It’s easy to come up with excuses not to work out. You’re stuck at the office, you’re helping your daughter with her homework, you’re meeting friends for dinner, you’re… getting the picture. But if you can eliminate the need to actually travel to a gym in order to squeeze your exercise in, then you’ve already overcome one of the biggest obstacles in your way.
“Having a handful of functional exercises that you can do anywhere makes it much easier for you to stay consistent with your training,” says New York City-based trainer and triathlon coach Ken Szekretar, Jr. “A lot of people think machines and weights are required for their cardio and strength sessions, but the reality is all you really need to get a great workout is your own body.”
Here’s a handful of easy-to-follow, total-body moves that you can perform anywhere—no matter how much time you’ve got or what your fitness level is. Whether you simply tackle a few moves for 5 minutes or knock out the entire bodyweight workout in 20, you’ll finish feeling stronger and more energized than before you started.
Bodyweight Workout for Busy Bodies
Targets: back, abs, hips, glutes, hamstrings, and inner thighs.
Lie face-up on a mat (or towel) with your knees bent, feet flat on floor, and arms extended by your sides. Extend your right leg. Engage your core as you lift hips (and leg) toward ceiling until you form a diagonal line from right foot to shoulder. Hold for one count at the top, then slowly lower back down to start. Do 15 reps; switch legs, and repeat.
Targets: entire core, hips, and glutes.
Lie face-up on a mat (or towel) with your knees bent over your hips, calves parallel to the floor, and arms extended toward the ceiling, directly over your shoulders. Keeping your core engaged, lower your left leg and right arm straight toward the floor. Return to start; switch sides and repeat to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides for 15 reps.
Targets: deep core stabilizers, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
Lie face-up on a mat (or towel) that you’ve placed in front of a chair, arms extended by sides. Lift your legs toward the ceiling, directly over hips. Bend left knee and place heel on top of the chair. Keeping abs engaged and right leg straight, slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from left knee to shoulder. Slowly lower back to start. Do 15 reps; switch legs and repeat.
Targets: obliques, hips, glutes and inner and outer thighs.
Lie on your right side with legs together, hips stacked and right palm under shoulders. Press into your palm as you lift hips, forming a diagonal line from head to toe, and extend left arm toward ceiling. Hold, keeping your abs engaged, for up to 1 minute. Lower back down to start; switch sides and repeat. To modify: Place your bottom knee on the mat, making a kickstand with your foot behind you.
Target: shoulders, chest, back, triceps, and abs.
Start in plank position, with palms under your shoulders, abs engaged, back flat, legs extended behind you and toes tucked under. Keeping your abs engaged and spine neutral, bend elbows by sides as you lower your chest toward the floor. Slowly press back up to plank. Do 15 reps. To modify: Put your knees on the floor.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.