Here are the 42 best bodyweight exercises you can do to build muscle and burn fat, no gym required!
These are the exact exercises we start our coaching clients on and I’m pumped to share them with you today!
Have your Nerd Fitness Coach create a bodyweight workout you can do anywhere! Learn more here:
We’ve organized the exercises by major muscle groups (click to jump to those movements):
Plus, we’ll pull it all together at the end so you can create a complete bodyweight workout routine!
Note: If you’re here because your gym is shut down due to the outbreak of Covid-19, check out our guide “How to Stay In Shape (While Staying Inside).”
Alright, let’s get to it.
The 11 Best Lower-Body Bodyweight Exercises
You don’t need the gym for “leg day.” Do the following wherever!
#1) ASSISTED BODYWEIGHT SQUAT (if you can’t do regular bodyweight squats):
#2) BODYWEIGHT SQUAT:
If you want even more instruction, here’s how to do a proper bodyweight squat:
#3) ASSISTED PISTOL SQUAT:
#4) PISTOL SQUAT:
#5) SUPPORTED LUNGES:
#6) REGULAR LUNGES:
#7) SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT:
#8) HIP BRIDGE:
#9) CALF RAISE:
#10) STEP UP:
#11) BOX JUMP:
The 8 Best Push Bodyweight Exercises
Let’s walk you through the best bodyweight exercises to train your push muscles. We’ll more or less progress in difficulty as we go.
#1) KNEE PUSH-UP:
#2) ELEVATED PUSH-UP:
We have a whole article on how to do a proper push-up, but we also cover it extensively in this 5 minute video:
#4) DECLINE PUSH-UP:
#5) SIDE-TO-SIDE PUSH-UP:
#6) ASSISTED DIP:
With a resistance band, you can start performing assisted dips. A great exercise while you build up strength for normal dips.
Here’s how to do a proper bodyweight dip if you’d like a step-by-step guide.
#8) HANDSTAND (WALL WALK):
The wall walk is a great exercise as you progress into a full handstand. If you’re a complete newbie to turning upside down, check out our guide “Get Your First Handstand” for a full tutorial.
Some of our coaching clients have gotten their first handstand under our watch, which always puts a smile on my face. If you’re interested we’d love to help you too!
Have your Nerd Fitness Coach help you get your first handstand, step-by-step! Learn more here.
The 7 Best Pull Bodyweight Exercises
Don’t neglect your pull muscles when creating your bodyweight workout. Here are the top 7 to include:
#1) INVERTED BODYWEIGHT ROW (HIGH):
An inverted bodyweight row can be a great “pull” exercise if you can’t do a pull-up yet, or if you don’t have a proper pull-up bar nearby. Because a good sturdy table can be used for inverted rows:
Alternatively, you could do doorframe rows if your table seems sketchy:
#2) INVERTED BODYWEIGHT ROW (LOW):
Once you get comfortable doing an inverted bodyweight row, try going lower to increase the difficulty.
#3) BAR HANG:
#4A) ASSISTED PULL-UPS (WITH BAND):
A resistance band is a great tool to help build strength for proper pull-ups. It’s part of our arsenal for getting your first pull-up.
#4B) ASSISTED PULL-UPS (WITH BOX):
#5) NEGATIVE PULL-UPS:
Once you start to feel confident enough you can do assisted pull-ups and support MOST of your own weight, start looking into negative pull-ups.
Jump and hold yourself above the bar, and then slowly, under control, lower yourself to the ‘starting position’ of a pull-up.
This is a great way to build up enough strength to eventually get your first pull-up.
We have a full guide on proper pull-up form so you can hone in your technique.
Much like a pull-up, but with your palms facing toward you.
Here’s a video going over proper pull-up and chin-up form:
Want someone to build you a custom made progression plan for doing your first pull-up?
Our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program will do just that, plus your coach can review your movements through our app so you’ll know your training correctly and safely.
You’re not alone on this journey. Let our Online Coaches help you conquer your first pull-up!
The 11 Best Core Bodyweight Exercises
Our next stop on building a bodyweight workout finds us at the core. Here are the 10 best exercises to include:
#1) REVERSE CRUNCH:
#4) SIDE PLANK:
#5) HIP BRIDGE HOLD:
#6) HANGING KNEE TUCK:
#7) JUMPING KNEE TUCK:
#8) HOLLOW BODY HOLD:
The hollow body is one of the best ways to engage the midsection and stabilize the body. We utilize the hollow body exercise as part of our strategy for getting your first handstand.
Once you get comfortable holding the position, try…
#9) HOLLOW BODY ROCKING:
#10) KNEES TO ELBOWS:
#11) TOES TO BAR:
Catch our guide “How to Strengthen Your Core” for even more exercise ideas!
5 Dynamic BOdy weight Exercises (Full Body)
Next, we’ll cover some dynamic full-body exercises to get your heart rate roaring during your workout.
#1) WALKING JACKS:
#2) JUMPING JACKS:
#3) STAR JACKS:
#5) BURPEES WITH PULL-UP (WHAA…):
How to Build a Bodyweight Workout
Alright, it’s time to pull this whole guide together and build a bodyweight workout!
We will pick a bodyweight exercise from each section:
We’ll aim for 3 to 4 sets under each category for 8-12 reps.
Plus, we’ll bookend the workout with a dynamic warm-up (DON’T SKIP) and a post-workout stretch.
Your warm-up can look like this:
Your post-workout stretch can look like this:
Example Bodyweight Workout:
Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
Bodyweight Squats: 10 reps
Push-ups: 10 reps
Pull-ups: 10 reps
Reverse Crunch: 10 reps
Repeat 2-6 two more times, for 3 complete circuits.
You now have a bodyweight workout you can do in your own home.
You can mix and match from each category or progress to more difficult moves as you get stronger.
Now, you don’t HAVE to do these exercises at home. You can even do them while exercising around the world, like I did!
If you want to learn all the fine details of building a workout, make sure you check out our extensive guide “How to Build Your Own Workout Routine.“ It’ll walk you through creating a program of bodyweight exercises – or using weights if you want to train in a gym.
Don’t want to bother creating your own bodyweight workout? No problem, I have two options for you:
Start at the Beginner workout and move onto the Advanced when it becomes easy.
This should help you get started with a bodyweight training routine. But we hear frequently that people want MORE instruction, MORE guidance, and MORE workouts.
If that’s you, we have MULTIPLE options to take the next step. Pick the option below that best aligns with your goals and timeline:
1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom bodyweight training program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:
Our coaching program changes lives. Learn how!
2) Good at following instructions? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.
The Academy has 20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, meal plans, a questing system, and supportive community.
Learn more about The Nerd Fitness Academy!
3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.
Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating these bodyweight moves into your training.
Download our comprehensive guide
Everything you need to know about getting strong.
Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
Alright, your turn: I’d love to hear how your bodyweight training is going!
Did you make your own workout? Try one of ours? Include different moves we didn’t cover today?
Leave a comment below with your results or any questions you have on bodyweight training.
For the Rebellion!
PS: I highlighted “42” bodyweight exercises in honor of the late, great Douglas Adams.
Photo source: Deadshot, Laughing Budda, 102, 103, 104, hanging, Wolverine, Yeaaaah…. Surprise ladies!!, acrobat