The 30-Day Bodyweight Exercise Challenge

Improve your workout quality with these daily moves

Regular exercise is an important part of getting in shape and living a healthy lifestyle. However, finding the best exercises that work for your body and daily routine can feel overwhelming. This is especially true for novice exercisers, but it can also be a challenge for people who exercise several times per week. 

Although there’s a variety of workout programs available, building an exercise foundation through bodyweight exercises is a great place to start. It’s always a good idea to perform an exercise using the weight of your own body before progressing to more advanced levels.

Using Bodyweight

There are many workout programs—like TRX suspension training—that use bodyweight to build strength and stability, as well as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs that use bodyweight exercises in most routines.

According to an article published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), bodyweight exercises should be incorporated into an exercise program to address performance gaps, improve movement quality, and maintain/accelerate progress.

ACSM recommends building entire training days exclusively for bodyweight exercises. Some of the benefits include:

  • increased program adherence and convenience
  • improved movement quality
  • increased body exercise awareness
  • diversity of exercises
  • decreased exercise costs
  • increased exercise enjoyment and satisfaction
  • easier for exercising during travel or while working long hours

We created the following 30-Day Bodyweight Exercise Challenge to show you that starting with one new exercise daily is simple to learn, and can be easily modified to your fitness level. Let's get started!

Day 1: Squat

Squat
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Glutes, thighs, hips, quads, and hamstrings

Get Started: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, sit your butt back and keep bodyweight over heels, look straight ahead and avoid rounding your back. The body should not be shifted forward while the knees are over the toes.

Modification: Use a chair or flat bench for assistance or support. 

Day 2: Prisoner Squat Jumps

Prisoner Squat Jumps
Prisoner Squat Jumps. Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: This plyometric move builds strength, power, and stability in legs, glutes, and hips. Your core and back are also activated during the movement. 

Get Started: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, cradle hands behind head, look forward and keep your elbows and shoulders back. Squat back, keep your core engaged, and explode upward using your lower body, fully extending your ankles, feet, and hips in one movement. Land softly returning to starting squat position with weight distributed evenly between the heels.

Modification: Keep the jump less explosive, barely coming off the ground.

Day 3: Push-Up

woman doing basic push up
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Chest, arms, shoulders, core

Get Started: On the floor, place hands shoulder-width apart like a plank, keep your core engaged not allowing hips to sag, back straight, and head neutral. Bend elbows and lower your body to about a 45-degree angle. Push up to starting position. 

Modification: Perform exercise from the knees, using an exercise mat to support them.

Day 4: Mountain Climber

Mountain Climbers
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Core, quads, hamstrings, hips, chest, shoulders, arms

Get Started: For this full body exercise, start in plank position, back and body straight, core tight. Bring your right leg toward the chest and quickly switch, pulling left leg toward the chest like a plank running motion. Continue to switch back and forth, maintaining proper body mechanics.

Modification: Perform exercise at an incline instead of on the floor. Or, you can alternate a slow step back instead of running during the movement.

Day 5: Lunge

single forward lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Hips, glutes, hamstrings, quads, inner thigh, core

Get Started: Stand with feet hip-width apart and engage the core. Step forward with the right leg, weight landing on the heel first, lower body until right thigh is parallel to the floor. Knee will be at a 90-degree angle but not traveling over the toe. Maintain tight core and press back through the heel to return to start position. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: Eliminate forward motion and perform a stationary lunge. You may also consider holding a counter or chair for assistance.

Day 6: Split Lunge Jump

Plyo Lunges
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, core 

Get Started: For this plyometric move, start with one leg forward and one leg back. Engage your core, sit into a lunge position and with one explosive movement and jump up, switch legs, and maintain a balanced foot position. The forward knee should not travel beyond the toe. Continue alternating lunge jumps for a determined amount of time or reps.

Modification: Perform walking lunges or practice with small hops instead of explosive jumps.

Day 7: Around the World Lunge 

Around the World Lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, core

Get Started: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Engage your core, perform a lunge forward with your right leg, and push back to the starting position. Then lunge to the side (lateral) and sit your butt back, keeping the body upright. Look forward and push back to the start position. Finally, bring your foot backward into a reverse lunge, then push back to start position. Repeat the lunge series on the left leg to complete one repetition.

Modification: Remove any lunge(s) from the series or perform walking lunges.

Day 8: Plank

Plank Pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: All core muscles, hips, back, shoulders

Get Started: Start on hands and knees on an exercise mat. Lower your forearms to the floor, hands shoulder-width apart with palms down and elbows positioned under your shoulders. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle. Step feet back one at a time, balancing on the balls of your feet and your toes. Keep your core tight and body straight from head to toes. Hold the exercise for a determined amount of time. 

Modification: Perform the plank from your knees instead of toes. Hold exercise for a shorter period of time.

Day 9: Side Plank

Side plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Core, obliques (side abs), abductors (outer thigh/glutes), adductors (inner thigh) 

Get Started: Lie on your right side on an exercise mat with legs extended (right leg will be placed directly on left leg, feet stacked). Place right elbow directly under shoulder and keep your head and spine neutral. Your right hip and knee should remain in contact with the floor. Engage core and lift your hips and knees off the floor, straightening your arm. Hold this position for a determined amount of time. Repeat on the other side. You can also access this pose through plank position (see Day 8).

Modification: Perform exercise with slightly bent legs and not allowing knees to lift from the floor.

Day 10: Push-Up to Side Plank

Push-up to side plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Chest, back, arms, core

Get Started: Start in push-up position with your arms shoulder-width apart from the toes. Perform a push-up (see Day 3) keeping your body straight. As you push up, shift your weight to the left side of the body, keeping the core tight and reaching with the right hand toward the ceiling and briefly holding a side plank position. Lower the right arm back to start position and repeat the exercise alternating to the other side.

Modification: Perform exercises individually from knees using an exercise mat.

Day 11: Side Plank With Leg Lift

Side Plank Leg Lift
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Core, obliques, shoulders, back, hip abductors (outer thighs/glutes)

Get Started: For this full body toning move, start on your right side (use an exercise mat) and support the upper body on the forearm. Your elbow should be bent and positioned directly under the shoulder. Legs are extended straight with feet stacked. Keeping your body straight and core tight, lift your body off the floor, resting the left hand on hip or extended to the ceiling. Lift your left leg just above the hip keeping foot flexed. Slowly lower to the right leg. Perform exercise for a determined amount of reps. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: Perform exercise with bottom leg bent and knee remains on the floor (as pictured). Maintain hand on your hip.

Day 12: Squat Kick

Squat kick
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings

Get Started: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your hands in a fist (boxing position to protect your face). Squat back with your weight resting on heels, lift your right knee and kick forward driving through the heel. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This exercise can be maintained on one side for a determined amount before switching to the other side. 

Modification: Perform front kicks without a squat.

Day 13: Plyo Jack

Plyo jacks
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Hip abductors (outer thigh), hip adductors (inner thigh), glutes, shoulders, core, calves

Get Started: Stand with feet hip-distance apart and push butt back slightly. Bend at knees, preparing your body to explode off the ground extending legs to the sides with arms up overhead and returning to start position in one motion. 

Modification: Perform without extending arms overhead. 

Day 14: Bent Over Leg Lift

Bent over Leg Lifts
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Glutes, hips, thighs, core

Get Started: Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, bend over slightly, keep core tight and back straight, place hands behind your back, bear your weight on the right leg, and extend left leg to the side resting on the toe. Sit back in a slight squat, lifting left leg to the side with a flexed foot in one motion. Lower left leg back to resting position. Perform the exercise for a determined amount of reps. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: Perform exercise using a chair or counter for an assisted spot.

Day 15: Abdominal Crunch

Abdominal crunch
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: The pair of ab muscles in front/sides of the body—your six-pack (rectus abdominis)

Get Started: Start on the floor, lie on your back, knees bent, and envision your navel sucked toward your spine. Place your hands gently cradled behind the head or crossed over your chest. Avoid pulling on your neck to take your chin toward chest. With eyes focused on the ceiling, tighten your core, and lift shoulder blades off the floor a few inches, exhaling as you lift. Return to start position and repeat for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Maintain one or both hands behind head if neck feels strained.

Day 16: Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunches
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Obliques (side abs) and rectus abdominis 

Get Started: Starting on the floor, lie on your back on an exercise mat with your low back pressed into the floor, legs extended with slightly bent knees, and head and shoulders raised a few inches off the floor. Place hands lightly on sides of your head. Avoid pulling on head and neck. Tighten your core, bring one knee toward the chest and opposite elbow, twisting the body through the core in one motion. (You don’t have to touch the elbow.) Lower the leg and arm at the same time and repeat this motion on the other side. Perform exercise for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Change the knee angle using a more bent knee for less range of motion.

Day 17: Crab Crawl

Crab crawl
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Triceps, shoulders, core, back, hamstrings, quads 

Get Started: For this full-body move, sit on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, palms behind you on the floor with fingers tips facing your body just behind hips. Tighten your core and lift your butt off the floor. Using your right hand and left foot, take a step forward. Repeat this action on the other side. Continue exercise for a determined amount of steps or for time.

Modification: Perform an isometric crab hold (without movement). Point fingertips away from the body if wrists hurt during the exercise.

Day 18: Burpee

Burpees
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: This full body move works the arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Get Started: Start in standing position, feet shoulder-width apart. Tighten your core, move into a deep squat position with hands on the ground. Jump feet backward holding a plank position, then jump feet forward returning to squat position. From there, you'll jump upward extending through ankles, knees, and hips, and land back in squat position. Repeat move for a determined amount of reps or for time.

Modification: Advanced exercise adds a push-up after jumping back into a plank. Beginning exercise uses an incline (bench/chair) instead of the floor and/or removing the jumping portion of the exercise.

Day 19: Long Jump

Long Jump
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Core, hips, quads, glutes, back, shoulders, arms

Get Started: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and in a partial squat position. Engage your core and using a big arm swing, jump forward as far as you can. Repeat for a determined amount of reps. Measure the jump for progress.

Modification: Perform exercise on soft turf to reduce impact. Reduce the range of motion using a double-footed hop forward instead of explosive jump forward.

Day 20: Long Arm Crunch

Long Arm Crunch
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Rectus abdominis (six-pack), deep abs, lower back extensors, obliques (side abs)

Get Started: Start on the floor using an exercise mat. Lie on your back, knees bent, with feet remaining flat on the floor. Extend arms overhead, with palms facing the ceiling one over the other. Tighten your core and curl up without using your head or neck. Exhale as you bring your body upward, keeping arms extended and until lower back is barely lifted off the floor. Slowly return to start position. Repeat exercise for a determined amount of reps. 

Modification: Perform a basic crunch supporting your head if the neck feels aggravated during movement.

Day 21: Lower Ab Leg Raise

Low ab leg raise
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Hip flexors, rectus abdominis, obliques

Get Started: Start on the floor using exercise mat and lie on your back keeping low back pressed into the floor. Place hands at your sides or under your butt for support. Start with legs lifted to the ceiling, tighten core, and slowly lower legs to the floor or your comfort level. Keep core engaged and lift legs back up toward the ceiling. Repeat move for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Avoid lowering legs all the way to the floor if it causes back discomfort. Keep the range of motion smaller and at your comfort level.

Day 22: Oblique One Arm Sweep

Oblique One Arm Sweep
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Core, obliques, rectus abdominis, hip flexors

Get Started: Sit on the floor using an exercise mat, with legs extended in front of you, bent knees, and resting on heels. Tighten your core, maintain a neutral spine, lean back, and sweep the right arm behind you twisting at the core in one motion. Return to start position and repeat on the other side. Perform the exercise on one side or alternate sides for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Perform the exercise without twisting. 

Day 23: Pulsing Deltoid Fly

Pulsing Rear Delt Flies
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Upper back, shoulders, core, abs, hips

Get Started: Stand with legs hip-width apart. Bend your torso forward and maintain a tight core and straight back. Bend knees slightly, extend arms fully to the side at shoulder level with thumbs facing the ceiling. Lift and lower the arms slightly in a pulsing motion. Repeat exercise for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Perform standing shoulder pulses if you feel back discomfort. 

Day 24: Single Arm Triceps Push-Up

single arm tricep push-up
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Triceps, shoulders, arms

Get Started: Lie on your right side using an exercise mat. Slight bend at the knees with legs stacked, bend your left elbow and place left palm on the floor in front of your right shoulder. Hug the waist with the right arm. Tighten your core and straighten your left arm lifting the torso. Your hips and legs will remain on the floor. Lower your torso back down and repeat the exercise for a determined amount of reps. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: Perform lying triceps extension and build up to the single-arm triceps push-up.

Day 25: Speed Skaters

Speed skaters
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Quads, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, core, abs

Get Started: Start in standing position feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big side step to the right, sweep your left leg behind you, and swing left arm across your body. Alternate this move with a big step left, and sweep right leg behind you, swinging right arm across your body. Alternate the skating move side to side for a determined amount of reps or for time.

Modification: Advance the move by adding a hop instead of a step and quicken the pace. Beginning skaters maintain a step touchback and can keep the step range smaller.

Day 26: Walking Lunge

walking lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Hips, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, core

Get Started: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on hips. Tighten your core and step forward with the right leg, weight over the right heel upon landing. Maintain left foot on the ball. Lower your hips until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle (knee doesn’t have to touch the ground). Maintain good posture and look forward. Your right knee should not travel over the toe. Raise your body and step forward with the left or back leg to start position. Step forward with the left leg and repeat lunge directions. Continue the walking lunge for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Perform lunge without walking until stability improves (as demonstrated).

Day 27: Front Kick Lunge

Front kick with lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calves, core

Get Started: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Tighten the core, maintain a neutral spine, and look straight ahead. Step back with the right leg into a lunge position, push off the ball of the foot, extend and launch right leg into a front kick. Return the right leg to start position and repeat on the other side. Perform exercise for a determined number of reps.

Modification: Perform front kicks without lunge.

Day 28: Triceps Dip

Tricep Dips
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Triceps, shoulders

Get Started: Sit on the edge of a stable chair and place your hands shoulder-width apart. Slide your butt just off the chair, keep arms straight with a slight bend in elbows, extend legs, and rest feet on heels. Maintain a tight core, keep body close to the chair, look straight ahead, and lower your body toward the floor bending elbows to about 90 degrees. Press down into the chair, extend elbows, and raise your body up to start position. Perform exercise for a determined number of reps.

Modification: Perform exercise with bent knees. Another option is performing exercise on the floor.

Day 29: Roll-Up Burpee

Roll Ups with Burpees
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: This is definitely a full-body move, focused on the quads, abs, calves, chest, forearms, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, back, shoulders, and triceps.

Get Started: Start in standing position feet shoulder-width apart on an exercise mat. Squat back and place hands on the floor. Tighten core and roll body back, chin tucked, knees toward your chest, and hands palms down at your sides. Rolling forward with momentum, bring your hands to the floor in a low squat, and jump feet back into plank position. Jump feet forward to start squat position and explode upward with a jump. Perform the exercise for a determined amount of reps or for time.

Modification: Perform exercise slower walking feet back into and from plank instead of jump. An additional option is to eliminate the jump at the end of the move.

Day 30: Pyramid Plank

Pyramid Plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Core, back, shoulders, hips

Get Started: Start in plank position on forearms using an exercise mat. Maintain a tight core and begin pressing your hips toward the ceiling, remaining on forearms, and gently pressing heels toward the floor (think upside down "V" shape). Hold the position briefly, lower hips returning to plank position, and push up onto your hands. Move your body into a downward dog yoga pose (hips raised again toward the ceiling) maintaining a tight core and straight back. Stretch heels and chest toward the floor simultaneously. Slowly return to plank position on forearms. Repeat exercise for a determined amount of reps.

Modification: Perform exercise from the knees.

A Word From Verywell

Bodyweight exercises are recommended to build a strong base for proper body movement during workouts. Routines dedicated to this type of training program address performance gaps, improve movement quality, and maintain/accelerate progress.

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other exercise program to determine if it is right for you.

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