Best Exercises To Work Out With No Equipment
You don’t have to go to the gym to meet your workout goals for the week. In fact, you don’t even have to invest in home gym equipment! You can exercise without equipment to keep moving towards your strength and fitness goals.
To help you to squeeze in a quick no equipment workout anywhere, anytime, here are some no equipment exercises to get you started — all you need is yourself and some determination.
- How to do a workout with no equipment
- Exercises you can do with no equipment
- Can I get strong without gym equipment?
How to do a workout with no equipment
A workout without gym equipment can still challenge you! Before you start, you’ll still need a proper warm-up to prepare your body for your workout.
Here’s how to do it:
- Get some comfortable clothing on — make sure you’ll be able to move easily.
- Make a space — you don’t need a large space, just clear an area about the size of a yoga mat.
- Grab a water bottle — you’ll need a drink at the end, because you’re gonna get sweaty!
- Warm up using dynamic movements.
- Do these no-equipment exercises!
Exercises you can do at home without equipment
Resistance exercises that you can do with no equipment can include a combination of isotonic and isometric exercises as well as more explosive/plyometric movements to add intensity.
During an isometric exercise you hold a static position — the muscle fibres are held at the same length. An example of an isometric exercise is holding the plank position, or doing a wall sit.
Isotonic exercises are where the tension on the muscles remains constant throughout the movement, as the muscle changes length. Many of the exercises in a strength workout — and throughout your daily activities — are isotonic exercises. Think of walking up stairs, doing a squat, push-ups, or lifting a heavy object.
Here are some no equipment exercises you can use to build strength:
A push-up is a staple exercise for building strength in your core and arms. Here’s how to do it:
- Place both hands on the mat slightly further than shoulder-width apart, feet together on the mat behind you while resting on the balls of your feet. Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. This is your starting position.
- Inhale. While maintaining a neutral spine, bend your elbows and lower your torso towards the mat until your arms form two 90-degree angles.
- Exhale. Push through your chest and extend your elbows to lift your body back into the starting position. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.
Make this exercise easier by using your knees instead of your toes, or make it harder by doing a pop push-up.
Bulgarian split squat
This exercise requires you to elevate one leg using a chair, bench or step. You can do it in a park or at home using whatever surface is handy. A Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral exercise that targets the glutes, and it’s great for building strength and stability.
Here’s how to do it:
- Position a bench, chair or step horizontally behind you.
- Plant both feet on the floor shoulder width apart. Carefully step your right foot backwards, allowing the ball of your foot to rest on top of the bench. Carefully shuffle your left foot forward, if needed.
- Bend both knees to approximately 90 degrees. This is called a lunge position. Your front knee should be aligned with your ankle and your back knee should be hovering just off of the floor.
- Push through the heel of your left foot and toe of your right foot to extend both legs.
- Complete an equal number of repetitions on each side.
You can make it harder by adding a pulse at the bottom of each squat.
Tricep dips strengthen your arms — you can include them as part of a bodyweight arm workout for a stronger upper body.
Here’s how to do them:
- Lift your glutes forwards off the chair. This is your starting position.
- Inhale. Bend your elbows to lower your glutes towards the mat, ensuring that your shoulders, elbows and wrists remain in line with one another.
- Exhale. Once you have created two 90-degree angles with your arms, push through the heels of your hands and extend your arms to return to the starting position. Avoid using your legs to assist you and always try to maintain an upright position.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat, ensuring that they are hip-width apart and your spine is in a neutral position. Allow your arms to rest by your sides on the mat. This is your starting position.
- Inhale. Exhale, gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. Press your heels into the mat, activate your glutes and raise your pelvis off the floor until your body forms one straight line from chin to knee, resting on your shoulders.
- Inhale. Lower your pelvis to return to the starting position.
Make it harder by raising one foot for a single-leg glute bridge.
This core exercise strengthens your obliques, abs and lower back — it might look complex, but give it a shot!
Here’s how to do it:
- Starting on all fours on a yoga mat, ensure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are below your shoulders. Set your spine in a neutral position and draw your shoulder blades down and back. Press into the floor with your hands and toes to slightly elevate your knees so that they are hovering just off the floor. This is your starting position.
- Inhale. Exhale. Release your right foot and left hand, pivoting on your left foot to open up your hips. Tuck your right knee across and into your torso to lower your right hip and rotate your torso to the left. At the same time raise your left arm directly above your head. As you reach the end of your rotation extend your right leg. Your torso and right leg should be pointing 90 degrees to the left of the starting position.
- Inhale. Press into the floor with your right hand to stay elevated. Bend your right knee and raise your right hip to rotate your torso back to neutral, at the same time, lower your left arm to the floor to return to the starting position.
- Inhale. Exhale. Release your left foot and right hand, pivoting on your right foot to open up your hips. Tuck your left knee across and into your torso to lower your left hip and rotate your torso to the right. At the same time raise your right arm directly above your head. As you reach the end of your rotation extend your left leg.* *If done correctly your torso and left leg should be pointing 90 degrees to the right of the starting position.
- Inhale. Press into the floor with your left hand to stay elevated. Bend your left knee and raise your left hip to rotate your torso back to neutral, at the same time, lower your right arm to the floor to return to the starting position. Continue alternating between left and right.
This high-intensity, full-body exercise is great for getting your heart-rate up. You can use it to add at-home cardio into your workout.
Here’s how to do it:
- Plant both feet on the mat shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
- Bend at both the hips and knees to place your hands on the mat on either side of your feet, ensuring that your spine remains in a neutral position.
- Inhale. Jump both of your feet backwards so that your legs are completely extended behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in one straight line from your head to your heels.
- Jump both of your feet forwards in between your hands, once again, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart.
- Exhale. Propel your body upwards into the air. Extend your legs below you and your arms above your head.
- Inhale. Land in the starting position, ensuring that you maintain ‘soft’ knees to prevent injury.
You can make it easier by stepping instead of jumping, or make it harder by adding in a push-up.
This exercise helps to build core strength and can also get your heart rate up. Here’s how to do it:
- feet together behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Gently draw your ribs to your hips to engage your core. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee and bring it in towards your chest.
- Extend your right leg to return to the starting position.
- Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend your left knee and bring it in towards your chest.
- Extend your left leg to return to the starting position.
- Continue alternating between right and left.
Make it harder by adding in a push-up or use a variation like X-mountain climbers to target your obliques.
Planks can help you to build core strength — this static exercise can be challenging, so you might start on your knees, and progress to your toes as you get stronger. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by placing your forearms (wrist to elbow) firmly on the mat, ensuring that your elbows are directly below your shoulders.
- Extend both legs behind you and elevate your hips off the mat, resting on the balls of your feet. Brace your abdominals and ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position.
- Hold this position for the specified amount of time, breathing deeply throughout.
This exercise promotes hip stability and strengthens your lower body. Here’s how to do it:
- Plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Gently draw your pubic bone to your belly button (engage pelvic floor). This is your starting position.
- Inhale. Carefully take a big step backwards with your left foot, placing it behind and outside the line of your right leg. As you plant your left foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90-degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. When done correctly, your front knee will be aligned with your ankle and your back knee will be hovering just off the floor.
- Exhale and extend both knees, transferring your weight completely onto your right foot. Step your left foot forward to return to the starting position. You should feel tension in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes throughout this movement.
- Alternate between sides.
Can I get strong without gym equipment?
You don’t need gym machines to build muscle, strength and total body fitness. Using just bodyweight exercises, you can strengthen your core, arms, legs and back.
While gym equipment is a tool that can help you to progress your strength and fitness, no-equipment exercises can make up a challenging resistace workout.
The principles of training apply to any workout you do — whether you train using gym equipment or do bodyweight exercises. By understanding the principles of training, you can adjust the exercise you do to help you to achieve your training goals.
The advantage of following a workout program created by a personal trainer is that it follows an evidence-based structure, with exercises set out to gradually progress your strength.
Train anywhere and reach your fitness goals with no equipment
There are lots of ways to reach your health and fitness goals without the need for equipment. This means that all you need for a solid leg day are bodyweight leg exercises — and you can fit them in when it suits you!
Working out should be simple, and it should also be something that fits into your lifestyle. That’s something the SWEAT Community is passionate about!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.