Who says you need fancy equipment to get a solid strength workout? Whether you're traveling, can't make it to the gym, or simply prefer to exercise at home, mixing and matching the following 25body weight exercisesprovides an all-around full body workout—no equipment required. A combination ofcardio, strengthening, and toning exercises are sure to make you break a sweat and get those endorphins going no matter where you are.
How to do it: Stand with the feet together, and lift up the left leg with a pointed toe, putting your body weight onto the standing, right leg. Continue to lift your leg and drop the head and torso so they form a straight horizontal line from head to toe with the arms at your sides. Engage your core and make sure the left thigh, hip, and toes are aligned. Remain facing down and keep your back as straight as possible. Ensure your right knee doesn't lock and center the weight on the middle of the foot. Hold for 5 breaths and then slowly return to standing.
This exercise activates all of your abdominal muscles.
How to do it: Lie face up with your left knee bent, left foot flat on the floor, and right leg extended toward the ceiling. Reach toward the ceiling with your the left arm and keep your right arm down by your side. Without moving your hips or shoulders, open your raised leg to the right and raised arm to the left. Now, concentrating on your abs, return your raised leg and arm to the center. Do 10-12 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
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Low-belly leg reach
This move targets your six-pack and corset muscles. The corset muscles lie beneath the obliques, and are the body's natural weight-lifting belt.
How to do it: Lie face up with knees bent to 90 degrees, hands behind head, and abs contracted. Keeping knees stacked over hips, lift shoulders and crunch up; inhale and hold for 3-5 seconds. Exhale and extend legs to 45 degrees; hold for 3-5 seconds while squeezing lower belly. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps.
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Straight-line side lifts
This move tackles hard-to-reach problem areas like the outer thighs. It's also blasts belly fat.
How to do it: Lie on your left side with your legs straight and stacked on top of one another and your feet flexed. Rest your head on your straight left arm. Inhale while lifting both legs off the ground, then exhale while slowly lowering them until they're about 1 inch off the ground. Do 10–12 reps, then switch sides and repeat to complete 1 set; do 3 sets.
A staple in many yoga and Pilates workouts, the swan dive strengthens back muscles to improve your posture. This move is from Kristin McGee'sSecret to an Amazing BodyPilates routine.
How to do it: Lie face down on a mat with arms stretched overhead, toes pointed. Lift your arms and legs about 6 inches off the ground. Hold for 1 count, imagining your legs being pulled out and back, away from your hips. Then, circle your arms out to each side of your body behind you. Exhale and reach your arms toward the toes, palms facing the body (as seen in the photo). Hold for 1 count, then bring arms back to starting position and relax entire body to ground. That's one rep. Repeat for 6 to 8 reps.
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This super-challenging yoga move, from Kristin McGee'sYoga Routine for Strong, Slim Arms, strengthens your wrists, arms, abs, and lower back. If you can't control your body as you lower it to the floor, try starting with your knees on the ground.
How to do it: Begin in a plank position, keeping your elbows directly above your wrists. Keep your body in a straight line and bend elbows to 90 degrees while lowering toward floor. Contract abs; be careful not to round shoulders forward.
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This yoga move is ideal for testing your balance and activating your lower body muscles to maintain balance.
How to do it: Bend your knees slightly and cross your right leg over your left leg high at the thigh, then try to double cross it behind the left calf or ankle. Wrap your right arm under your left and back over top; press your palms together.
Squeeze thighs tight and pull your belly to your spine while you sink lower, bending slightly at the knee and a bit forward at the waist. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat with arms and legs reversed.
Make it easier: If double-crossing your legs is too challenging, cross just once at the thigh and rest your top foot's toes on the ground for balance. If your shoulders are too tight to double-cross your arms, wrap under only and press the backs of your hands together.
Strengthens the lower and upper abdominals, obliques, hips, thighs, and butt.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together. Bend knees, reaching hips back (knees behind toes), lowering until thighs are nearly parallel with floor; raise arms forward and up. Rotate torso to right and secure left elbow on outside of right knee. Hold for 3 breaths; return to starting position. Repeat on left side; that's 1 rep. Do 3 reps.
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Take the traditional plank exercise to the next level with this more challenging modification. It does wonders for your upper body and core.
How to do it: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the floor; crawl forward to plank position with shoulders directly over wrists. Bend elbows to lower your body toward the floor, then push back up. Next, bend your left knee, bring it up and in toward your chest, then rotate your waist as you raise your bent left leg out until it's parallel to the floor. Return to plank and repeat on the opposite side. Return to standing.
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Fights lower-belly pooch—an area that can be really hard to tone, especially after you've given birth.
How to do it: Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on a mat, and hands on the ground. Lean your upper body back and lift your legs so your body forms a V. Stretch your arms forward, palms facing in. Tighten your lower-ab muscles while keeping your shoulders relaxed, back straight, and chest lifted. Lengthen your legs and engage your inner thighs. Hold for 5 slow, deep breaths, then lower your legs. Do 3 reps.
This sculpting move fires the hard-to-target outer-leg muscles, as well as your obliques. If you can't make it through the prescribed number of reps, no worries: do as many as you can to start, then work your way up as you get stronger.
How to do it: Lie on your right side with the upper body supported by the right elbow and tricep, which should be flat on the mat at your side. Stack the legs and hip, and bend the knees. Lift the top bent leg, keeping it level, and then lower it. Straighten both legs and let them fall into a small split position (with one leg split over the other). Hover the bottom leg about 1-2 inches from the floor with knees facing forward. Return to starting position to complete one rep.
Do 30-40 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
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Leg extension crunches
This move blasts fat in hard-to-reach areas like the lower-belly pooch.
How to do it: Sit with hands on the floor behind you, palms down and fingers toward butt. Lean back on sitting bones, tighten abs, and raise both legs off floor. Bend knees and crunch legs in toward body; extend legs, then raise them as high as you can. Lower legs toward floor (but don't touch). Do 15 reps.
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Opposite arm and leg lift
This move builds core strength and balance, while also toning your glutes and shoulders. It's harder than it looks!
How to do it: From all fours, reach your right arm forward; at the same time, stretch your left leg back and flex your foot. Hold for 5 seconds, then release and repeat using the left arm and right leg; that's one rep. Do 10 to 15 reps.
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This dynamic exercise is a fun and challenging way to tone up your entire upper body.
Stand with feet together. Bend over, bringing hands to floor, then slowly walk hands forward to come into push-up position with hands in line with shoulders; do one push-up. Keeping hands planted, walk feet toward them and return to standing; that's one rep. Keep your core tight throughout the move. Do 10 reps.
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Squat side kick
This exercise tests your balance and activates muscles throughout your body without you even noticing. It's also great for toning your legs and glutes.
How to do it: With feet hip-width apart, slowly lower into a half-squat, keeping knees over toes. Raise right knee to hip level, then extend right leg to the side, straightening left leg as you push out through your right heel. Pull right knee in, and return to starting position. Do 10 reps; switch sides, and repeat. Do 3 sets.
Trainer tip: To help with balance and make the move even more effective, squeeze your butt as you lift your leg.
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Many women are unhappy with the backs of their arms, and this move provides a solution.
How to do it: Sit with knees bent and feet hip-width on floor, hands behind you on either side of hips, fingers forward. Lift hips off floor and shift weight back. Bend and straighten elbows 20 times, leaving feet flat, then come onto heels and repeat.
Staying on heels, walk feet forward (keep weight shifted back) and do 20 more dips.
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Side incline with a twist
This popular yoga move targets your triceps, biceps, core, and waist. You can also try to combine this with a traditional plank to maximize your strengthening and toning routine, by transitioning from a plank into the side incline.
How to do it: Lie on your right side with forearm directly under shoulder, hand perpendicular to your body, and legs stacked. Engage your abs and the right side of your waist, lifting your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to feet.
Extend your left arm toward the sky, staying engaged through your core (shown). Now scoop your left arm in front of your body and reach under the space between your chest and the ground, twisting only from the waist up.
Come back up; repeat 4 times, then lower body to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.
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Strengthens the core and arms, as well as the pelvic floor, which helps in everything from better sex to better posture. This move is from Bethenney Frankel'sFlat-Belly Workout.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with hands on a mat next to your hips. Tighten your pelvic floor (as if you have to pee and are holding it in), push into your hands, and lift your entire lower body off the mat.
Hold for 3 breaths, then lower back down. This is a pretty challenging move, so if you can't lift your whole lower half, keep your feet on the floor and just lift your butt. Do 3 reps.
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Low lunge hover
This balancing exercise tightens up your legs from butt to ankle. You can add in some hand or ankle weights for an added challenge.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart before stepping your right foot back, and lowering into lunge stance with the left knee over the ankle. Bring your arms over your head and hinge forward from the waist. Lower the chest forward toward the thighs as your arms reach forward. Lift the right leg while straightening the left. Hold for 3 breaths before returning to the starting lunge position.
Do 3 reps; switch legs and repeat.
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Get your heart racing with this challenging cardio and strengthening exercise.
How to do it: Sit up straight with knees bent, feet hip-width apart on ground, knees over ankles. Hinge back at waist; place hands on ground below shoulders, fingers out. Lift hips to raise body, then bend elbows to point directly back as body dips toward the ground. Push into heels, and straighten arms to come back up; punch right arm across chest, rotating torso to left. Return hand to ground, then immediately dip and twist to opposite side. Continue alternating for 1 minute.
Make it easier: Instead of twisting and punching, alternate lifting hands off ground.
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This move really gives your glutes a run for their money! This exercise not only strengthens and tones your butt, but it also attacks the fat in your thigh muscles.
How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees with hands directly under shoulders. Keeping your right knee bent to 90 degrees, lift your right leg up and out to the side, like a dog at a hydrant; do 30 reps.
Next, straighten your right leg out to the side (toe on the floor) so it's in line with your hip, then lift the leg until it is parallel to the floor. Do 30 reps, then return to starting position and repeat entire series on the opposite side.
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Engages, strengthens, and tones muscles from head to toe: triceps, biceps, chest, core, quads, hamstrings, and butt.
How to do it: From a seated, feet-forward position, place hands on ground slightly behind waist, fingertips facing forward. Straighten both legs, pressing heels and palms into the ground, and contract abs while lifting hips up, forming a straight line from head to toe. Keep gaze forward and shoulders pressed down; don't lock your elbows. Lift your left leg straight up as high as you can (shown), then lower it without allowing your right hip to sag. Do 4 reps; repeat on opposite side.
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Hip heist push-up
Take your cardio routine up a notch and kick your body into overdrive with this calorie burning and strengthening exercise.
How to do it: Get into "up" part of a push-up; lower chest and bend elbows, stopping at 90 degrees.
Lift right hand and left foot, rotating upper body to the right while bringing left knee across body toward right armpit. Pivot on right foot and continue rotating torso until you're face up. Hands should be directly beneath shoulders and feet hip-width, knees bent at 90 degrees. Lift hips until torso is in tabletop position.
Lift left hand and right foot, rotating upper body to right, pivoting on left foot until you are back in the "up" part of a push-up. Repeat in opposite direction.
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Side crunch and pulse
Reveal your six-pack! This move works the entire core, including the obliques and hard-to-target muscles below your chest.
How to do it: Lie face up, knees bent to 90 degrees, hands behind head. Lower knees to left and crunch up; do 15-25 reps. Return to start, lift shoulders, extend left arm, and pulse forward for 15-25 reps. Repeat sequence on right side. This is 1 set. Do 2 sets.
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Y-squat calf raise
This amazing all around exercise works your quadriceps, butt, back, abs, and calves, providing a well balanced workout for your whole body.
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Reach your arms up toward the ceiling, forming a Y. Keeping arms raised and chest lifted, lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (shown at left). Raise yourself up quickly, coming up onto the balls of your feet, then immediately lower into another squat. Do 20 reps. Then do 1 minute of jumping jacks.
Trainer tip: While lowering into the squat, push your hips back as if sitting in a chair.