20 Body Weight Exercises that Burn Fat and Build Muscle
No gym? No excuses. Here are 20 body weight exercises you can do at home or at your hotel to get your gains on.
Like a diver, let’s jump in.
Not everyone is a fan of jumping, but boy oh boy is it a calorie burner.
Stand with your knees slightly bent and your arms to your side. Jump up and bring your knees towards your chest while bringing your arms straight out. Land softly. Repeat.
2. Bear Crawl
If you were in sports in high school, you remember this one.
Get on your hands and knees, preferably at the base of a hill. If not, you can still do this around your house and have a lot of fun scaring your pets.
Raise up on your toes, keep your core tight and…..crawl. Growling is optional. Just don’t go steal someone’s food. That’s taking it further than the average bear. You see what we did there? Shyeah you did.
3. Mountain Climber
Kilimanjaro or Everest, pick your poison and pretend. You can do this in two ways: low impact or high impact. Low impact, raise your left leg toward your chest and your right arm as if you’re grabbing a ladder rung. Repeat by switching opposite arm and leg as you climb toward the snow cap in your mind.
High impact: do the same but ‘run in place’ while completing the exercise.
Planks. Not the kind where you take a picture of yourself with your face on the ground, that’s not even close. Lay down and prop yourself up with your elbows and your toes. It looks like a push up position but on your elbows. Hold for 30 seconds. Cuss and repeat.
5. Plank to Wall Climb
If you hate planks, it might help to make them a little more interesting. Start in plank position near a wall. Plank position is with your elbows propping your upper body up and your feet propping up your lower body. It’s like a push-up but with your elbows on the ground instead of hands. Hold for ten seconds, then put it in reverse, in push-up position with hands down and slowly climb backwards up the wall until you are doing a hand-stand. Lower and repeat. Ahhhhh yeah.
6. Stair Climb
There is hardly an exercise that can whip you into shape like stair climbing. One by one or two-by two climb the stairs. If you don’t have a long stair case, just rotate feet and climb and step back down. Add weights with dumb bells or soup cans to up the ante and feel the burn.
Named after physiologist Royal H. Burpee who invented a lighter version of the movement, it’s a sweat producing challenge sure to get you burning calories and fat. Don’t lie–you wondered where the name burpee came from. Now you know. Let’s get onto this top ten of our favorite body weight exercises.
Starting in standing position, squat down with your hands on the ground like a frog. Kick your feet back and straighten out like you’re in a push-up position. Then do a push-up and return to the original standing position, cry and repeat. Keep that core tight!
8. Hip Thrust
This is like dancing on the ground. Lay down, bend your knees, lift your pelvis off the ground, hold for 3-5 seconds and thrust again. Yeah baby!
9. Russian Twist
Grab the vodka. SIKE—just making sure you’re paying attention. No alcohol in this body weight exercise.
Sit down, bend the knees and keep them held an inch or two of the ground, put your hands together like you’re a pitcher and twist. Side to side. Slowly. 10 on each side. Then ?????????? !
10. Wall Sit
Time OUT! Go sit against a wall as one of your body weight exercises. But don’t get comfy. It hurts. Make a 90 degree angle with your back and legs. Keep your back straight. Hold it for 30 seconds. You probably deserved it. NEXT.
If you really want to up the gains on the legs, you should gravitate toward single-leg exercises. Like the oh-so-loathed lunge. Hands on hips, take a step outward until you make a 90 degree angle with your thigh and calf. Do not allow the back leg to take the weight. Just let it bend. Switch sides and repeat.
12. Curtsy Lunge
It might look dainty, but man it can bring the pain the next day. It works the glute medius, abductors and adductors. It’s just like a curtsy without bowing. Hands on hips. Bend your left knee as you lunge with your right leg behind your left. Switch legs and repeat.
The stellar squat had to make an appearance on the list of awesome body weight exercises. Hands on hips, or in front as if you’re holding King Arthur’s sword. Legs aligned with shoulders, lower your bottom as if you’re sitting in a chair. Tip—keep weight in your heels by slightly lifting your toes. Do at least 10 for each set.
14. Single Leg Deadlift
If you ever did a T25 workout, you’ve done these body weight exercises. It’s like a badass ballerina move. Stand with feet together, lift your left leg behind you as you extend your arms out in front of you (kind of like you’re balancing your body—think teeter totter) keep lowering your front while you raise your back legs until you touch the floor and return to standing position. Repeat on both sides 10 reps.
15. Calf Raise
Calves are often missed, so if you want to bulk yours, read our calf blog. This is simple, it’s also called twinkle toes, lift your body upward by pushing on the balls of your feet. Make it worth your time by doing single calf raises and tucking one ankle around the other.
The old faithful push-up always gives results. Do we really need to explain how to do this body weight exercise? No. But change things up by widening your hands and doing 10, then bring them closer and form a diamond with your hands. Keep that butt down! Gimme 20!
17. Handstand Push-Up
If push-ups aren’t challenging enough, take it up a notch with a handstand push-up as body weight exercises. Get in a headstand against a wall and using your hands, lift your body weight upward until you’re in a handstand. Lower and repeat. Look at you making everyone else feel inadequate. Nice!
18. Dry Swimming
This looks dumb but there’s a reason why gymnasts do it—it works! Lay on your belly, raise your legs and arms off the ground. Swim by moving your arms and legs up and down without touching the floor.
19. Donkey Raise
Get that butt tight. Put your hands on a counter and bend over slightly. Raise one leg backward until your butt feels like steel on fire. Lower, switch and repeat.
20. Triceps Dip
Get a full triceps workout here. In the meantime, you can do these body weight exercises on a bench, or long seat/furniture. Hold your body up with your hands and bend your elbows as you lower your body toward the floor. Push up to return to starting position and repeat. Feel the burn.
No Excuses-Body Weight Exercises For the Busy Person
There you have it, no excuses. No gym? Traveling? On Vacation? SO WHAT? You have a body—USE it. While you’re buffing up your body, don’t forget about the science of nutrient timing. Take advantage of your increased blood flow and feed your muscles with the fuel that will build them and burn fat. Get muscle-building supplements and get going.