Bodyweight exercises solve this problem by giving you an effective workout that can be done anywhere, anytime, with little to no setup.
Below is an example of a bodyweight-based workout I did during my weight loss journey. All it took was two to three days a week to see results, and I was able to fit it in while my newborn and two-year-old napped.
Do each exercise for the desired amount of reps, quickly moving from one to the next. When you get to the end, take a 30- to 60-second break and then repeat, cycling through the routine a total of two or three times. I typically did this workout for 20 minutes and increased my time as my fitness improved.
Note: Always warm-up for three to five minutes with low-intensity aerobic activity prior to starting this routine. Also, if you want to add intensity to this routine, sprinkle in three to five-minute cardio intervals at the end of each round.
Squats with Side Leg Lift1 of 11
Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Hands should be out in front of you for balance. Slowly bend your legs and squat down until thighs are parallel to floor, or for an advanced move, go slightly lower than parallel. Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Pause at the bottom, then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and lifting the right leg out to the side for a count of two. Lower your right leg as you bend both legs into a squat.
Repeat 12 to 15 times on each side, alternating which leg you lift.
Push-Ups2 of 11
Assume a prone position on the floor with the knees fully extended and the toes pointed down to the floor. Place hands on floor, palms down, about 2 to 3 inches wider than shoulder-width apart, with elbows pointed outward. Keeping your body in straight line and toes in contact with the floor, push against the floor with the hands to fully extend the elbows. Pause at the top and then lower to starting position.
Repeat 10-15 times.
Plank Jacks3 of 11
Start in a regular plank position (arms fully extended) with your shoulders over your wrists, feet together and body in a straight line. Jump your legs out to the side as if you were doing a jumping jack, then bring them back to the original position.
Keep your core steady and repeat this movement 30 times.
Forward Alternating Lunge4 of 11
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Head up and looking straight ahead, engage your core muscles and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Press your foot into the floor and come back to starting position.
Switch legs and repeat 10 to 15 times on each side. It's important not to let your knee shift in or out—keep it stable.
Plank5 of 11
Lie down with forearms on the floor and elbows beneath shoulders. Feet should be flexed with toes on the floor. Rise up on your toes so that only your forearms and toes touch the floor. Your body should be a few inches off the floor in a straight line. Bring belly button to spine by contracting your deep abdominal muscles and tightening your buttocks and upper body.
Breathe normally and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Squat Jumps6 of 11
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms out in front. Squat down until thighs are slightly higher than knees. Push arms down and jump up. Land with soft, bent knees, and settle back into the squat position.
Repeat 10 times.
Superman7 of 11
Lie down on your stomach with arms stretched out in front of you and legs extended. Draw the abdominals up and away from the floor and pull shoulders down away from your ears. Squeeze your abdominals, back muscles and glutes to lift arms and legs off the floor at the same time.
Hold in this position, then relax and return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Bird Dog8 of 11
Start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Extend your right leg behind you and extend your left arm in front of you. Slowly raise your arm and leg without arching your back. Squeeze your abs and glutes, and then slowly lower your arm and leg.
Alternate sides, performing up to 10 reps per side.
The Hundred9 of 11
From a supine position, lift head and chest in spinal flexion and hover legs above the floor. Keep head and chest lifted as you pump the arms, breathing in for a count of five and exhaling for a count of five, for 10 breaths total.
Focus on keeping your pelvis in a neutral stable position, with pubic bone in same plane as hipbones. Reach through your fingertips and glide shoulders away from ears, engaging the back of the shoulder as you pump.
Single Leg Glute Bridge10 of 11
Lie down with your arms at your sides and palms facing down. Place your feet flat on the floor about a foot away from your butt. Raise your right foot up to the ceiling. Holding that foot up, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips. Hold this position and then lower back down and repeat.
You can do all of the repetitions on one leg before switching or alternate legs for a total of 10 to 15 reps on each side.