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Illustrated bodyweight exercises: Fast, effective fitness

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

You are your own gym

Mark Lauren, author of You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercise for Men and Women (Ballantine, 2011), doesn’t train movie stars. The certified Military Physical Training Specialist and Special Operations combat controller trains those who defend our country, whose lives depend on being fit. Now, for the first time, Lauren makes U.S. Special Ops fitness exercises available to fit anyone’s schedule, wallet and fitness level. Here’s what Lauren says about the benefits of bodyweight exercises, along with a five-exercise workout to kick your butt into shape – without fitness equipment, using only your own bodyweight.

You are your own gym5Sumo Squat

Start position: Stand tall with legs in a wide stance, arms hanging straight down in front of you.

Movement: Keeping your back as straight as possible, drop your hips until your fingertips touch the ground. Push yourself back up to the starting position, squeezing your glutes tightly at the top.

Perform: 10 repetitions

Exercise variations:
You can do this exercise on your toes to make it harder.

For more information on bodyweight workouts, visit

More full-body workouts for top fitness

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