor or hotel room to your backyard or local park.
Ashley Stewart, a NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Kardiá Personal Training, loves these 10 effective moves that use your own body resistance to build strength, balance and flexibility, all while burning calories and raising your heart rate. All you need to get started is a mat or towel, some floor space and a motivating playlist to power you through to the end.

Superman Hold

Benefits: This movement works the entire back side of your body. The glutes are the primary muscle used, but the upper and lower back are involved as well, which helps build strength for lower-body pulling movements, like deadlifts.
  • Start by lying on your stomach.
  • Squeeze your glutes and pull your chest and legs off the ground.
  • Keep your arms out in front of you to engage your entire body.
  • Hold for anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes, two to three times. Increase time as you progress to build strength.

Split-Stance Deadlift

Benefits: This deadlift variation is a great way to work the "hinge" pattern, which teaches you to hinge at the hips versus squatting into a deadlift. It works the glutes, and is also a great way to mobilize the hamstrings. Since it is also a single-leg movement, muscular imbalances can be improved here as well.
  • Begin with one leg out in front of your body and your back leg trailing for balance.
  • Sending your hips back first, hinge at the hips and reach down to the ground.
  • Keep your core tight and back flat.
  • Squeeze your glutes (mainly in your lead leg) to stand up.
  • Repeat for 15 to 20 reps per leg, for two to three sets.


Plank Shoulder Taps

Benefits: This move promotes core stability and strength, and also works the glutes, triceps, deltoids and lower back.
  • Begin in a high plank.
  • Touch one hand to your opposite shoulder while balancing on your other hand.
  • Hold this position for one to three seconds, then return to start and repeat on your other side.
  • Keep the core and glutes tight throughout the movement. To make the movement easier, widen your feet.
  • Repeat 20 alternating reps for one to two sets.


Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Benefits: This movement works the glutes in a single-leg fashion, which helps even out muscular imbalances.
  • Begin by lying on your back with one leg up, and your opposite foot on the ground close to your body.
  • Push through the heel of your working leg while keeping the other straight. The goal is to get your hips up until they are in line with your knee and shoulder.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 12 to 15 reps per leg, for two to three sets.

Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat

Benefits: This movement helps to even out imbalances, but involves more muscles. The glutes and quads are targeted here, and the balance necessary to complete the movement helps ensure proper muscle engagement.
  • Begin with your back foot up on a bench or chair, with your lead leg positioned a few paces away from the bench. Find a setup that feels comfortable, not cramped.
  • Lower yourself to the ground as far as possible, dropping your back knee down toward your bench or chair.
  • Keep the knee of your working leg in line with your foot, and keep your chest up tall.
  • Press up through your front foot to return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  • Repeat for 12 to 15 reps per leg, for two to three sets.

Single-Leg Hip Thrusters

Benefits: A more advanced version of the single-leg glute bridge, this move targets the glutes as well, but allows for more range of motion and more muscle recruitment.
  • Rest your upper back on the edge of a bench.
  • Begin with your hips raised to find your ideal foot position. Send one leg straight out in front of you and plant the other firmly on the ground. The foot of your working leg should be directly beneath your knee.
  • Lower your hips as close to the ground as far as possible, keeping your non-working leg straight and in the air.
  • Push through the heel of your working leg and raise your hips until they are in line with your knee and shoulders.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Repeat for 12 to 15 reps per leg, for two to three sets.

Bench Dips

Benefits: This movement targets the triceps, and is good for building upper-body pushing strength.
  • Begin with your hands on the edge of a bench or box.
  • Keep your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Lower yourself as far as possible, keeping your body close to the bench. Ideally, your shoulders should be in line with elbows.
  • Press back up into your starting position.
  • Repeat for 15 to 20 reps for two to three sets.

Star Side Plank

Benefits: This is an advanced plank variation targeting the obliques and gluteus medius, two muscles that play a role in overall stability.
  • Begin by balancing on one hand and one foot in a traditional side plank.
  • Activating the muscles of your core, raise your top leg and top arm to form a star.
  • Squeeze your glutes and core to maintain balance in this position.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, two to three times.


Pike Push-Up

Benefits: This movement targets the shoulders and is a great way to build overhead pressing strength.
  • Begin in a pike position, with your hips as high as possible and your chin tucked.
  • Keeping your legs straight, lower your head and touch it to the ground slightly in front of your hands. Try to make a triangle between your two hands and the top of your head.
  • Press back up into your start position, bringing your head back through your arms.
  • Perform 10 to 20 reps, for two to three sets.

Bear Crawl

Benefits: This is a full-body movement. The core is heavily involved in keeping the body stable, while the quads and shoulders get a good burn as they support the body, as well.
  • Begin on your hands and feet, with your knees hovering one inch above the ground.
  • Crawl forward by shifting your right hand and left leg up. Follow with your left hand and right leg. Don't overthink the movement; the focus should be keeping your core tight and making deliberate, small movements forward.
  • Keep your core tight and hips level. Take small steps to avoid excessive hip swiveling.
  • Crawl up approximately 20 meters, then come back. Repeat two to three times.

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NANCYPAT1 1/30/2019
Great moves Report
NANCYPAT1 1/30/2019
Great moves Report
I always warm up before starting any exercise. Thanks, anyway! Report
great info Report
Love calisthenics Report
Thanks for the tips! Report
Some of my favorites! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
thanks Report
Great information Report
fantastic Report
Seem to have read on ACE somtime this month that Superman was hard on thr lower bsck. Thr others are ok movs and I do most of them while traveling. Report
thank you... Report
Great exercises, thanks. Report
Good ones! Report
Will add these. Report
Great! Thank you Report
Thank you Report
Don't wish it were easier. Wish you were better. - Jim Rohn ~ 3/8/18 Report
I do some of these in pumped. Just incorporating weights while doing them. Thanks for sharing. Report
Good article. Thanks! Report
Love these tried and true basics. Report
I do try to incorporate strength training moves after my cardio.. one day I will work my legs and lower body the next I will do arms and upper body. It’s nice to check out new exercises... thank you for posting new ideas :) Report
Some easy workouts to get you moving. Report
yes these are quite easy even with my disabilities thank you Report
Thank You for the exercise ideas. Report
Easy moves that work for me. Thanks for the ideas. Report
To answer your question, yes, I WOULD be willing to do body weight exercises. I appreciate the list and wrote them on a refreshing green index card to slip into my purse or hang on my cork board. Thank you! Report
Very excited to see the Exercise Library! I didn't know there was such a thing on SP! I will be using this on my off days from the gym! Report
Great exercise. Report
Great exercises Report
Good information!!! Thank you! Report
Did body weight training yesterdsy and reslly liked it. Report
Some were a wee bit difficult due to being an overweight beginner. They are good ones to follow at home. Great routine. Report
Thank you for the information. Report
Good suggestions Report
I ended my gym membership because (for me) it made working out feel like a chore or another thing I had to do. I started going for walks in the park and doing Yoga at home. I also use Youtube, it's a great resource with every kind of workout. Many of these suggestions are part of my workout and I have lost 25lbs since October! Report
Thanks for the practical exercises we can do at home or while traveling. Report
I do - I find it far easier to fit it in than machine or free weight workout Report
Several of these are in my PT plan for back pain. Need to get diligent when it comes to the daily PT. Report
Thanks so much. I can do a few on breaks between classes today Report
I try to work some if these into my day. I do step taps etc while waiting for the elevator, heel raises in the thing, and wall push ups against any sink, but it can be any day, and on workout day too. You can pick and choose a variety of stretches and isometric moves that are fairly discreet, but I prefer to be alone. Report
Body weight workouts are challenging and fun. Love to do them at least once a week. Report
Yes, definitely, as I have avoided gyms all my life and have no intention of going in one now!!!! Report
Yes! Thank you for the list. Report
Great addition to add to my running days! Thanks! Report
No gym for me! Love body weight workouts! I'm an outdoor enthusiast. I combine outdoor cardio with body weight exercises. I use what I find in nature - like a fallen log for tricep dips. I've even been known to combine dog training with body weight exercises - asking my dog to lie/stay while I hop side to side over her. Report
Now there is no excuse for me not to work out! :) Report
I've only recently been able to do planks. I have back problems and would love to see some of these moves in a modified position. Report