There are almost as many excuses for not exercising as there are people who make them. Not enough time, you might say to yourself. Can’t find the perfect activity, you lament. And so on. We all know how it goes. But have you ever considered that it might be easier to throw in the metaphorical towel on excuses and just get your keister moving? There are a boatload of powerful exercises you can do anywhere—with no equipment required.
To get you started, check out the handful of examples below. These exercises will strengthen each muscle group using nothing but your own body weight. So grab some comfy clothes and get ready. Heck, you don’t even need to put your shoes on for these beauties.
Planks: A classic plank is as simple as it gets, and it works every muscle group on the front side of your body. Planks are a dynamic method for strengthening your core (and more), and the only thing you really need is enough floor space to fit your body. If you flip over for a reverse plank, you’re suddenly using a bunch of muscles on the backside of your body. And side planks take care of those (you got it) side muscles. If you’re ready for a challenge, work your way up to a solid plank that lasts ninety-plus seconds straight. Planks not your thing? You’ll find similar results if you perfect the art of the pushup.
Squats: If you think squats are only good for building up the muscles in your thighs, think again. When done properly, squats can get your glutes and lower back muscles in shape too. And for a bit more oomph, add resistance of some kind. A thick encyclopedia should do the trick (that is, if you still have one on of those lying around). You just need enough room to go from standing to bending at the knees (with your tush sticking out a bit). Once that’s taken care of, you can fit these babies in anywhere. By golly, you could even raddle off ten in the bathroom stall at work.
Dips: Here’s something for the triceps, which (as most of us know) have a stubborn tendency to get jiggly. Dips don’t require any specific exercise equipment, but you’ll need a low table or simple chair (no wheels, please). A slow, controlled dip mainly works your triceps, but your shoulders and chest will thank you too.
Calf raises: Frankly, I never saw the point of calf raises until my hubby and I joined a group exercise class. In one of our first sessions, the instructor said we’d be doing calf raises. No biggie, I thought. Then we got to it. We did calf raises with every variation you can think of: traditional with toes pointed forward; toes pointed inward; toes pointed outward; calf raises with one foot alternately lifted off the ground. After that, my mind was forever changed on the question of whether or not calf raises are an effective form of exercise.
Calf raises are often performed at the end of a step, but that’s not to say you need a stairwell to do them. You may need a wall to keep yourself from tipping over the first few times you perform the alternate foot version. Luckily, walls are abundant no matter where you find yourself in this world. If you’re in a spot where you can stand up, you can do calf raises.
The Superman: If you’re a fan of caped superheroes, you’re gonna love this one—and so will your back. This lower back exercise may not turn you to a life of fighting crime, but you’ll look a little something like its namesake in flight. More to the point, a slow, controlled set of Superman exercises will invigorate your back muscles. All you need is a little floor space. (Just to be on the safe side, remove all kryptonite from the area.)
There you have it. Five powerful exercises you can do anywhere, with no equipment required. Two to three reps of each will work all of your major muscle groups, and you’ll get stronger every day. When you’re ready, you can add more simple exercises to your routine. If you’re not sure where to start, just search online for “body weight exercises.” I also recommend getting yourself a copy of Health Is Simple, Disease Is Complicated by James Forleo, DC. You’ll find all kinds of no-equipment-required exercises to keep your body strong and healthy.
Do you have any favorite exercises you can do anywhere? And what’s the most interesting spot you’ve ever tried to perform your exercises at?
Image from iStock/Electra-K-Vasileiadou.