No Equipment? No Excuses: 20 Exercises You Can Do At Home

Can a decent workout be done? Absolutely. The number one excuse for not working out is a lack of time. I understand that, but the reality is you don’t need a lot of time to get a good workout at home in. You already have the only tool you will ever need to take yourself to peak health and fitness levels, your own body.

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If you are serious about working out at home and changing your body, you should check out No Equipment No Excuses. It is the ultimate workout at home guide. These are the workouts I used to finally change my body. I also outline the nutrition changes I made to get where I am today.

With over 100 exercises to do at home, 66 tailored workouts and 5 long term plans you will never get bored reaching your fitness goals.

Now…here are a few exercises to help you start your own no equipment workout.

Lower Body

BW Squats

Do them with or without the couch. The couch just makes it a bit easier to get your glutes involved, which is really important when it comes to most lower body movements. Make sure to lead with your hips first, the tendency is to bend directly from your knees, but make the first move with your hips, let your knees follow. Once you get the hang of it this becomes a great warmup exercise.

Squat 2 Squat 1

Overhead Squats

This is another variation of the squat that will ensure you stretch out the fascia in the front of your body. The same technique points apply as in the squat, you should move first with your hips. However, this time we want to hold something overhead. In this picture you see me using a broomstick, but you can hold anything you want. If you want to progress, you can hold something heavy. If you want more information about the benefits of this exercise you can read more about Overhead Squats here.

Overhead Squats IMG_0046

Single Leg Squats

These are a tough exercise and a good progression from the squat. You can do them without support, or you can put a chair next to you and hold onto it. Again, be sure to lead from your hips first. These will be quite difficult for people at first, but it is important to persist. Go as deep as you can, you will find your strength and mobility increase and improve and you will become much more efficient with time.

Single Leg SquatIMG_0085

Single Leg Stiff Leg Dead lifts

These will really get your hamstrings going, you don’t need to hold anything as it is tough eccentric work alone. If you want to progress you can hold a heavy book, ball or something of that size out in front of you. Be sure to go down slowly, bend your knee slightly at the start of the exercise but don’t bend it anymore as you are moving. All the movement should come from the hips. As soon as you feel a pull on your hamstring you know you have bent forward enough, slowly bring your body back upright.

Single Leg Dead LiftIMG_0129

This video also shows the exercise in motion.

Overhead Lunges

This is a classic exercise to do at home with a little twist. Holding something overhead really stretches out your fascia and gives you an extra hip flexor stretch. Doesn’t matter what it is. Start with your feet together and step out into the lunge. Ensure that you step far enough so that your knee does not go in front of your toe, and to make sure you get good hip flexor stretches. I use a broom in this picture, but you can also hold a book or something light overhead.

Overhead lungesIMG_0109

Check out this video to see the exercise in motion.

Side Lunges

These are pretty tough, a great alternative to lunges and also give you a stretch in your groin and adductors. Step out to the side and try to keep your toes pointing forward. Go as far down in the lunge as you can, if you feel any pain in the knee stop at that point. You will find as you get stronger you will be able to go further down into your side lunge as you progress. A great workout without weights.

Side LungeIMG_0114

You can also see this exercise in motion.

Calf Raises

If you have a step to do this on it is better, if not no problem. Start with two legs and slowly lower your self. The count should be two beats down and one beat up. If two legs is to easy, move onto one leg. Although this is a very isolated exercise, I find it very important to help keep your knees healthy.

Calf RaisesIMG_0134

Step Ups

These are really good for your legs and your bum. Find a stable chair and you can get started. If the exercise is too easy find something heavy to hold to your chest or put a back pack on your back. Start doing these slowly and controlled on the way down.

Step UpsIMG_0102

Bridges

This is one of my favourite exercises and will really build up your bum. You should start with two legs on the floor, press up through your heels until your body is straight. Once you have mastered the two leg version, you can try the one leg. The same principles apply, push through your heels to make sure you really engage your bum! If that becomes too easy, put your foot up on a chair or couch and really work those glutes!

Bridge 1 Bridge 2

single legbridge IMG_0140

Reverse Hypers

Bit of a different one thrown in here, this is great for your butt. You can also hold onto a table. The important thing is that your hips hang off and your legs don’t touch the ground. Lift up using your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. This exercise is very effective for your posterior chain. Ensure that you lift up slowly.

I haven’t included any explosive/ jumping movements in this list, there are too many and that can be for another post. This is just purely strength work.

Upper Body

Pushups and Alternatives

There are so many alternatives to pushups that you can do at home. Check out this post on Pushups if you want more information about their benefits. You should keep your hands just slightly than shoulder width apart and ensure that your body is straight throughout the whole pushup. Another variation of the pushup is included in this video, 6 exercises to do at home.

knee push ups IMG_0195

Pushup 1 IMG_0193

  • Normal Pushups
  • T Pushups
  • Pushups with weight/ backpack on
  • Single arm Pushups
  • Single arm wall pushups
  • Clap Pushups (explosive)
  • Incline Pushups (easier), you can also get on your knees as shown in the picture.
  • Decline Pushups (Harder, with feet up on something)

Lying Pullups

Admittedly these look a little strange, but they work. If you are going to do pushups, you should do a set of these to balance out. If you have something you can lie under,  such as a fence, two chairs with a broom stick across them or any surface or bar to pull up it is equally effective. These work your upper back.

lying pullup

Tricep Dips

This is a classic exercise that works your triceps. To progress put your feet up onto another chair.

Tricep drips IMG_0220

There are many more upper body exercises to do at home, so make sure your sign up to the blog to receive your free ebook.

Abdominals, Activation, Core and Random Exercises

There is a massive amount of different ab exercises out there. There are a lot of situp variations that many of you are familiar with, I prefer you start working with prone holds to help save your lower back.

Prone Hold and Variations

In my opinion these are the ultimate ab exercise. Not only will you work your core and get rock hard abs, you will also save your back. being able to perform these for more than 2 minutes has been shown to decrease back pain considerably. If you want great abs, you should be including these. If you want to see more variations, check out this post on Prone Holds.

prone holds

Supermans

These are great for stability, a good addition to your workout without weights. You will activate your glutes, as well as help your core and abs in the push up position version. Make sure you do the movement slowly and hold at the top for a beat. Once you get a hang of the ones on the floor, you can progress to the version in the push up position.

Supermans IMG_0336  IMG_0337

Glute Lifts

Great for activating and strengthening your bum. Bend your leg to 90 degrees, and then push your heel to the roof. This will ensure you are squeezing your bum muscles, and will help to activate them. Your bum is really important in a lot of movements so you want to make sure it’s functioning properly.

Glute Lifts IMG_0149

Arabesque

This one is great for activating your bum and is a really good balance exercise. Try to hold for 30 seconds. You’ll feel your quad too. You can do this on or off the cushion, the cushion just makes it harder and adds extra stability work.

arabesque

Dead Bugs

A great abdominal and core stability workout. Lay on the floor with your arms and legs up as shown in the picture. From here you need to drop your arm and leg on the same side. Make sure your leg doesn’t touch the floor. Bring them slowly back up and repeat.

dead bugs IMG_0385

Inchworm

I like this one. It’s almost a flexibility one but I can throw it in there because it is working stabilizers and upper body a little. Hence it comes under the random tag. Gets the hamstrings loose and well as hitting your shoulders and core as you move down into the pushup position.

Bird Dog

Another one for activating your bum, as well as working on core stability. Alternate sides and hold for a second once your arm and leg are in the air. Make sure your body is straight.

bird dog

Just remember you can always exercise at home without equipment and I hope this list opens your eyes to how easily you can get a full body workout. If you have any favourite home exercises without equipment that you do, leave a comment!

If you are serious about losing fat and changing your body for good then you are at the right place. If you are willing to put in a little bit of effort to make amazing changes, then you should check out this customized home workout program. Click the banner below to read more about how I used all the exercises above (and more) and made key nutrition changes to get my body to where it is today.

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Comments

  1. dope540 says

    wow! very nice post lauren. will come in handy when im working at the hospital and staying in doctors accommodation.

  2. David says

    These look really fun, thanks a bunch.
    They are going to be helpful during study breaks for me, help with the stress relief.

  3. says

    GREAT post! I”m all about gym-free fitness and always looking for more ways to do resistance training without equipment. These are great. Thank yoU!

  4. Lauren says

    G’day Jay

    I wouldn’t take much notice of it from your point of view. I think he is basically saying that JUST doing tubing won’t develop the eccentric part of that movement, which is basically your upper back muscles stopping the arm, or decelerating it. If a boxer just did this exercise he would only develop the concentric phase, which is the pecs and shoulders pushing forward. Which is all that exercise would do using any apparatus. It won’t train the back to decelerate the arm. Basically he’s not making a whole lot of sense…even though partially he is right.

    Resistance bands are very safe and good for you to use at home or at work. I wouldn’t only use them as you want to be lifting a bit heavier sometimes and you want to have a different stimulus.

    Hope that explains it.

  5. Young Athlete says

    Inch worm is tough, animal movements are great for a warm up. We do them a lot at speed camp. Seriously though if you can’t get into a gym, just find a local play ground and you can do an awesome workout on the monkey bars. Be creative.

  6. says

    Great article Lauren. Im a big fan of bodyweight workouts. I also really like to do handstand pushups. They’ve helped me through some plateaus with my presses.

    -Justin

  7. says

    how does the box in the BW squat work on the glutes?

    Also, spotted your Wii fit in one of the pics, what do you think of it? useful, or useless? (I’m thinking of getting one as a compliment to what i’m doing at the moment)

    Great article BTW! I’m about to start using a local gym, but having more things to do at home will definitely help out.
    Cheers

  8. Lauren says

    hey Alistair,

    Box squats makes sure you lead with your butt when you squat, which really makes them kick in.

    Yeah I like the wii fit, it has some really cool balance stuff on it I use a lot

  9. x says

    Hey, I know this is the wrong section to do this but I sent you an e-mail asking you what you think about Zig-Zagging/Calorie shifting, and I just figured it’d be easier if you could respond on here I guess.

  10. says

    Lauren this article is tops! do you mind if I put a direct link to it from my site? I think there is significant information in here that shows that you can workout anywhere, anytime! Love the vids too – you rock! (good luck in the pre-season as well!)

    Jamie Atlas

  11. Lauren says

    hey jamie, of course you can put a link. thanks…pre season is tough. absolutely no time and still can’t feel my legs. Off to prague on wednesday, hopefully things can settle down soon.

  12. Amy says

    Thank You So Much for your website.. the only problem I am having is I had a car wreck back in May of last year… so I cant support myself on one foot at all. So the things such as lunges I am incapable of doing. I would do them if I could bend that way. lol. But I cant bend my right leg at all if it is not being supported at the exact same time as my left. It just doesnt bend. Yes I am allowed to work out my doc says and am going to physical therapy.. but my body has really gotten out of shape since the accident.
    Do you think it would be possible to e-mail me and let me know of the things that would be best for my circumstances…. and also… I need to work out my back..? Any exercises for the back? How many times should I do each one also?

    Thank You sooooo much for all your help!!
    I wish you had 50 exercises to do at home. :)
    Thank you!!!!! :)

  13. NEil McInnis says

    Good Article. I hate drivi g to the gym and only have free weights at home and a treadmill! Boo! Thanks. Mainly its nice because I forget some of these while im working out.

  14. RYAN HIRSCH says

    i thought of another exercise you can do, to workout your abs. lay down on the floor and lift your legs up, with you still laying on the floor. and keep your legs straight, as you lift them up

  15. RYAN HIRSCH says

    and there is always push ups, of all kinds and sit ups you can do, not to mention the various methods of stretching your legs, lower back, back, shoulders and chest and arms, you can do.

  16. says

    I think learning these exercises is important for anyone looking to get fit and stay in shape, not only for those who don’t have access to equipment. Keeping this kind of knowledge at hand is important for when you gym has to close (like mine does over christmas), or you happen to go on a long distance trip and want to follow your routine tightly….

  17. says

    Im young but i found this website really usfull, b’cause i didn’t know half of these!! its great to find new excersises at home, so you can watch T.V or listen to music as you do them! Great website!!!!

  18. says

    Lauren,

    Body weight routines are great when you just can’t hit the weights or when traveling. I always seem learn something new about myself.

    I like your exercise choices. Another exercise I’ve found to be really effective is isometric wall squats with calf raises added for difficulty.

    -Mitchell

  19. says

    Good luck to anyone wanting to change there lifestyle for the better, stay strong focused and patient it can take time, accept this with the right knowledge then your realistic goals should be achievable. Please anyone trying to lose weight unhealthy change your thoughts and method do it the right way the possitive healthy way and it will be easier to maintain for the long term

  20. Gus, Lily, Emma says

    hahha, i tried these and they are FABULOUS. is there any more you could put up? thanks and we are super fit now. Thanks alot and for anyone out there who is feeling unfit try these they are super good.
    Love Lily, Emma and Gus :) x

    • Lauren says

      Oh there is a lot more coming. Check out the recent posts and keep your eyes out for a new ebook/ program coming out!

  21. Health is wealth says

    Thanks a ton! I like almost all of your exercises which are very easy to do at home. I’m doing these since years and would like to recommend them to all as they are simply beneficial. There are lots and lots of them which we can do at home to make us flexible and stay in shape.

  22. says

    I am a huge fan of exercising at home. I haven’t had a gym membership in over 20 years, and I am a marathon runner. I have a few pieces of inexpensive equipment like medicine balls, exercise mats and yoga balls, but other than that, my running shoes work just fine. I save on gym memberships and I still get a workout. The only problem is that if you plan to workout at home, you need to make sure you schedule time in your day and stick to it. You must be dedicated and continue to remind yourself that it is an investment into your long term health. Great information. Thanks for sharing.

  23. momma lady says

    Hi,

    I really appreciate you offering this advice for working out at home. I have three small children and a husband and household to care for….not much time left for going anywhere that isn’t related to caring for all of that.
    I’m a wannabe exerciser but have a really hard time knowing what to do or how. I am planning on using these movements and some others, if I can find some more ideas online, to start a ‘housewife workout’ routine.
    I wanted to ask though….is it possible to work off a belly overhang? I have strong muscles throughout my body and have been losing weight for over a year (since my last child was born). My goal is to be strong, have great stamina, and if possible have no belly overhang. Is it even possible through fat loss and working out?

    • Lauren says

      To get rid of that belly hang you actually need to lose fat. Fat loss is the key and you can’t spot reduce. It is absolutely possible, just keep going you sound like you are on a great way.

  24. Martin says

    Great page Lauren you have done a thorough job explaining these exercises. I only have one question for you. By watching Dr. Phil while working out, do you feel that it motivates you even further, or do you simply enjoy watching silly middle-aged bald men with moustaches?

    Best regards from Globetrotting Martin!

  25. Ashley says

    how long would you say, we would need to work out for. like for doing each one? im trying to lose weight because of my blood pressure. That and i am getting married next year, so i kinda wanna lose some weight for the honeymoon. lol

  26. says

    Aloha Lauren!
    I love your blog and find the excercises very inspiring. There is one question I have though. I can do all you lower body strengthening and walk at least 5 miles 5 x week and 14 x 2, so I am pretty fit, however, I have been injured and can only use one arm, my left (I am right handed) arm. What excercises would you have me do for the upper body? I’d really appreciate your input.
    Mahalo and Aloha
    Peggy

  27. says

    Hey Lauren,

    I have been working out on the bowflex revolution I bought recently. Well it was for my husband. However, I like what you have here. I am looking to change up my routine. I want to lose 10 lbs in one month, but need help. What do you suggest.

  28. says

    Basically … its good. Am a marathoner, aside the basic training for sprinters and long distance runners that its been given to us.its very essential. most of the GYM don`t have good instructors and its cost effective. I trained @ home and sometime in the office its only on weekend i go for roadwork. even the Bible said it,,, “little exercise is good for the body”

  29. Beth says

    Wow gr8 blog thx 4 sharing this with us I rarely don’t have time for exercise I am nearly always active and I love to swim but it was still helpful!! And Amanda I know I am not Lauren but it is unsafe to lose too much in a short space of time.

  30. Brianna says

    I’ll try these for sure. I’m moving soon, and i want to be somebody everybody will recognize. Everyone says I’m really pretty, but Im not fit. So hopefully this’ll help.

  31. says

    i think this a really good sight and it was very smart of you to put this on here cause some people don’t like gyms like me cause they are to crowded with gross sweaty human beings

  32. kine says

    all those that require thorough bending of the knees put unneeded pressure on those joints.

    Not to be recommended on the long run

    all others are very good

  33. Ali says

    Thanks for the pointers. I’m told Iam in shape but I want to keep it fit. My mother conplains about her weight so this should help more. We don’t have equipment so using our couch should be fun. Thanks again!!

  34. Monica Melton says

    Good ideas, I was doing the chair lifts, and leg lifts, and of course crunches but you gave me alot more ideas to help me get back in shape

  35. cie says

    Your advice on Psoas, pects and using tennis balls is great and
    i did these last night, for the first time in 9mos. i crawled
    out of bed this am and had very little pain. i plan to start your
    exercises on this page also..such wonderful help and you are difinetly knowledgable .LAUREN thank you very very much
    georgia/usa

  36. Amanda says

    I found this very useful…..i need to lose 65lbs…..so i can Get back into shape! Just dont like what i see …..i want to feel sexy again….

  37. says

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  38. Nina says

    WOW!! Great blog! I have been trying to lose weight for a long time and now finaly I found a great program! Thank you so so much :)

  39. Kim says

    Thank you very much! I have recently started trying to get in shape. I have been running 3-4 times a week but I need to add strength training to gain muscle and be fit but didn’t really know where to start other than the standard sit ups and push ups. These are great suggestions and I will definitely incorporate several of these exercises into my routine.

  40. Kayleigh Harrower says

    Hey, I’m home for the holidays without the gym so looked at some of your exercises, I wanted to break them up into two workouts and do each twice a week, which exercises should I do together? I’m usually told opposite muscle groups, not sure how to pair them though, thanks!

    • Lauren says

      Hey Kayleigh,

      You’re not wrong, usually if you are working out four times a week and splitting the workout you basically don’t want to do the same muscle groups within 24 hours of each other…but that depends on how hard you are working as well.

      May I suggest a better idea? Try this workout 3 times a week http://laurensfitness.com/2012/12/12/beginners-workout-routine-exercise-at-home/, and once or twice a week go for a long walk for at least 45 minutes. This will give you a lot better results than pairing some of these exercises together, the idea sets and reps are already there for this workout.

      If you really want to do the strength work four days a week I would say the easiest split is upper + core and lower body. Make sure you subscribe and download your free ebook, there are quite a few more exercises on there you can add to the upper body and core section as it is not so big in this post. Let me know if this helps or if you prefer a more detailed split!

      • Kayleigh Harrower says

        Thanks! I usually run everyday but wanted to start getting back into doing exercises, usually do core but haven’t been working upper body or legs in a while..I will give that link a try three times a week and see how it goes, thanks for the speedy response :)

  41. says

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  42. says

    Working out at home rocks. Going to a fitness center seems more like a distraction. The equipment can get dirty. You have to wait in line. I like the privacy of exercising in my own living room, running on a trail, or walking through a park.

    You list 20, but we both know that there are thousands of at home workouts.

  43. says

    I know regular strength work is essential for long term health . . . but have struggled to find regular times to get to a gym each week. Thanks to your blog – that is no longer an excuse!

    • says

      Hey Jimmy! These are just the exercises, if you sign up to my blog I will send you more exercises plus 3 free workouts you can start doing.

  44. Hannah says

    Hi
    I think your blog is great and really helpful compared to others ive read. iv’e put on weight on my stomach and arms since being at university for the last few years and am due to go on holiday in a few months
    can you suggest a workout routine or a few exercises i can do specifically for these areas please?

    • says

      Hi Hannah! Thanks for your comment. So if you sign up to the blog you get two free workouts that you can start doing at home, and will help you with this. Remember that you can’t actually spot reduce fat. General exercise and good nutrition will get you the arms and stomach you want!

  45. says

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  46. says

    I couldn’t agree more with your blog. Great exercises, and perspectives on an anywhere workout system. One reason I couldn’t agree more, is I have a similar site called Workout Anywhere, http://www.workoutanywhere.net. Who needs an expensive gym membership or has a surplus of free hours each day for exercise. We provide new, weekly workouts much like yours.

    Great work! Hope to see more soon.

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  51. DK says

    Wanted to say thank you. I use exercises explained on your web page when I could not afford to buy the DVD a doctor wanted me to buy. Money being a major factor, I am not going to a gym either and the exercises here seem to be meeting my physical therapy needs at home. I was happy to find this site.

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  54. says

    Great article……I love exercises that utilize your own body weight and don’t require any equipment. Proper form is the most important element when doing any exercise (with or without equipment) and will produce the best results:)

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