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10 Bodyweight Exercises for When Going to the Gym Isn’t an Option

August 24, 2020

The unpredictability of today’s world means that making it to the gym isn’t always an option. COVID continues to shut down gyms across the country, and if we’re honest, it’s not always convenient to make it to the gym. While it’s not quite the same as sweating it out in the gym, at-home bodyweight exercises can get the job done and keep that COVID weight gain at-bay. We rounded up our favorite at-home bodyweight exercise moves to get your sweat on when you can’t make it to the gym. So gear up and get ready to sweat it out at home!

 

Burpees

If you’ve only got  a few minutes to spare, then burpees are a great way to get your heart rate up (uh, hello HIIT) and sweat it out in a time crunch. Start in standing position. Then hop into a squat and transition to a push up. After completing one pushup, get back into a squatting position and jump back up with a quick burst of energy. 

at-home bodyweight exercise

If you’re just getting started, omitting the push up portion of this exercise can help make this move a bit more manageable. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-executed burpee just because of its simplicity. We’ve got a love-hate relationship with this one because it’s been known to knock the wind out of ya pretty quickly.

 

High to Low Plank Walk

Planks are a great bodyweight move because they do more than just engage your core. They also work your tush, your arms, and some of those legs muscles. While burpees might be a great way to get the blood pumping, planks can be a good way to end your at-home bodyweight routine. If you need just a little bit of a breather mid-routine, try incorporating our favorite high-to-low plank walk to slow things down a bit.

at-home bodyweight exercise

Start by getting into a high plank position. Your hands should be palm down and squared up directly beneath your shoulders. When you’re in a high plank position, your body should form the long edge of a triangle with your arms and the floor being the short sides. 

When you’re ready, transition each arm to a low plank position by placing your forearms flat on the floor. Then continue to rotate between high and low plank positions. Remember to keep your back flat and core engaged. You don’t want to sag (or arch) your back to avoid injury and get the most burn out of this at-home bodyweight exercise.

 

Jumping Jacks

Remember back in grade school how our P.E. teachers used to make us do jumping jacks as a warm-up? While you might not miss the days of gym class, don’t let this elementary move fool you. It’s one easy way to keep your heart rate up and get your whole body moving.

Try doing 15 (or 50) jumping jacks in between your other moves. We guarantee you’ll be sweating it out by the end of your reps.

 

Squats

Ah, the good ol’ squat. We hate to love em, and love to hate em. Just us? Ok. But this is one simple move that really gets the most out of your bodyweight. Make sure your feet are about shoulder width apart and your heels stay in contact with the ground throughout this move. Your movement should imitate a “sitting” motion.

at-home bodyweight exercise

Feeling too easy? Try widening your stance a bit. Also known as a sumo squat, a wider stance will require more effort from your backside to get you back up into a standing position. Alternatively, you could also try the one-legged squat, or even a squat pulse. The choice is yours… Choose wisely!

 

3-Way Push Ups

Push ups are another classic at-home bodyweight exercise that often gets taken for granted. Think that you can only build defined muscle mass with fancy (expensive) gym equipment? Think again!

This 3-way push up variation is a great way to get upper body definition throughout your arms, shoulders, and pecs. Start by completing a basic push up. Then, bring your hands together to form a diamond, centered under your head. Complete one diamond pushup. Then (if you’re still going), widen your hands past your shoulders for a wide-set pushup to really activate that upper body.

at-home bodyweight exercise 3 way pushup

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Still not challenging enough? Get those feet lifted onto the seat of a chair and do it on an incline. This will shift more of your body weight onto your upper body. Struggling to get through more than a few reps? You can also place your knees on the ground to complete these moves. This will help shift some of your body weight off your upper body. Just remember to keep your core engaged and back flat no matter how you get this move done.

 

Situps

Now that we’ve smoked that upper body and got your heart rate up, it’s time to engage that core. Sit ups are an easy way to sweat out those drinks and build strong core muscles to carry you throughout your workout. 

The other awesome part about sit ups? You can find an endless amount of bodyweight variations to make them more (or less) challenging according to your fitness level. Try lifting your legs into a tabletop position to force your core muscles to work a bit harder. You can also try pulsing, and avoiding coming back into contact with the floor at the end of each rep. Or, try extending your legs all the way flat then keeping them raised a few inches off the ground while you do your situps. Doesn’t seem so simple now, does it?

 

Tricep Couch Dips

Does quarantine have you in a constant state of Netflix binging? Then it’s a good thing that this move is couch (or recliner) friendly. Say hello to the perfect Netflix companion: the tricep couch dip. Start by moving yourself to the very edge of your seat. Place your arms next to your legs with your elbows facing the back of your seat. Then slowly move yourself off the edge of your seat and “dip” yourself towards the ground.

at-home bodyweight exercise Triceps-Women-3-Triceps-Dip-min

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You should feel the burn in your arms for this move. Remember to engage your core and avoid using your legs to help you return back up to your seat. Need more of a challenge? You can also elevate your feet (using a stack of books or bins) to increase the amount of weight that your arms have to support. If you’re finding this move a bit challenging, you can start with your legs bent (instead of straight out) to help support some of your body weight.

Look, we get it! Making to the gym isn’t always easy. Whether your schedule is packed or COVID has closed up your local gym, you need alternatives to getting your sweat sesh in. So stay inside, beat the heat, and sweat it out with these simply at-home bodyweight exercise moves to stay in shape, no matter what life throws at you.

Ryan H

Author

Ryan Hoang is a former fitness trainer, fashion entrepreneur, and creative force behind the modern activewear brand Centric. As a fitness enthusiast and apparel industry professional, he always strives to design and create high performance athletic apparel without compromising fashion for function. When he is not busy working on Centric, you will find him at the gym sweating it out or in the kitchen trying out new recipes.