15 Work-Out-Anywhere Bodyweight Exercises
By Paige Kondrak, Fitness Specialist—Virtua William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness
With gyms and fitness centers closed and social distancing in effect, you may be looking for effective exercises that you can do at home. Bodyweight exercises, exercises that don’t require weights or machines, can be done anywhere and are some of the best exercises to keep you fit and healthy.
These also are fun for kids if you want to get your family involved. Do one to three sets, completing 10-15 reps per exercise.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and keep your feet on the floor.
- Place your hands on the ground with your palms facing downward.
- Lift your hips up and off the floor, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.
- Hold for 2-3 seconds and repeat.
Planks (regular plank, side plank)
- Press your hands flat on the floor, shoulders aligned directly above them, and keep your back and bottom in a flat position, as you press your belly button toward your back. Hold for 15 to 60 seconds, or as long as you can.
- For a side plank, lie on one side with your feet stacked. Press your bottom hand flat into the floor (or rest on your elbow), keeping it aligned with your shoulder, and press your body up, keeping it as straight as possible from your ankles through your shoulders.
- Start in a plank position – pressing your hands flat on the floor, shoulders aligned directly above them, and keeping your back and bottom in a flat position.
- Keeping your legs straight, raise your bottom until you’re in a pike position.
- Lift one hand, reach underneath and try to tap your opposite ankle.
- Come back to starting plank position and repeat with opposite hand and ankle.
- Start on your hands and knees or in a plank position, keeping your shoulders aligned directly above your hands.
- Push against the ground as you push your body up, keeping your back and bottom in a flat position.
- Lower and repeat.
- Run in place, keeping your knees high in front of you (not kicking your butt).
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your back pressed against the floor.
- Place your hands behind your head to support your neck or place them on your thighs.
- Keeping your chin in a neutral position, lift your shoulders up and off the floor, and crunch your body up, pressing your belly button toward the floor.
Lying Leg Lifts
- Lie on your back with your legs straight and flat against the ground.
- Place your hands on the ground with your palms facing downward or with your hands placed underneath lower back/bottom for support.
- Hinging at the hip, lift your feet up as high as you can, while keeping your back on the floor and legs straight.
- Lower back down to starting position, but don’t let feet touch floor.
- Stand and place your hands against a wall or stand with your hands on your hips.
- With your feet hip-width apart, raise up onto your toes. Hold for a few seconds or come right back down to the starting position and repeat.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- With your hands either on your hips or held comfortably in front of you, extend your hips back as you bend your knees (like you’re sitting in a chair).
- Make sure that your knees stay behind your toes, as you keep your chest lifted and your shoulders back.
- If you want to challenge yourself, you can add a jump as you return from the squat to standing.
- These are performed like bodyweight squats except you can place a chair behind you or use the sofa for support.
Lunges (forward, backward, and side)
- Start with your hands on your hips and your feet together.
- Step forward with one foot, making sure your knee stays behind your toes, as your other knee bends toward, but doesn’t touch, the floor; both knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your back straight so you aren’t hunched or bending over.
- These can also be done by stepping your foot back or stepping your foot to the side.
- Stand and press your back against the wall with your hands facing the wall.
- Walk your feet out a few inches from the wall.
- Keep your body flat against the wall as you slide your bottom down the wall until your knees are in a 90-degree position. Draw in your belly button and hold that position for 30 to 60 of seconds, or whatever amount of time you can hold it.
- Slide back up the wall and repeat.
- Lying on your back, lift your knees and feet off the floor until they’re at a 90-degree angle.
- While pressing your lower back against the floor, extend one leg out straight before returning to start position.
- For more of a challenge, you can extend one leg out and extend your opposite arm over your head.
- Repeat with the opposite leg (and arm).
- Starting in a plank position, bring one knee into your chest and then return to plank position.
- Repeat on other side.
- For a greater challenge, increase your speed.
- Lie on your stomach.
- With your hands extended out in front of you, simultaneously lift your arms and legs and hold that position for a few seconds.
- Return to starting position.
While we’re all making temporary sacrifices to protect each other and our community, we don’t have to sacrifice our fitness. There’s no better time to get active and break a sweat.
Updated March 31, 2020