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.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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

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