Are you too busy to get to the gym? Do you want to get a good workout but don’t want to have to put on your workout clothes, get in the car, and spend time in traffic to get it? No worries! You can get a great, full-body workout without leaving the house (or putting on pants!). Bodyweight exercises can get you in shape with no special equipment.

In fact, studies have shown that bodyweight exercises can be just as effective for building muscle as other types of resistance training. So whether you are looking to get fit in your living room or want to add some new exercises to your routine, we recommend giving these 5 bodyweight exercises a try. 

5 Strength-building bodyweight exercises you can do at home

1. Squats

When it comes to working your glutes and thighs, few exercises are more effective than the squat. There are also a number of different variations of squats that add difficulty, challenge specific muscle groups, or get your heart rate up. Below are 3 of our favorites.

Basic squats

Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend at the knees while pushing your hips out behind you, keeping your back straight and your weight in your heels. If you need to, you can extend your arms out in front of you for balance. Pause at the bottom and push back up to starting position.

Jump squats

Start the same way you would a basic squat, but only lower until your thighs are slightly higher than your knees. After pausing at the bottom, rather than pushing back up to a standing position, explode up into a jump, lowering into the next repetition as you land. For a slightly less challenging version, add a jump to every third squat.

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Sumo squats

Start standing with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and your legs turned out slightly from the hip so that your toes point out at an angle. Sit back and lower into a deep squat. Pause briefly at the bottom before pushing back up to starting position.

2. Planks

Planks are a simple yet powerful exercise for your entire core. The side plank variation also challenges arm and leg muscles for full-body strengthening.

Basic plank

Get into a pushup position with a neutral spine. Make sure your body forms a straight line and your butt isn’t popping up or your back isn’t arching. Squeeze your stomach muscles and hold for 60 seconds. Rest and repeat for 3 sets.

Side plank

Balance on your straightened right arm while pressing your hand into the mat. Extend your feet out to the side so that your body forms a straight line with your hips lifted off of the floor. You made need to place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance. Extend your left arm so that your body forms a “T.” Hold for 60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

3. V-sit

Another powerful abdominal exercise is the v-sit.

Start lying don on your back with your arms and legs outstretched. Engage your abs and simultaneously lift your legs and torso so that your body forms a sitting “V” and you can touch your shins or feet. Hold for 10 seconds before reversing the movement to lower back down. Repeat 5 times.

4. Push-ups

Pushups are a popular classic and for good reason. They’re an efficient way to work your arms, chest, and shoulders.

Begin facing down on your mat balanced on your hands and toes with your arms and body fully extended. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your hands in line with your shoulders but slightly wider. Bend at the elbows and lower your chest toward the ground, then push back up to starting position. For the most effective muscle building, do few reps very slowly.

5. Burpees

Burpees are an awesome full-body workout that challenges multiple muscle groups, get your heart rate up, and burn calories.

Start with your feet shoulder width apart and lower into a basic squat. When you reach the bottom of the squat, place your hands on the floor and kick your legs out into a push-up position. Do one pushup and jump your legs back into a squat position. Drive through your heels into a jump just like you would in a jump squat. Repeat several times or until you can’t do any more.

Putting these exercises together

A great way to combine these 5 exercises into a complete workout is to create a circuit training plan, for example:

  • 4 sets of 10 reps of pushups
  • 3 sets of 10 reps of burpees
  • 60 seconds of basic planks
  • 4 sets of 10 reps of basic squats
  • 2 sets of 5 reps of v sits
  • 3 sets of 10 reps of jump squats
  • 30 seconds of side planks on each side
  • 4 sets of 10 reps of sumo squats

One circuit of these 5 exercises and their variations will give you an intense calorie-burning strength-building full-body workout. Just three days a week of bodyweight workouts like this one can significantly improve your strength and fitness and the best part is that you only have to roll off of the couch to get started!