Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 17, 2021

Many people want to get fit for their mental and physical well-being but don't know where to start. It's easy to be discouraged about the cost of a gym membership. Buying home exercise equipment is also a pricey proposition. The good news is that you don't need a gym or home fitness equipment to get in shape. There are plenty of exercises that you can do using only your body weight for resistance. Here are five moves you can do for a no-equipment workout at home. 


Lunges are an effective way to work the muscles in your hips and thighs. In addition, they engage your core muscles, including your lower abdominal muscles and lower back muscles. You'll tone your legs and hips while gaining important core strength. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands on your hips.
  • Engage your core muscles.
  • With one leg, take a big step forward
  • Lower your back leg down by bending at the knee, but don't let it touch the ground.
  • Lower your front thigh, so it's parallel to the ground. Your front knee should not project in front of your front foot. 
  • Hold for a count of three.
  • Slowly step back into the starting position.
  • Repeat with the other side. ‌

You can also try variations on regular lunges:

Reverse lunge: Instead of stepping forward, step backward and lower yourself into the lunge position.

Lateral lunge: Step one foot out to the side and let your knee bend. Stretch without bending that knee.‌

Walking lunge: Do a forward lunge, then bring your back foot forward. Your back foot will meet your front foot as you rise, as if you have taken a giant step. Repeat on the other side. 


Squats work all the major muscles in your upper legs, including the quadriceps (four muscles at the front of your thighs), hamstrings (muscles behind your thighs between your hips and knees), and gluteal (buttocks) muscles. For good squat form, you should keep your core engaged and your spine straight. This will tone the muscles in your abdomen, sides, and lower back as well. 

  • Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. 
  • Reach your hands in front of you. You may also rest them behind your head.
  • Bend your knees and hips as if you are sitting down on a chair.
  • Keep your spine and neck upright with your chin level with the ground. 
  • Squat down as low as you can, letting your weight sink into your heels.
  • Slowly rise up to return to the start. 


Planks are a full-body exercise. Planking works your back, shoulder, abdominal, and oblique (side/trunk) muscles all at once. If you are new to planks, you can modify them at first and work up to a full plank as you get stronger.

  • Lie facedown with your arms on the floor. 
  • Keep your feet extended back and close together. 
  • Push up from your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms, keeping your back straight. Use your toes to support your legs.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles while you hold the plank. Try to stay in position for up to 30 seconds. 
  • Lower your body and rest. 

Try these variations on planks as well:

Arms extended: Try a plank with your arms fully extended and your hands flat on the floor. 

Modified plank: Rest your lower body on your knees instead of your toes.


Push-ups are an old stand-by for fitness routines. When you do push-ups, you will use muscles in your arms, chest, abdomen, hips, and legs.

  • Start in a plank position with your arms extended to support your upper body. Place your palms flat against the floor. Keep your feet close together. 
  • Lower your upper body, so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Push back up to complete one rep. 

Variations on push-ups:‌‌

Modified push-up: Rest your knees on the floor instead of using your toes to support your legs. ‌

Wall push-ups: Rest your hands on a wall, shoulder-width apart.  Keep your feet in one spot and bend your elbows to bring your upper body closer to the wall, then push back out.

Box Step-Ups

Doing step-ups up onto a raised surface like a box or a stair is an effective lower body exercise. It uses your hips and legs in a natural manner, so it increases functional strength. If you want to make it more challenging, you can hold something weighted in your hands while you do it.

  • Place a raised box in front of you or stand in front of a stair.
  • Step up with one foot.  Bring up your second foot as if you are climbing stairs. 
  • Step back down one foot at a time.
  • Repeat as many times as you can before feeling fatigued. 

Show Sources


Harvard Health Publishing: "No equipment necessary," "The rise of push-ups: A classic exercise that can help you get stronger," "Straight talk on planking," "Strengthening your core: Right and wrong ways to do lunges, squats, and planks."

Mayo Clinic: "Video: Lunge exercise," "Video: Squats.

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