The Do-Anywhere Bodyweight Workout

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Having a solid bodyweight workout up your sleeve is something I think every person should have. Life just simply provides us too many opportunities where we don’t have access to a gym or even equipment. And while it would be easy to forgo your workout during these times, that doesn’t have to be the case!

Today, I’m sharing 10 of my favorite bodyweight exercises that can truly be done anywhere. So, whether your workout is being derailed by a snowstorm, travel, or simply having a limited amount of time to move your body, I got you covered!

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In order to keep your heart rate up and really work up a sweat, complete this workout as a circuit, meaning go through one set of each exercise and then move onto the next one. You’ll then complete three rounds to finish up all sets of each exercise.

Be sure to properly warm-up and cool-down before and after your workout! That could look like some steady cardio, such as walking or running to get your heart rate up, or a dynamic warm-up that consists of bodyweight squats, walking lunges, kneeling push-ups, etc. Your cool-down could include some stretching, or even some yoga postures, helping your body repair and recover more quickly!

Please consult with your medical provider before beginning any new exercise program.

The Do-Anywhere Bodyweight Workout:

1. Squats

3 sets of 10-15 reps

Stand with feet shoulder width apart- your toes can be pointed straight forward or slightly turned out. Sit back through the hips as though you’re going to sit in a chair behind you, bring your weight into your heels as the knees bend, and keep your chest lifted and chin level with the floor as you lower. Press through your heels to stand back up to your starting position.  

Options: Feel free to squat to a chair, your couch, or an ottoman as you build strength in the legs and mobility in the hips and knees. This will not only help you build strength, but it will also help you sit your hips back, while determining how low your squats should be.

2. Jumping Jacks

3 sets of 15-20 reps

Stand with knees gently bent and arms down by your side. Bend your knees more deeply to jump your feet out to the sides as you lift the arms up overhead into a V-shape. Jump your feet back together as you bring your arms down by your side to return to your starting position.  

Options: To limit the impact on the knee joints, as the arms go up, take one foot out to the side, alternating side to side each time the arms go overhead. This will eliminate the jumping action in order to avoid any discomfort in the knees.

3. Push-ups

3 sets of 10-12 reps

From all fours, place your hands a little wider than shoulder distance apart. Step the feet back and lift up your knees so they are in line with your shoulders to come into a high plank-like position. Keeping the abdomen pulled in towards the spine, lower the body down, bringing elbows out to the side to hover above the floor. Press into the hands to return to the high plank-like position.

Options: A foam or cork block under the chest can be a great tool to help you determine just how low your push-ups should be. Bending the knees while doing push-ups is a fantastic way to build strength, while maintaining proper alignment. If you are taking care of wrists, push-ups against the wall are a wonderful variation to try, or roll your fingers under to place fists on the floor rather than your palms.

4. Lunges

3 sets of 10-20 reps each side

Standing with feet hip distance apart, transfer your weight over to your right foot and step the left foot straight back behind you. Lower the left knee to hover above the floor as you bend your right knee. While bending the right knee, keep the knee over the middle of your foot. If you are seeing that the knee is going in front of your toes, bring your left leg further back behind you, taking a wider stance. Engage your core, press down through your right heel, and return the left foot next to your right to come back to your starting position.

Options: If you have the space, you can turn these into walking lunges, alternating from side to side with each lunge. If space is limited, simply alternate lunges on each side. If you really want to fatigue the muscles, complete all reps on one side before moving to the other. If your working towards increasing your balance, feel free to complete your reps next to a chair or a wall during those times you feel unsteady.

5. Plank

3 sets of 10-30 second holds

From all fours, place your elbows and forearms onto the floor, keeping your elbows underneath your shoulders. Bring your knees a little behind the hips, roll your toes under and lift your knees to bring hips in line with your shoulders. To come out of the exercise, lower your knees back to the floor and press back up onto your hands to return to your starting position of all fours.

Options: Kneeling planks are a great way to build core strength, while maintaining proper alignment. If the pressure of the elbows on the floor is uncomfortable, feel free to place a blanket underneath the elbows for additional padding.

6. Side Plank

3 sets of 10-30 second holds each side

From all fours, bring your right elbow down to the floor and bring your forearm parallel to your chest. Shift your weight over to your right elbow, and with your elbow remaining under your right shoulder turn your body to face the left side as you lengthen your legs. You can choose to stack one foot in front of the other to provide a bit more stability, or stack one foot on top of the other to challenge your balance.

Options: A kneeling side plank is a great option to maintain proper alignment, while building strength through the oblique muscles (sides of the torso). From a kneeling side plank position, you could raise the top leg in line with the hip to build strength through the hip abductors (outer hip). Feel free to place a blanket underneath the elbow if placing it on the floor becomes uncomfortable.

7. Plank-ups

3 sets of 10-12 reps

From all fours, place your hands a step or two in front of the shoulders. Step the feet back and lift up your knees so they are in line with your shoulders to come into a high plank-like position- your hands will now be directly under your shoulders. As you inhale, lower down to your elbows and forearms, maintaining the same alignment of your hips and shoulders. When you exhale, press back up into your hands to return to the high plank position.

Options: Plank-ups with your knees bent to the floor are a wonderful variation that will not only build strength, but will also place less pressure on the wrist joints. You can also roll your fingers under to place fists on the floor rather than your palms to help further eliminate wrist discomfort.

8. Curtsy Lunge

3 sets of 10-20 reps each side

Standing with feet hip distance apart, step your left leg diagonally behind you towards the right side. Lower your left knee to hover above the floor as you bend into your right knee, keeping the knee over the middle of your right foot. Press into the right heel as you return the left foot back to your starting position.

Options: You can alternate from side to side as you complete each rep or to really fatigue the muscles, stick to one side as you complete each rep before moving onto the other. If you are working towards increasing your balance, feel free to complete these close to a chair or wall for those times you feel unsteady.

9. Bridge pose

3 sets of 10-20 reps

Lie on your back with knees bent and soles of your feet planted on the floor. With arms pressed down by your sides, press into the heels and upper arms to lift the hips as you inhale. Keep the knees aligned with your hip, squeeze the glutes at the top of the lift, and avoid moving your head from side to side while the hips are raised. With your exhale breath, lower the hips back to the floor.

Options: To ensure proper tracking of the knee joints, place a foam or cork block in-between the thighs. Pressing into the block will not only ensure the knees remain in line with the hips, but it will also strengthen the hip adductors (inner thighs). You can also change this to a single leg bridge, challenging your balance and increasing your strength.

10. Inchworms

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Standing with your feet hip distance apart, bring a gentle bend into your knees. Reach your hands towards the floor to create a forward fold position. Walk your hands forward until you reach a high plank position with hips in alignment with your shoulders. Begin to walk your feet in towards your hands to return to the forward fold-like position. With knees bent, slowly stand back up to your starting position.

Options: If you are experiencing a lot of sensation through the hamstring muscles (backs of thighs) when hands and feet are together, feel free to bend your knees any amount to limit the amount of strain through that area of the body. You can also lower your knees to the floor to come into a kneeling plank position, which is a great option for building core strength while maintaining proper alignment.

Photos by Kelly Carey Photography taken at Freeport Yoga Company.

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