Body-weight training exercises you can do anywhere

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:17 a.m. ET

No gym? No problem! There's no reason you need to spend beaucoup bucks on a fitness center membership if you don't think you'll use it. Get the tight, toned body you've always wanted from the comfort of... well, anywhere! All you need is your own body and a little healthy self-motivation.


Lunge, lunge away!

There are a million lunge variations that you can do anywhere, any time. Lunges will strengthen your entire lower body while also challenging your balance and tightening your core.

Lunge to try: Backward split lunge

Lunge to try: Backward split lunge

  1. Place your back leg on a fixed object, like a bench, stool, chair, low wall or bleacher.
  2. Bend your front knee, keeping your torso upright, lowering yourself toward the floor.
  3. Return to start and repeat 12 times before switching sides.

Other variations:

  • Side lunge
  • Jumping lunge
  • Walking lunge
  • Curtsy lunge

Push-ups: Worth the effort

Push-ups are an excellent way to tighten up your core as you strengthen your chest and triceps. And even if a traditional push-up makes you cringe, there are lots of other do-anywhere options for gaining upper-body strength with the push-up movement.

Pushup to try: Standard pushup

Push-up to try: Standard push-up

  1. Balance on your hands and toes, your palms positioned below your shoulders, your body forming a straight line.
  2. Steadily lower yourself toward the ground. When your body is hovering about an inch away from the floor, reverse the movement and press yourself back to start. Repeat eight to 15 times.

Other variations:

  • Push-up on your knees
  • Wall, desk or bench push-up
  • Split push-up with one hand on an elevated surface, like a curb or step

Quadruped hip extension... er... a donkey kick

Let's not get technical. This "donkey kick" movement will work your hindquarters to give you an enviable booty. While you may not want to bust it out at the office, it's a great exercise to perform during commercial breaks or when you're stuck in a hotel while traveling.

Quadruped hip extension

Get the form right

  1. Start on your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Shift your weight to one side, lifting one knee slightly off the floor.
  3. Press your foot straight up into the air as you extend your hip.
  4. When your hip is fully extended, return your knee to the ground.
  5. Repeat 15 to 20 times before switching legs.

Let's get dippy with it

Triceps dips rock. You can seriously do them anywhere, and you can use just about anything as your dip station. At work? Use your desk or chair. At school? Try the gym bleachers. Outside? A park bench will do! Any way you slice it, you'll be targeting your triceps and keeping those "bat wings" at bay.

Tricep dip

Get the form right

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench, chair or other sturdy item with your hands gripping the edge.
  2. Press your arms up and shift your hips forward so that your arms are extended and your hips are directly in front of your dip station.
  3. Bend your elbows, lowering your body toward the floor.
  4. Reverse the movement and return to start. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Other variations:

  • Lift one foot off the floor as you perform the dip
  • Extend your legs in front of you, balancing your heels on the floor as you perform the dip

Planks a lot

If the internet has taught us anything, it's that planks can be done anywhere. Planking took social media by storm, and even though time has given way to "owling" and "Tebowing," among others, there's still a place in the heart of America for the one that started it all: the plank. So go ahead and take a minute to strengthen your core when you're at the bakery, the Grand Canyon or your local watering hole. You may get a few weird looks, but who cares? Your abs will surely thank you.

Plank to try: Standard plank

Plank to try: Standard plank

  1. Balance on your toes and forearms, your elbows directly under your shoulders.
  2. Hold in place for as long as you can with good form.

Other variations:

  • Plank on your knees
  • Side plank
  • Plank on your hands
  • Plank with lateral slide
  • One-legged plank

Get that squatty body

Squats are a lot like lunges — they're awesome for toning your lower half, there are tons of variations to try and you can pop out a dozen while brushing your teeth or blow drying your hair. What's not to love?

Squat to try: Bear squat

Squat to try: Bear squat

This variation on the traditional squat will get your heart rate up while targeting your entire body.

  1. Start in a plank-like position, balanced on your toes and your palms, your shoulders angled slightly in front of your wrists.
  2. Bend your knees and press your hips backward, moving into a squat-like position with your shoulders extended, arms overhead.
  3. Without letting your knees touch the ground, "explode" back to the starting position as you press through your feet and extend your knees and hips in a rush of movement.
  4. Continue this series of movements as fast as you can while maintaining good form. Aim to perform between 15 and 30 total squats.

Other variations:

  • Traditional squat
  • One-legged squat
  • Wall squat
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More tips to get in shape

Awesome arms: Moves that will sculpt your arms
Beautiful back: 5 moves to work your back muscles
Killer abs: Exercises for an amazing core