Is getting in shape on your New Year’s resolutions list?
Even if you have no equipment and no gym membership, you can do it.
Thanks to our below list of exercises without equipment, now you have no excuses. These 10 exercises can literally be done anywhere. These are also the perfect at-home workouts for beginners because it can be done at your own pace.
If you're ready to tone up and feel stronger, this post is for you. We offer step-by-step instructions on how to do each exercise, plus a beginner’s tip for each move.
Keep your New Year’s resolution to get in shape once and for all with these exercises you can do anywhere.
No Equipment, No Gym, No Excuses
If you’re looking for a workout that fits in cardio and strength training, this routine is it. Do two to three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions for each exercise. Set aside 20-30 minutes for the below exercises to target the major muscle groups and get your heart rate pumping. No equipment needed.
1. Arm Circles
Biggest Benefit: Loosens shoulders
Arm circles are a great pre-workout exercise before you start doing more intense bodywork. It’s an important and easy warm-up and loosens up your shoulders which often hold a lot of tension!
How to do arm circles:
- While standing, extend your arms parallel to the floor.
- Make small circles with your arms.
- Complete 10 rotations and reverse the circles.
- Switch between small and large circular motions.
Beginner tip: Move slowly when doing these movements. You can do these during commercials breaks, waiting at the bus stop, or in your kitchen during cooking breaks!
Biggest Benefit: Strengthens upper body
There are several types of pushups you can do (arms wide, elbows in, knees down,etc.). Remember, your form is more important than speed. It’s also critical to breathe in while lowering your body and out when pushing up.
How to do a push-up:
- Get down on all fours.
- Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders before straightening arms.
- Lower your body to the ground, but don’t let your chest touch the ground.
- Pause before pushing your body back up.
Beginner tip: Form is everything with pushups. You can start on your knees and work your way up from there once you’ve built upper body strength.
Biggest Benefit: Strengthens the lower body
After a squats day, you’ll be sore and want to swear it off forever. But this lower body exercise is excellent for strengthening your legs, glutes, and other muscles.
How to do a squat:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Point toes outward by about 15-degrees.
- Bend and lower your bottom toward the floor.
- Keep your core engaged and back straight.
- Return to a standing position while squeezing glutes.
Beginner tip: You can start with a chair behind you to perfect your form. Don’t actually sit down on it, just barely touch it with your bottom, and stand back up.
4. Forearm Plank
Biggest Benefit: Overall exercise but mainly core
The forearm plank is effective because it works your entire body all at once. This one is perfect for overall strength, but especially for those looking for core stability. There are several variations of the plank that include a variety of challenges, but in this case, we’re covering the forearm plank.
How to do a plank:
- Place your forearms on the floor.
- Elbows should be aligned with your shoulders.
- Arms will be parallel to your body at shoulder width.
- Hold the position while staring at a spot on the floor.
- Keep your core engaged to protect your lower back.
- Hold for 20 seconds, if possible.
- Breathe and repeat!
Beginner tip: Keep your back flat and don’t drop your head. You want everything in-line from head to bottom.
5. Mountain Climbers
Biggest Benefit: A full-body workout to increase heart rate
This exercise is a favorite for boot camp instructors to give new recruits. That’s because it combines cardio and strengthening all into one workout. If you only have a few minutes to burn calories, make this your go-to exercise after a light warm-up. It’s basically like “running” while in a plank position.
How to do mountain climbers:
- Start in a full plank position.
- Pull your right knee up to your chest, then switch to the left quickly.
- Keep your abs tight.
- Be sure your spine is straight as you move quicker.
Beginner tip: At the same time you push one leg back, then the other one will come up to your chest. Imagine you’re doing a “running” motion at an angle.
6. Bicycle Crunches
Biggest Benefit: Works all areas of the abs
If you want to be beach-ready for the summer, this version of a crunch works practically every inch of your abs, including the “side abs.” This all-in-one exercise will make your ab routine much shorter, too.
How to do bicycle crunches:
- Lie on the floor with hands behind your head.
- Bring your legs up so that your knees are above your hips.
- With your core engaged, twist the right knee towards the left elbow.
- Slowly switch sides.
- Do three sets of 20.
Beginner tip: Your back should stay flat on the floor throughout the whole motion.
Biggest Benefit: Works the core
Do crunches actually work? Paired with sit-ups, if you do several sets of each daily for a few months, you’ll see the difference in stomach tone, for sure. Crunches will help you build a strong core.
How to do crunches:
- Lie down on the floor with feet hip-width apart.
- Knees should be bent.
- Cross your arms across the chest in an X.
- Inhale and engage your core.
- On an exhale, lift your upper body with your abs.
- Keep your head and neck relaxed.
- Inhale as you lower to the floor.
Beginner tip: Don’t hold your breath while doing crunches as this will make it much harder as your muscles won’t be getting needed oxygen. You also don’t want to pull on your neck to lift your body up!
Biggest Benefit: Overall body exercise with cardio benefits
How to do a burpee:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Lower your body into a squat position.
- Put your hands flat on the floor directly in front of your feet.
- Shift your weight onto your hands.
- Step your feet back into a plank position.
- Step your feet back to the starting position.
- Jump up into the air with your hands overhead in a Y shape.
- Upon landing, immediately lower back into a squat.
Beginner tip: No sagging zone! Be mindful of not letting your butt stick up in the air or your back sag.
9. Bridge or Hip Raise
Biggest Benefit: Targets glutes, abs, and hamstrings
If you need a core and bottom strengthener, this move is it. Doing a bridge move daily can help strengthen the muscles of the lower back and hips. It also will enhance your core stability, a must if you sit at your desk all day or don’t engage your core often.
How to do a bridge or hip raise:
- Lie down flat on your back with knees bent and arms at sides.
- Engage your core and buttock muscles.
- Raise your hips toward the ceiling (a straight line between your shoulders and knees).
- Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Lower slowly and repeat.
Beginner tip: Hold the position for as long as you can keep a good form. Before you start to sag, lower yourself back to the floor.
10. Leg Lifts
Biggest Benefit: Targets your upper and lower abs
This ab isolation exercise is ideal for folks who aren’t fans of crunches. When done correctly, leg lifts can target those often hard-to-reach and tone lower ab muscles.
How to do leg lifts:
- Lie on your back with arms at your sides and palms down.
- While exhaling, lift both legs off the floor a few inches.
- Hold for 30 seconds or longer.
- Inhale while lowering legs back to the floor.
Beginner tip: You don’t have to go too high to notice your abs are engaging. If you find it too hard, lift at a lower angle. As you continue to strengthen your core, you’ll notice you can lift your legs higher each time.
Workout at Home With No Equipment Anytime
If working out is a goal of yours this year, now you know you don’t even need a gym membership to do it. Workout at home with no equipment whenever you want to fit in exercise but would rather not be bothered with purchasing workout gear or heading to a gym.
This list of exercises without equipment can be done daily anytime, anywhere. Even if you travel for work, if you have some space to stretch out, then you can workout.
As you advance through the exercises, you may find it gets easier. If that happens, consider which exercises might work well with resistance bands (a bridge) or even light weights (squats).
Now you can get your sweat on anywhere, anytime. No excuses.
Don’t miss our other exercise-related posts to help you in your fitness journey:
- How to Prevent Sore Muscles After a Workout
- 8 Exercises You Can Do Discreetly at Your Desk
- Sedentary Lifestyle VS. Active Lifestyle [Infographic]
- 7 Exercise Tips for Beginners to Get Fit This Summer
Want more? Check out our step-by-step guide to creating 6 Easy Fitness and Wellness Challenges For Any Workplace to help your employees live their healthiest lives.