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Authored by Hannah Cornell, Physical Therapy

Don't have access to a gym or equipment? No worries, bodyweight exercises can be just as effective by simply using the power of gravity. What are bodyweight exercises? Exactly how it sounds. These are movements you can do without equipment to improve your overall strength, endurance, flexibility, and power.

Benefits of bodyweight exercises

Some of you are probably wondering how bodyweight exercises can build muscle mass without weights or other resistant equipment. Bodyweight exercises can build muscle mass by continuing to challenge the muscles. This can be done by increasing the sets or repetitions, slowing down the movement (time under tension), or by performing different variations of the movements.

Here are some examples of bodyweight movements.

Upper body

  • Push-ups
  • Triceps dips (off a chair or bench)
  • Plank up-down
  • Plank step up
  • Plank shoulder tap

Lower body

  • Lunges (forward, reverse, lateral)
  • Bridges (double leg --> single leg)
  • Squats
  • Step-ups
  • Wall sits


  • Bicycles
  • Flutter kicks
  • Leg raises
  • V-ups
  • High plank, elbow plank, side plank


  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • High knees
  • Squat jumps
  • Jumping Jacks

Here are examples of how to incorporate bodyweight exercises into a workout.

Complete 3 rounds of the following:

  • 15 squats
  • 12 alternating forward lunges
  • 10 push-ups
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 16 alternating plank shoulder taps

Complete with little rest between movements to challenge yourself.

*If you get too fatigued, allow a little more rest. Rest is better than completing a movement incorrectly and causing injury.

Complete each movement for 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off (rest). Complete 5 cycles before moving on to the next movement.

  1. Mountain climbers
  2. Plank up-down
  3. Burpees
  4. Flutter kicks
  5. Squat jumps

*If you suffer from any injuries or health issues, it is advised you consult and get cleared from your provider prior to trying these workouts.

Looking for more? See other exercise examples and stretches in action on Gundersen's YouTube channel

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