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Bodyweight Exercises: Workouts For People With No Equipment

Today we’re learning about bodyweight exercises.  They are perfect workouts for people with no equipment and little time.  Our fitness series is in full force as last week we learned At Home Workouts For People With No Time and today we’re working off those tips with body weight excercises for at home workouts.

Between all the stuff we have (hey that antique piano on Craigslist was free!) and all the stuff we need to get (If I don’t buy food my kids get all whiny and stuff), buying exercise equipment can seem like one more unnecessary and expensive space hog. But I have good news for treadmills-in-use-as-coat-racks everywhere: You don’t need any equipment to get a great workout. All you need is your own body and a little creativity, no Shakeweight required.

Bodyweight Exercises

Tricep push-ups are done with your elbows right next to your rib cage (no, I don’t have oddly deformed arms). They hurt!

1. Use what your mama gave you. Bodyweight exercises are used by everyone from MMA fighters to the military to prisoners and they go far beyond the standard push-up. Sit-ups, jumping jacks, squats, mountain climbers, crab walks, high knees and burpees (which very well might make you burp up breakfast) are just the tip of the iceberg. And don’t forget how fun dancing is – turn up your favorite tunes and go crazy!

Multitasking – doing a wall sit and finding a recipe for dinner!

2. Take advantage of your environment. Got stairs? Run them or jump them. Trying standing at the bottom and jumping up, adding an additional stair each time until you’ve reached your max. Use a wall for wall-sits, wall push-ups and donkey kicks. Use a parking lot by picking a distant stall and zig-zagging or hopping between each line on your way in. (If people ask, tell them you’re practicing the duck-n-cover for your FBI final.) A playground is the perfect place for all kinds of exercises – check back in two weeks for my post Workouts for People With No Childcare for more on this!

Funny faces are optional but I find they help.

3. Commandeer some furniture. Your cat does not need all the chairs in the house! Take two chairs and put a broom across them – make sure it’s stable! – and then use it to do a reverse push-up (see above). Use a low coffee table, piano bench or toy box to jump or step up on. Do tricep dips on the edge of a chair or couch. Use a stool to kick your leg over and back. And all “kids toys” are totally legal – don’t be afraid to grab a jump rope, hula hoop, hobby horse, pogo stick or Skip It (anyone else from the 90’s remember those?). Just ask the child first before you take it. We’re good sharers, remember?

Do you have a favorite workout move that needs no equipment? Join me next Wednesday for more Workouts for People With No Money [F-r-e-e-!]

More Fitness Tips:

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is a mom of 5, the author of The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the site The Great Fitness Experiment. She also writes for Redbook, Shape, Men’s Fitness, iVillage, BlogHer, and the Huffington Post among other places.


  1. Tsuki aka LittleGrayFox

    My trainer makes me do wall squats and mountain climbers all the time!

    another one for shoulders is doing a jumping jack — minus the jump– 100 reps at a time! And it doesn’t count if you don’t clap. those kill after a few sets!

  2. Excellent post. We all need more tips and encouragement to exercise and build good health. I know I do. Thank you for these great tips.


  3. Wow thank you for this one! Since i really have a very very busy schedule, i have no more time to go to the gym or to the mall and buy equipments to help me lose weight. These are really good tips of exercises to follow and am pretty sure this would be fun. I would also show this to my cousin since she does not have the time too to go at the gym. She badly needs to read this one! Great post by the way!

  4. I do floor exercises that mimic different styles of kicks that swimmers use. Good for the thighs.

  5. Great article. I love home workouts and my to fav exercises at the moment are push ups and dips using two chairs to put your hands on/.

  6. these look great! I never thought of using two chairs for the reverse pushup! gotta go try that now! we have our kids do a few burpees whenever they act ugly. It keeps them in shape, and you don’t have to spank/ground them all the time.

  7. creative gift idea

    Body weight exercises are fantastic. My brother is an electrician and spends much of his day supporting his body weight with his arms and legs etc. (e.g. by laying cables in tight spaces). He has a great physique. With me on the other hand… you have to be the incredible hulk to lift my body weight!

  8. Great post! I’ve been using a bunch of body weight exercises with my clients the last couple weeks. They can really work every part of your body!

  9. Fantastic article. I guess, a lot of folks hide behind the excuse “if only I had the necessary equipment …” or “if only I had the time to go to Gym”.

    Your article clearly shows that with some determination and a little bit of creativity, it is possible to do a lot even with no equipment.

  10. Hi Charlotte!

    Yeap, I also use bodyweight exercises when I travel and don’t have time to go through my usual gym routine. I must admit though that I do just the same set of very basic ones. You inspired me to experiment a bit and try to use the environment to come up with some more ways to challenge my body 😉

  11. I’ve been using a bunch of body weight exercises with my clients the last couple weeks. such it’s really work . i have seen effect on my body

  12. Bodyweight exercises are great and I like doing them. I started with just basic things like push-ups and other workouts without equipment, but after a few months I went to a gym and it helped me a lot more so I would recommend that everyone uses gym equipment in a gym or just at home.

  13. wow its amazing becuase i have excercise with heavy machinery but this is not a bad idea. I will try it. Thanks

  14. home gym equipment

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