8 Quick and Challenging Bodyweight Exercises

Whether you're on the road or at home, you can do this full-body strength training workout anytime, anywhere, because no weights are required. It works all your muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, arms, abs and lower body, and you can modify each exercise to change the intensity. 

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions. Modify the exercises as needed to fit your fitness level and goals. You will need a chair, a bed, or a bench (but no weights, resistance bands, or other equipment).


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Perform this workout two or three nonconsecutive days a week. Make sure to warm up with five or 10 minutes of light cardio and end your workout with a stretch.

The workout is designed to be done circuit style: Perform each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, then move quickly to the next one with very little rest in between. Repeat the circuit up to three times, depending on your schedule, fitness level, and goals.


Walking Push-Ups

Woman performing push-up with fitness coach
Stephen Simpson / Getty Images

Begin in a plank position on the toes with the left hand on a marker of some kind (a piece of paper, a sock, etc.). Lower into a low push-up position with elbows bent. As you press up, walk the hands to the left until the right hand is on the marker. Continue to alternate walking the hands to either side as you do your 30- to 60-second push-up session.

To modify: Do the push-ups on your knees to make this exercise easier. To increase intensity, move the push-ups around in a circle (like a clock).



Woman doing squats on a road at sunset.
skynesher / Getty Images

Begin with feet hip-width apart and take the arms straight up overhead. Bend the knees and lower into a squat, going as low as you can while forcefully pulling the arms down. Repeat, moving as quickly as you can and going as low as you can.

To modify: Slow down or don't go as low (easier). Lift up onto your toes or jump as you stand up (harder).


Around the World Lunge/Squats

Black woman in forward lunge position
AzmanJaka / Getty Images

Step forward with the left foot and lower into a lunge, keeping the front knee behind the toe. Push into the heel to step back and immediately step out to the left and into a squat. Press back to start and take the left leg back into a reverse lunge, again keeping the front knee behind the toe. Bring the left leg back to start and repeat for all reps (15 to 30 seconds) before switching sides.

To add intensity: Add a jump to the forward lunge, the squat, or all three exercises.


Bent Over Squats With Leg Lifts

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Bend over with hands behind the back, abs engaged. Take the left leg out to the side, toe on the floor, and bend the right knee into a squat. Straighten the right leg as you lift the left leg a few inches off the floor. Keep the hip, knee, and foot in alignment and facing the front of the room. Repeat for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

To add intensity: Squat as low as you can; keep the leg lifted the entire time.


Tricep Dips

Exercise at Home
BreatheFitness / Getty Images

Sit on a chair or bench and balance on your arms, moving your backside in front of the step with legs bent. Bend the elbows and lower into a dip, keeping the shoulders down, until elbows are at 90 degrees. Push back up, keeping your hips very close to the chair the entire time.

To add intensity: Straighten the legs or prop them on another chair.


Back Extensions

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie face down on a mat and place the hands behind the head. Contract the abs and keep them contracted throughout the exercise. Squeeze the back to lift the chest a few inches off the floor. Lower and repeat.

To add intensity: Lift your legs at the same time as you are lifting your upper body.


Pyramid Planks

The plank exercise.
Justin Lambert/Getty Images

Begin in a plank position on the forearms. Press the hips up toward the ceiling (like an upside V) while staying on the forearms and gently pressing the heels to the floor. Hold briefly, then come back to your plank and push up onto the hands.

Hold (back straight) for a few counts and then press back into a downward dog, stretching the heels to the floor and the chest gently through the arms. Come back into your plank, lower down to the elbows and repeat the entire series.

To modify: Do this move on the knees to make it easier.


Planks With Knee Bends

Young Athlete Female in Plank Pose doing Running Abs
AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

Begin in a plank position, on the hands and toes. Lift the left foot off the floor and bend the knee, pulling it in towards the chest. Cross the left foot over to the right leg, hold briefly, then take ​the left knee back to the chest. Bring the left foot back into your full plank and repeat on the other side.

To modify: Do this move from a downward dog position instead of a plank.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."