The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises: The Ultimate Guide for Working Out Anywhere!

Deadshot does his bodyweight training, in between "jobs."

Here are the 42 best bodyweight exercises you can do to build muscle and burn fat, no gym required! 

These are the exact exercises we start our coaching clients on and I’m pumped to share them with you today!

We’ve organized the exercises by major muscle groups (click to jump to those movements):

Plus, we’ll pull it all together at the end so you can create a complete bodyweight workout routine!

Let’s get to it.

The 11 Best Lower-Body Bodyweight Exercises

Buddha isn't trying to lose weight. But he's also zen about you trying to.

You don’t need the gym for “leg day.” Do the following wherever! 

#1) ASSISTED BODYWEIGHT SQUAT (if you can’t do regular bodyweight squats):

Doing assisted bodyweight squats is a great step towards regular bodyweight squats

#2) BODYWEIGHT SQUAT:

Do a proper bodyweight squat to work out your legs

If you want even more instruction, here’s how to do a proper bodyweight squat:

#3) ASSISTED PISTOL SQUAT:

A small stool can help when you first start doing one legged squats!

#4) PISTOL SQUAT:

The one legged "pistol" squat is a great advanced bodyweight movement.

#5) SUPPORTED LUNGES:

Do the assisted lunge until you can do regular lunges

#6) REGULAR LUNGES:

Do Lunges to strengthen your legs for the beginner bodyweight exercises!

#7) SINGLE LEG DEADLIFT:

Doing a deadlift on one lef is a great way lower body bodyweight exercise.

#8) HIP BRIDGE:

Raising your hips of the floor, like so, is how you do the bridge bodyweight exercise.

#9) CALF RAISE:

Just stand on a step, raise your heel , then lower.

#10) STEP UP:

This exercise really is as simple as stepping up and down a box or small secure stool.

#11) BOX JUMP:

Be careful on your box jump! But it is a bodyweight exercise.

The 8 Best Push Bodyweight Exercises

These LEGO characters are on a mission to grow some muscle.

Let’s walk you through the best bodyweight exercises to train your push muscles. We’ll more or less progress in difficulty as we go.

#1) KNEE PUSH-UP:

Knee push-ups like this are a great way to progress to a regular push-up!

#2) ELEVATED PUSH-UP:

Do elevated push-ups to work up to regular push-ups

#3) PUSH-UP:

This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.

We have a whole article on how to do a proper push-up, but we also cover it extensively in this 5 minute video:

#4) DECLINE PUSH-UP:

Decline push-ups like this are a great way to progress your bodyweight exercises.

#5) SIDE-TO-SIDE PUSH-UP:

Steve showing you how to do a side-to-side push up.

#6) ASSISTED DIP:

A resistance band is a great way to get started with this bodyweight exercise.

With a resistance band, you can start performing assisted dips. A great exercise while you build up strength for normal dips.

#7) DIP:

Bodyweight dips are a great exercise to include in an advanced circuit.

Here’s how to do a proper bodyweight dip if you’d like a step-by-step guide.

#8) HANDSTAND (WALL WALK):

The wall walk will help you build strength for a handstand. Be careful here.

The wall walk is a great exercise as you progress into a full handstand. If you’re a complete newbie to turning upside down, check out our guide “Get Your First Handstand” for a full tutorial.

Some of our coaching clients have gotten their first handstand under our watch, which always puts a smile on my face. If you’re interested we’d love to help you too!

The 7 Best Pull Bodyweight Exercises

One arm pull-ups would be a great bodyweight exercise, but let's start you off with something easier.

Don’t neglect your pull muscles when creating your bodyweight workout. Here are the top 7 to include:

#1) INVERTED BODYWEIGHT ROW (HIGH):

A bodyweight row like this is a great "pull" exercise you can while building up strength for pull-ups.

An inverted bodyweight row can be a great “pull” exercise if you can’t do a pull-up yet, or if you don’t have a proper pull-up bar nearby. Because a good sturdy table can be used for inverted rows:

#2) INVERTED BODYWEIGHT ROW (LOW):

As you get lower, like this, the row will be harder to do. Great way to progress into a pull-up.

Once you get comfortable doing an inverted bodyweight row, try going lower to increase the difficulty.

#3) BAR HANG:

Staci showing you the simple yet effective bar hang.

#4A) ASSISTED PULL-UPS (WITH BAND):

Staci using a band for an assisted pull-up, a great exercise for a bodyweight circuit.

A resistance band is a great tool to help build strength for proper pull-ups. It’s part of our arsenal for getting your first pull-up.

#4B) ASSISTED PULL-UPS (WITH BOX):

A box can be used instead of a chair for a pull-up.

#5) NEGATIVE PULL-UPS:

Staci jumping up to do a negative pull-up., a great movement until you can bring regular pull-ups into your circuit.

Once you start to feel confident enough you can do assisted pull-ups and support MOST of your own weight, start looking into negative pull-ups.

Jump and hold yourself above the bar, and then slowly, under control, lower yourself to the ‘starting position’ of a pull-up.

Then repeat!

This is a great way to build up enough strength to eventually get your first pull-up.

#6) PULL-UP:

A pull-up would be considered an advanced bodyweight movement, great for including in your at home training.

We have a full guide on proper pull-up form so you can hone in your technique.

#7) CHIN-UPS:

A chin-up is a pull-up, but with your hands facing towards you.

Much like a pull-up, but with your palms facing toward you.

Here’s a video going over proper pull-up and chin-up form:

Want someone to build you a custom made progression plan for doing your first pull-up?

Our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program will do just that, plus your coach can review your movements through our app so you’ll know your training correctly and safely.

The 11 Best Core Bodyweight Exercises

Wolverine does bodyweight training to keep his muscles strong (his bones already are).

Our next stop on building a bodyweight workout finds us at the core. Here are the 10 best exercises to include:

#1) REVERSE CRUNCH:

The reverse crunch is a great way to engage your core during your bodyweight workout.

#2) KNEE-PLANK:

If you can't do a normal plank, start with doing them on your knees until you can advance.

#3) PLANK:

The plank is a great bodyweight exercise to engage your core muscles.

#4) SIDE PLANK:

Doing a plank on your side is a great way to progressive this bodyweight movement.

#5) HIP BRIDGE HOLD:

#6) HANGING KNEE TUCK:

Much like the standing knee tuck, but utilizing a pull-up bar.

#7) JUMPING KNEE TUCK:

If you have good jumping abilities, you can try the knee jump in the air.

#8) HOLLOW BODY HOLD:

The hollow body is one of the best ways to engage the midsection and stabilize the body. We utilize the hollow body exercise as part of our strategy for getting your first handstand.

The hollow body is a great exercise to practice doing a handstand.

Once you get comfortable holding the position, try…

#9) HOLLOW BODY ROCKING:

Extending your arms will up the difficulty of this handstand workout.

#10) KNEES TO ELBOWS:

If you have a bar to hang from, you can try this core bodyweight exercise.

#11) TOES TO BAR:

This is an advanced move, but is a great core bodyweight exercise.

5 Dynamic BOdy weight Exercises (Full Body)

Batman does bodyweight training during the day, At night he's fighting crime, or jumping out of cakes.

Next, we’ll cover some dynamic full-body exercises to get your heart rate roaring during your workout.

#1) WALKING JACKS:

Do walking jacks if you can't do jumping jacks!

#2) JUMPING JACKS:

Jumping Jacks are a great cardiovascular bodyweight exercise

#3) STAR JACKS:

If you start in a crouch you'll turn your jumping jack into a star jack!

#4) BURPEES:

The infamous burpee bodyweight exercise!

#5) BURPEES WITH PULL-UP (WHAA…):

If you start mixing pull-ups with your burpees, you are rocking it!

How to Build a Bodyweight Workout

You don't need a gym to start strength training, as shown here.

Alright, it’s time to pull this whole guide together and build a bodyweight workout!

We will pick a bodyweight exercise from each section:

We’ll aim for 3 to 4 sets under each category for 8-12 reps.

Plus, we’ll bookend the workout with a dynamic warm-up (DON’T SKIP) and a post-workout stretch.

Your warm-up can look like this:

Your post-workout stretch can look like this:

Example Bodyweight Workout:

  1. Dynamic Warm-Up
  2. Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
  3. Bodyweight Squats: 10 reps
  4. Push-ups: 10 reps
  5. Pull-ups: 10 reps
  6. Reverse Crunch: 10 reps
  7. Repeat 2-6 two more times, for 3 complete circuits.
  8. Post-workout stretch.

Boom!

You now have a bodyweight workout you can do in your own home.

Let's start bodyweight training!

You can mix and match from each category or progress to more difficult moves as you get stronger.

Now, you don’t HAVE to do these exercises at home. You can even do them while exercising around the world, like I did!

If you want to learn all the fine details of building a workout, make sure you check out our extensive guide “How to Build Your Own Workout Routine. It’ll walk you through creating a program of bodyweight exercises – or using weights if you want to train in a gym.

Don’t want to bother creating your own bodyweight workout? No problem, I have two options for you:

Start at the beginner workout and move onto the advanced when it becomes easy.

This should help you get started with a bodyweight training routine. But we hear frequently that people want MORE instruction, MORE guidance, and MORE workouts.

If that’s you, we have MULTIPLE options to take the next step. Pick the option below that best aligns with your goals and timeline:

1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom bodyweight training program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

Nerd Fitness Coaching Banner

2) Good at following instructions? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.

The Academy has 20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, meal plans, a questing system, and supportive community.

3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. 

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating these bodyweight moves into your training.

Alright, your turn: I’d love to hear how your bodyweight training is going!

Did you make your own workout? Try one of ours? Include different moves we didn’t cover today?

Leave a comment below with your results or any questions you have on bodyweight training.

For the Rebellion!

-Steve

PS: I highlighted “42” bodyweight exercises in honor of the late, great Douglas Adams.

A dolphin in honor of Douglas Adams.

###

Photo source: Deadshot, Laughing Budda, 102, 103, 104, hanging, Wolverine, Yeaaaah…. Surprise ladies!!, acrobat

Get The Rebel Starter Kit

Enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • The most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete your first workout today, no gym required.
  • These are the tools you need to start your quest.