In this article I want to share with you the best exercises that you can do without weights, in the privacy of your own home. Even though these exercises use no weights whatsoever, they are still very effective. You can burn a lot of fat and tone your muscles with these exercises.
I will go over your major muscle groups one by one and provide you with one or more exercises to target each one. Combine these exercises into your own home workout and just enjoy yourself.
Push Up – Primary Muscle: Chest – Secondary: shoulders, triceps
The best chest exercise which doesn’t require any weights is the push-up. Before you start groaning “boring”, let me just say that there are a wide variety of push-ups that you can do and we’ll go over some of them here. To do a push-up which primarily targets the chest, place both palms on the floor at about shoulder width apart (or slightly wider) and descend to the floor while pushing your elbows away from your body. Keep the movement slow and even.
Here are a couple of variations of the push-up:
- Place your legs on a sofa or chair or another elevated platform and perform the push-up as normal. This will be harder and targets the upper parts of the chest.
- Place your hands on an elevated platform to target the lower part of the chest and make the exercise easier.
- To make this exercise really easy (for people who can’t do a push-up yet), do the exercise on your knees instead of on your toes.
Triceps Push-up – Primary Muscle: Triceps – Secondary: Chest, Shoulders
A separate variation of the push-up targets the triceps. This is an effective exercise that you can do at home. The differences between a regular push-up and a triceps push up are two:
- Close hands – You need to place your hands on the floor very close together. I place them so the thumbs of both hands touch each other.
- The elbows need to remain close to your sides as you do the exercise. The closer they are, the more you target your triceps.
The variation of the regular push-up apply here as well.
Triceps Dips – Primary Muscles: Triceps
To do this exercise you need a sturdy chair, a coffee table or a sofa (or bed). You need to support yourself with your palms on the seat of the chair (or the other piece of furniture that you’re using) with your back to it. Stretch your legs on the floor so that your heels are all that’s touching the floor. Lower yourself down until you create a 90 degree angle with your elbows. Raise yourself up until your arms are straight. This is one repetition.
To make this exercise harder you can place some books on your lower stomach. However, for most people no weight is needed with this exercise.
Squats – Primary Muscles: Quadriceps – Secondary: Glutes, calves, hamstrings
The squat is one of the most effective exercises to tone your legs. To do it, you should stand with both legs at about shoulder width apart and your hands held out in front of you. Bend both knees together and push your butt backward so your knees don’t pass your toes. Go down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle (more will place a lot of tension on your knees). Make sure to keep your back straight the whole time. Keep your eyes looking forward.
Lunges – Primary Muscle: quadriceps – Secondary: glutes, calves
To do a lunge simply place your hands on your hips or at your sides. Take a step forward with your right leg and bend both knees, lowering your body to the floor. Stop before your left knee touches the ground. Make sure your right knee doesn’t pass your toes. Rise and step back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg to work your body symmetrically.
Australian Pull -Up: Primary: Back, Biceps – Secondary: Shoulders
This is the best back exercise without weights to tone your back at home. You will need some things, however: two strong and high chairs and a pole of some sort that can bear your weight. Some people use wooden broom handles but it’s your responsibility to use a pole which is strong enough to bear your weight.
Place the two chair facing each other and the pole with either end on the seat of each chair. You need to make sure that the pole won’t slip. Get down on the floor and slide until you’re underneath the pole with it above your chest.
Grab the pole with both hands slightly over shoulder width apart. The grip is very important: an overhand grip will be harder and will target the back muscles more. An underhand grip targets the biceps more and is easier.
Keep your legs stretched out on the floor and pull your upper body up toward the pole. Your heels should be the only thing touching the floor. Keep the movement slow and even. Try to bring your chest as close to the pole as you can.
One way to make this exercise easier is to bend your legs and place both soles on the floor. I usually begin the set with stretched legs and bend them when I get tired.
Calf Raise: Primary Muscle: Calves
You can do this exercise while standing on the floor or, more effectively, standing on a stair.
I’ll explain how to do it on a stair: stand with both legs on the edge of the stair so that your toes are on the stair and your heel is in the air. Hold onto the rail. Descend by letting your heels fall below the level of the stairs. Raise yourself up so that you’re on your toes with your heels above the stair.
This is a very effective way to work the calves. You can do this with one leg for added intensity. Doing calf raises on the floor is similar with a limited range of motion.
Hip Extension: Primary Muscle: Buttocks
Hip extensions are a very effective exercise to tone your butt. You can see how this exercise is performed in the picture to the right.
To do a hip extension, you need to get down on your hands and knees while keeping your back parallel to the floor. Raise one leg to the level of your back and keep it bent. The movement is simple: raise your leg further, crunching your butt muscles. Don’t arch your back too much. Return to the starting position and repeat.
You can also do this exercise with a straight leg. I like to do both variations as it makes things more interesting. Don’t forget to do the exercise with both legs.
One leg Bridge: Primary muscle: Hamstring
To work your hamstring at home is easy with this exercise. Lie on the floor with one leg bent at the knee and on the floor and the other stretched and in the air. Lift your butt and lower back off the floor. You will feel the hamstring in the bent leg working like crazy. Lower your butt down for one repetition. Repeat several times for a complete set and then switch legs.
Reverse Crunches: Primary muscle: Abs
To do a reverse crunch you need to lie on your back on the floor and bend both legs. lift your legs so they’re off the floor. Stretch both arms by the sides of your body. With your abs, bring both legs toward your chest. Hold for a second and bring them down again but make sure they don’t touch the floor until the end of the set.
This is just a sample of the possible exercises without weights that you can do at home to burn calories and get fitter and leaner. You should combine these to make your own workout routine that you enjoy doing. Make sure to workout at least 3 times a week to keep your body in shape and your body fat down.