For those of you who want to strengthen the arms, legs and butt whilst adding a toned and sculpted definition to the body without having to buy equipment, then these exercises will give you a great start.
These six movements focus on the upper and lower body working the major muscles, including the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdominals, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves. Some of the movements might surprise you as to how many muscles they work, such as the push up which targets the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, and even your legs and butt when doing a full push up, so you get a good all-rounder with this exercise. There’s no need to worry that you might be missing out when doing an equipment free workout at home, all you need is your enthusiastic self to get stuck in and give the exercises a go.
The key to bodyweight exercises is having confidence in your own strength and enjoying the way your body can move.
- Push Up – This is a fantastic exercise for any level of fitness as there are so many variations, such as push ups against a wall, push ups on the floor with bent knees, a full standard push up, incline push ups, one foot elevated push ups and wide hand position push ups. So many ways to build strength in the upper body! To do a standard push up: Position your hands shoulder-width apart and brace your core to keep your body in a straight line. Knees off the floor. Bend at the elbows until your chest touches the floor, and then quickly push back up to return to the starting position. Keep your elbows close to your body throughout.
- Triceps Dip – Technically a piece of equipment is required but this is something you can generally find at home or outside. Use a step, bench or sturdy chair. Sit on the floor with the step, chair or bench behind you. Keeping your knees slightly bent and heels on the ground, hold on to the edge of the elevated surface and press yourself up. Slowly lower yourself down by bending your elbows 90 degrees and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. For more intensity move the body a little further away from the bench/step/chair and straighten the legs.
- Plank Up and Down – Start in a plank position with your arms and legs straight. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders and your feet hips-width distance apart. Keep your torso parallel to the floor, and lower your right forearm to the mat and then the left, coming into a forearm plank. Then step your right hand back onto the mat, and then the left, pushing yourself back up to plank position. This completes one push-up walk. For the next one lower the left forearm first and so on.
- Squats – An effective exercise that has so many variations it will be one of your ultimate tools for an equipment free workout. There is the standard squat, sumo squat, single leg squat, squat pulses, chair squat, squat jump, squat tuck jumps and more! For the basic squat: Stand with the feet parallel or turned out slightly. Hold arms out in front, not on your knees. Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself down until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push your bottom backward, as if you were sitting on a chair. Keep your chest up and abs tight. Make sure the heels do not rise off the floor. Press through the heels to return to a standing position.
- Lunges – From forward to reverse to side to walking to curtsy to clock lunges, there are so many to add to a workout to work different areas of the legs and butt. To perform a standard lunge: Stand with the hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step your right leg forward and slowly lower the body until the left (back) knee is close to or touching the floor and bent at least 90 degrees. Step the right foot back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Glute Bridges – A great exercise to work the glutes which is all in the squeeze! Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands by your sides. Push through your heels and use your glutes to lift your hips as high as possible whilst squeezing the glute muscles. Keep your core tight. Pause at the top and slowly return to the starting position. For an advanced level you can perform this exercise with one foot on the ground and the other elevated.
For more no equipment movements check out the full body and core exercises too!
Which exercise do you love to do for your upper and lower body?