If the idea of a home workout makes you yawn, think again!
When executed correctly, using just your body weight can give you a run for your money.
So, whether the gym isn’t your thing or you’re short on time, clear out a space in the living room and prepare to sweat.
Some bodyweight moves we’ve detailed below can be scaled for beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercisers, so start where you feel ready and progress from there.
Our 10 picks for beginner bodyweight exercises will provide a full-body workout.
Complete 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise, with 1 minute of rest between each move.
This circuit should take about 15 minutes — a great beginner routine.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out with your weight in your heels.
- Hinge your hips to sit your butt back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Drive through your heels to stand back up straight. Squeeze your butt and keep your core tight as you stand.
Perfect form is essential when doing a push-up. Start with a variation you can complete with good technique, such as dropping your knees to the floor. Progress to the next level when you can do 10 to 12 reps without dropping you back, stopping short, or shaking unsteadily.
Start in a high plank position. Bring your right foot forwards and place it outside your right foot, then step back and do the same on your left side.
This exercise mimics the motion climbers make as they climb steep peaks, except it’s done on the soft, flat surface of your floor. Mountain climbers are total body workouts, building strength in your core, back, arms and legs — not to mention your heart.
Modify it: If this exercise puts too much strain on your wrists, try elevating your upper body by placing your hands on a step to reduce the weight being placed on your arms.
Is there a simpler exercise to try than the plank? We don’t think so. Not only is it simple to do, however, but it’s also a fantastic core workout you can do at home. It may look simple and doesn’t require any equipment, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
Start in a push up position, on your toes, back and legs forming a straight line all the way to your shoulders. Engage your abs and your glutes and try holding this position – arms straight – for around 30 seconds. As you get stronger, try adding 10 seconds on to the time you hold the plank for each day.
In a high plank position, reach up with your left hand and tap your right shoulder, then use your right hand to tap your left shoulder.
Straight-leg donkey kick
Build those glutes with donkey kicks.
- Get on all fours, with your hands aligned with your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips.
- Keeping your back straight, push your right foot out to the imaginary wall behind you while keeping your leg straight.
- Your foot should remain flexed (toes pointing down to the floor) throughout. Take care to keep your hips square to the ground. Squeeze your buttocks at the top.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Repeat on the other leg.
How to do it: Grab the rope at both ends. Use your wrists to flick it round your body, jumping to clear the rope as it hits the ground. Make the move more intense with double unders – letting the rope pass round your twice for every jump
Why: The ultimate no-nonsense workout, jumping rope could be the most efficient form of cardio. A study that found just 10 minutes a day with the rope was similar to 30 minutes of jogging
Marching Glute Bridge
- Lie faceup on your mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the mat into a bridge.
- Keeping your right knee bent, lift your right foot off the floor. Try to keep your hips still.
- Hold for five seconds. Slowly lower your right foot to the ground but keep your hips lifted.
- Lift your left foot off the ground to repeat on the other side.
Spider-Man Mountain Climbers
- Start in a high plank.
- Drive your right knee out and up toward your right tricep. As you do, turn your head to watch your knee meet your arm.
- Alternate sides as fast as you can while still maintaining a sturdy plank and keeping your torso in place.
Banded Side Steps
To do the banded side step, step on the middle of the resistance band and grab one handle in each hand. The band should be looped under your feet. Now, step to the side with your right foot while keeping your left foot on the band.
Do five steps to the right and five steps to the left to complete a set. Rest and repeat for three to four more sets.
Step forwards with your right foot and lower until both knees are bent at 90°. Jump up and switch legs so you land in a lunge with your left foot forwards.
A full-body move that requires balance and stability, the Bird Dog pose is easily scalable to your ability level. Start with this version if you’re a beginner.
- Get on all fours, ensuring your hands are directly underneath your shoulders and your knees are underneath your hips.
- Keeping your neck neutral, simultaneously extend your left arm and right leg, keeping your hips square to the ground. Pause here for 2 seconds.
- Return to the start position. Repeat with your right arm and left leg.
How to do it: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position your legs shoulder width apart. Keeping your head up and back straight, sit back into the squat until the dumbbells are an inch from the floor. Focus on keeping your knees over your toes and chest out – don’t arch your back or lean forward as you drop down. Exhale, straighten your legs and return to the starting position.
Why: Squats are an excellent all-round exercise and one of the best moves for building overall strength. Dumbbells let you concentrate on technique and work on your range of movement at low weight. Only advance to barbell squats in the gym once you’ve got this nailed.
- Start on all fours.
- Pull your right knee toward your chest, keeping your foot flexed.
- Then, kick your right leg up behind you and toward the sky, then back down, keeping your knee bent and foot flexed.
- Repeat on the other side.
From standing, drop your hands to the floor then jump your feet back so you go into a high plank. Lower your chest to the ground, press back up and jump your feet forwards again so they’re next to your hands. Stand and jump straight up, raising your hands above your head.
Although you’ll work your core with almost all of these strength exercises, a targeted ab move doesn’t hurt.
- Lie on your back and bring your legs to a tabletop position. Bend your elbows, and put your hands behind your head.
- Crunch up and bring your right elbow to your left knee, straightening your right leg.
- Release the crunch slightly. Bend your right leg and straighten your left leg, then bring your left elbow to your right knee.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
How to do it: Stand holding a light dumbbell in each hand. Slowly lift the dumbbells out to the side until they reach shoulder height – no higher – and resist the urge to cheat by swinging the weight. Pause, then lower back to your sides, slowly – you’ll build more muscle fighting gravity than letting it do the work for you.
Why: If you’re doing exercise at home, this is the best move for visible shoulder development. The lateral raise isolates your medial deltoid, the middle of three shoulder muscles, helping to develop your shoulder width and mass. Perfect for creating the V-shape that you covet.
- Stand with your legs wider than hip-width apart, knees bent, and upper body hinged slightly forward.
- Place your hands on the ground in front of you, then jump your straight legs back into a high plank.
- Jump your feet to the outsides of your hands and bring your hands toward your chest to return to the starting position.
From your downward-facing dog position, lower your chest towards the floor, then push back up.
How to do it: Get into a traditional press-up position. Lower yourself toward the floor and bring your right knee to your right elbow, keeping it off the ground. Press back up and return your leg to the starting position. Repeat with the alternate leg.
Why: Perfect if you’re looking to get some mobility in before a workout or just want to switch up your chest routine, Spiderman press-ups are the perfect alternative if you’re looking to scale things up.
Lateral Plank Walks
Start in a high plank with your shoulders above your wrists and abs tight.
Step your right foot and right hand to the right, immediately following with your left foot and left hand. Take a few “steps” in one direction, then walk in the opposite direction.
Squat To Floor
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your knees and move your hips back to lower into a deep squat so your hands can touch the floor while keeping your chest up and forwards. Drive back up to standing.
How to do it: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand and, keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the weights until the dumbbells are at shoulder level. Focus on keeping your elbows still – only your lower arm should move. Squeeze your bicep at the top of the contraction then lower slowly and repeat.
Why: This is the perfect move for developing those mirror muscles you crave. By keeping your upper arm stationary you hit the whole bicep for maximum growth.
- Start in a high plank. Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor.
- Bring the other arm down so you are in a forearm plank.
- Push back up to the start position, placing each hand where your elbows were.
- Repeat this pattern, alternating which side you lower first with each rep.
Lie on your back with your legs extended and together. Simultaneously raise your shoulders and lift your legs, keeping them as straight as possible, so you form a V shape. If you find this too challenging, start by doing it one leg at a time for five reps each side.
How to do it: Lie on your left side with your legs straight and prop yourself onto your elbow. Brace your core and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line. Hold this position while breathing deeply. Roll over and repeat on the other side.
Why: Excellent for targeting a small muscle in your lower back, the quadratus lumborum. Strengthening it is crucial for spine health and will help you avoid the notorious beginner’s back pain. Diamond-cut obliques are a bonus.
Extended Leg Pulses
- Bring your right knee to your chest and extend the right leg to the ceiling. Keep your left leg extended and off the floor about 3 to 5 inches.
- Interlace your fingertips behind your right knee.
- Using your abs (not your hands), pulse your upper body up 3 to 5 inches. Make sure your low back stays planted firmly on the floor.
- Repeat on the other side.
Send the dumbbell between your legs by hingeing at the hips, then push your glutes forwards powerfully so you use hip drive to raise the dumbbell to shoulder height. Reverse the movement to the start and go straight into the next rep.
Dumbbell floor press
How to do it: Lie down on the floor with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend at the elbows and hold the weights above you. Press up and straighten your arms before pausing at the top of the rep and lowering slowly to the start position.
Why: By restricting your range of movement this moves helps you build a bigger chest, minus the risk of shoulder injury from over extension. Consider this your stepping stone to being a bench bro in the gym.
Single-Leg Reach and Jumps
- Stand with feet hip width apart, hands at your sides.
- Hinge at your hips and bend your knees to extend your left leg behind you (no higher than your hips) as you reach your left arm to ground about a foot ahead of where your left foot was.
- Drive your left knee up to return to an upright position, and hop on your right foot.
- Repeat on the other side.
Press-up renegade row
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, perform a press-up then at the top, row one dumbbell up to your side. Lower the weight, then row the other dumbbell up to complete one rep.
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands on either side of your head. Push your lower back into the floor as you lift your shoulders a few inches off the floor – make sure your lower back stays in contact with the ground at all times. Tense your abs hard at the top point of the movement, then return under control to the start position.
Why: The first port of call for any abs workout this is a must-do. By lifting your legs you place extra weight on the stomach muscles and reduce the momentum that could make this easier.
One-Legged Balance Taps
- Stand with your feet together, arms straight at your sides.
- Slowly hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat as you lift your right leg out straight behind you and reach your right arm down toward the floor.
- At the bottom of the movement, your torso and right leg should be almost parallel to the floor.
- Keeping your core tight, stand up straight, keeping the right leg straight (and keeping the weight in your left foot).
- Repeat on the other side.
Kneel with the dumbbells below your shoulders. Roll the weights forwards as far as you can, using your abs to control the movement, then return to the start.
Lower back curl
How to do it: Lie down flat with your arms by your sides. Slowly raise your chest upwards, with your arms down. Keep your head up during the move. Once you’ve reached the furthest point up, lower yourself back down.
Why: People often forget the importance of back workouts, but they’re vital to develop all other muscle groups. This curl is great as it works the whole back and also alleviates back pain from days at the desk.
Single-Leg Walkout to Push-Ups
- Start with your feet hip-width apart, hands at sides. Lift your left leg slightly off the ground.
- Bend at your hips to reach hands to floor and crawl out to a high plank, keeping your left leg hovering off the ground.
- With shoulders over wrists and abs engaged, do a push-up.
- Crawl your hands back to your feet and stand.
- Repeat on the other side.
Stand on one leg with the dumbbells by your sides. Keeping your chest up, bend at the hips and knees to lower into a single-leg squat. Press back up to the start. Complete all the reps on that leg, then switch to the other leg.
How: Get in a press-up position and place your hands together so your index fingers and thumbs form a diamond. Keep your back straight as you lower until your chest almost touches the floor then push back up to the start position.
Why: If standard press-ups are feeling too easy, try this. It’ll smoke your triceps and chest and challenge your form. A tip: Keep your core locked to avoid sagging at the hips and putting stress on the lower back.
Side Plank Rotation With Kicks
- Start in a high plank with your shoulders over wrists, abs engaged, and glutes tight.
- Lift your left foot and kick it under your torso toward the right side of your body. At the same time, reach your right hand to touch your left foot, balancing on your left arm and right leg.
- Repeat on the other side.