It can be so hard to find time to squeeze exercise into a busy day. But just because you don’t have time to go to the gym doesn’t mean you have to skip a workout altogether. There are plenty of exercises that you can do anywhere, using just the weight of your body, and they’re just as effective as using equipment at the gym.
“Bodyweight exercises are great to implement into your training routine for several reasons,” says personal trainer and fitness instructor Crystal Williams. “For those new to fitness, it’s great for strength training because the only weight you are bearing is your own. Also, there are plenty of cardio bodyweight movements you can do to get your heart rate up to torch calories—no gym, no problem!”
These six bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere. Try them at the office, at home, or, for some extra cardio, take a brisk walk around the neighborhood and pause along the way to do each of these moves.
You can do squats anywhere, but make sure you do this popular exercise correctly.
“To start, stand with feet hip-distance apart, hands behind the head with elbows out,” says fitness insructor Trish DaCosta. “Keeping the torso upright and weight in the heels, sit back until your knees reach parallel while pushing your knees out. Stand back up by pushing the ground away from you with your legs.”
Squats work your quads, hamstrings, and even your abdominals.
Done properly, a push-up is a full-body exercise. Instead of modifying by going down on your knees, you can prop your hands up on a high bench or step to do your push-up until you get strong enough.
“Bring the feet together and squeeze the thighs together like you’re trying to grip a pencil with your legs,” says DaCosta. “Squeeze your glutes, pull your belly toward your spine and get your shoulders right over your wrists. From there, lower down into your push-up, going as far down as you can while maintaining a rigid line with your body and without losing tension. Then, press away from the floor on the exhale.”
“Rather than head into straight walking lunges, which is what most people do, start with a stationary lunge,” says DaCosta. “Step forward with your hands at the hip or behind the head. Keep an upright torso as you lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree-angle. Lift the hips back up to bring the legs to straight.”
4. High Knees
The “high knees” exercise combines strength training and cardio, and it targets the quads, glutes, hamstrings and abdominals. “It involves a similar motion to running in place, except you are bringing the knees straight up to the chest while remaining upright,” says Williams.
Get into a regular plank, and then walk in and out of it using your hands. “This is a great exercise that can be used to warm up the entire body at the beginning of an exercise, or completed in fast reps for cardio purposes,” says Williams.
6. Frog Jumps
“Frog jumps are a great lower body condition exercise that teaches explosiveness and safe landing form,” says Lisa Reed, MS, CSCS, USAW. Position your feet three inches wider on each side than you would for a traditional squat. Hinge the hips to squat while keeping a neutral spine, place finger tips on the ground. Placing more emphasis on the heels, extend your hips out and jump up as high as possible with the with your arms extended over head. Softly land from the balls of your feet to your heels and repeat continuously.