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5 Exercises You Can Do With No Equipment

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 6 8

Chiseled abs (17808)

Whether you're working on the perfect beach body, losing that holiday or baby weight, or just keeping up a healthy exercise program, staying in the groove can be challenging if you're busy with work or school. I know that when I'm on the road for business, stuck at home in a blizzard or off visiting relatives, my commitment to my routine can wane-and commitment is one of the two most important components to reaching your fitness goals.

It's easy to remedy this: a simple program of bodyweight exercises will help you maintain your fitness program and make it much easier to hit the gym again when you get back home. When you're busy at home with the kids, or working late at the office, a program that doesn't require equipment can also help you to take an exercise break. Combined on alternate days with a gym-based simple starter workout, you can really supercharge your metabolism.

The five best bodyweight exercises for burning fat and gaining muscle that I've found:


The good old-fashioned push-up is a versatile upper-body move:

  • The push-up your chest, arms and shoulders.
  • You can work muscles differently by moving your hands closer or wider apart, keeping your feet on the floor or raising them on a bed or chair, using a device like the Iron Gym to add range of motion, or trying one-arm or handstand pushups.
  • You must also engage your abs, helping to strengthen your core.

Proper push-up form:

  • Body straight, abs tight, and neck straight.
  • Begin with your arms fully extended, and lower yourself with your elbows close to your body.
  • If you're performing a strict push-up, go down until your nose touches the floor.
  • Slowly push yourself back up.

Walking Lunges

If you have no weights, the single best lower-body exercise you can do is the walking lunge:

  1. Start with your feet together, making sure you have a good unobstructed space in front of you.
  2. Step forward as far as you can with your right foot.
  3. With your weight on your right foot, lower your left knee until it just grazes the floor.
  4. Stand up and bring your left foot together with your right.
  5. Repeat, stepping forward with your left foot.

Important form note: keep your back straight and your hands at your sides at all times.

Try about 100 feet of walking lunges at first, then extend the distance as your fitness improves. You will feel it.

Bear Crawls

The bear crawl is a whole body movement, so simple in theory but challenging in practice:

  1. Get down on your hands and feet, with your butt in the air.
  2. Move your right hand and left leg forward.
  3. Move your left hand and right leg forward.

You'll probably notice at first that you're not used to synchronizing your hands and feet like that, but practice makes perfect. Crawl until it burns.


To target your core, forget sit-ups, which can injure you if not done correctly. Instead, use the plank. It's an isometric exercise that engages and strengthens your abs, back and stabilizer muscles:

  1. Lie face down on the floor, with your arms bent, palms down and your weight on your forearms.
  2. Raise your torso so that it's rigid and flat from your head to your feet, with your weight on your toes and forearms.
  3. Contract your abs and hold your position for 15-60 seconds.
  4. Lower your pelvis so you're again lying on the ground, rest for a moment, then repeat.
If it hurts to stay on your toes, or you're just beginning an exercise program, you may need to rest on your knees instead until you build your strength and endurance. Optionally you can try side planks as well.


I've saved the best for last. And by "best" I clearly mean "the one that hurts." The first time you do burpees, don't be surprised if you're gassed by 15-20 of them. If you remember the squat-thrust from high-school gym class, you have most of a burpee:

  1. Start in a squat position and place your hands on the ground in front of you.
  2. Thrust your legs out behind you, so that you end up in a push-up position.
  3. After you do a push-up, pull your legs back into a squat position.
  4. Now jump into the air, as explosively as possible, reaching for the sky.
  5. Land and assume the squat position for the next rep.

If you can only do one exercise, the burpee is it.

These five exercises will provide you with a rounded, challenging workout no matter what your fitness level. If you need some visual help, YouTube is an excellent resource. Add some resistance bands or an Iron Gym to work your back and you may not even need a gym membership.

Now crank your tunes and get started!



Jun 2, 2010 8:16pm
Nice job! A++!!
Jun 26, 2010 3:35pm
This was a great article and very informative. Some of these listed I didn't even know!
Jul 3, 2010 4:01am
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Jul 3, 2010 4:02am
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Jul 6, 2010 9:24am
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Jul 16, 2010 8:59am
Read your article found it most interesting and informative.

You are right about walking. I went around a stone over weight a few years back and when I started a new job I had to walk 3/4 mile from bus stop to work and again in the afernoon. I lost a stone in 3 weeks. It was truly amazing because I was not on any kind of diet. Know what I think I better get cracking again because the weight has crept up on me again, still I have an excuse I'm 60 next year!

For the younger person I think your advice is pretty good. There's nothing like looking and feeling good.

Aug 23, 2010 10:47pm
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Aug 23, 2010 10:49pm
well written article. No need to buy those high cost gym equipments.
Sep 17, 2010 11:31pm
Great first article! I've got to try your bear crawls - sounds good. Hope you'll keep writing and enjoying IB:)
Oct 1, 2010 7:17pm
Right on my friend!
Oct 12, 2010 4:06pm
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Nov 23, 2010 1:17pm
good Artical
Jan 20, 2011 1:43am
I really appreciated your article. As I have gotten older I have desperately wanted to get back into the shape I was at 25. But, I don't have much free time to travel to-and-from a gym and I am such cheapskate I don't want to buy an expensive program or equipment.

Your article is a great reminder of what we can do to help ourselves get in shape without a huge hassle over trendy programs or goofy late-night exercise products.

I especially like the Burpees, which I am still starting on, but only slowly so far!
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