Top 25 Bodyweight Exercises: Know 'Em, Nail 'Em

| Fitness

These no-excuse exercises require nothing but gravity. Although you can often use pullup bars, TRX straps and mini bands for resistance, Skinny Mom loves a no-equipment workout! Real Mom Model Jean Sherfick shows you the top six moves that, together, give you a total-body workout: upper body, lower body, plyometrics, core and stretching. The best aspect of bodyweight moves is the ability to modify them to meet you at your fitness level. The top 25 exercises are listed below with instructions on how to properly execute them to be the most efficient during your next sweat sesh!

Jean is wearing Mossimo leggings from Target and a Montiel tank.


Inch Worm: This works your core and upper body as you roll the torso down and walk your hands out into a high plank. Inch your feet toward the hands and repeat. Click here to learn more.

inch worm

Side Climber: Begin in a high plank and bend the knees as you jump them to one side of your body, aiming for the elbow. Return to your high plank, then repeat on the other side. Modification: Bring only one knee to the outside of one elbow, foot on the floor. Drop to your knees if needed. Click here for step-by-step photos.


Single Leg Calf Raise: Use a wall or countertop for balance if you need it while you cross one foot behind you and roll through the ball of your standing foot. Make yourself tall. Lock the core! Click here for more info.


Jumping Lunges: This is the peak of the workout here as you incorporate plyometrics and cardio. Jump the legs into perfect 90-degree lunges; keep the front knee behind the toes. Use your arms for power. Click here to see the move in our fitness index.


Chaturunga: Start in your downward dog to high plank, then bend your elbows back against your ribcage like a tricep push up. Push the top of your head through your arms like a turtle peeking out of its shell. Lift and open the chest; hips off the floor. Try it in the Sun Salutation B sequence!

chaturanga dandasana


Tuck Jump: Standing with feet under just outside of the shoulders. Drop into a half squat, then throw your arms back and up as your explode from the floor, bringing the knees as high as you can. Land softly like a ninja. Click here for more info.

tuck jumps

Walking Lunges: Aim for 90-degree bends in both knees, keeping the front knee behind the toes. Chest stays up and open and the back knee drops to the floor or at least 2 inches from it. Click here for more info.


Bridge Lifts: Lie on your back with hands at your sides and feet close to the hips. Pull the belly button into the spine to create a “scoop” in the belly. Squeeze the glutes when you lift. Roll back down. Click here for more.


Fire Hydrant: Come to all fours with hands a little wider than the shoulders and knees about six inches apart. Squeeze the glutes as you open one leg up, keeping the knee bent. Keep your weight even! Here are step-by-step instructions.


Power Squat: Drop down into squat and pause for a second. Then explode up into a jump. Land with soft knees and immediately get back into your squat. Click here to try it for a skinny minute!



Mountain Climber: Work the core, shoulders and heart. Start in a high plank and run one knee to the chest. Kick it back as the other knee comes forward. Shoulders stay over hands and hips stay in line. Modification: Instead of a run, pull one leg in at time, bring them together and pull up the other leg. Click here to learn more.


Burpee: This dreaded full-body move begins by bending the knees until your hands reach the floor. Jump the legs out into a plank and then jump in, bringing the feet to the outside of the hands and jump up! Modification: Walk the legs in and out of the plank. Here are more photos.

Burpee Grouped


Superman: Don’t neglect the upper back! Lie on your belly and reach your arms in front of you. Lift them by squeezing the shoulder blades together as you lift the legs by squeezing the glutes. Try not to press your belly button into the floor. Try it for a skinny minute!


Chair Pose: Another upper back exercise and core stabilizer is the chair. Bring your feet together, exhale and bend the knees. Raise the arms overhead and open the chest so the shoulder blades nearly touch. Look up and breathe. Here's more info if you're interested.


Boat Crunch: Lie on your back and bend your knees until they’re over your hips. Extend the legs out as the upper body dips back, making a wide “V” shape, then crunch back to the starting position. Modification: Come to your elbows and focus on the leg extension. See it here.


Hip Crossover: This is a great stretch and core and back strengthener. Lie on your back with your arms out in a “T” position for support, palms down. Cross the legs side to side without peeling your shoulders off the ground. See more photos here.



Kneeling Clam Shells: Lie on one side and prop yourself up on your elbow or hand. Bend the knees and stack them so you can “open” the top leg. Squeeze the bottom oblique! Click here for more instructions.


High Plank: Just because there’s no movement here, don’t disregard the benefits. Hands are outside the shoulders, feet together. Squeeze through the inner thighs and lats with rounded shoulders. Breathe. Click here for more info!


Star Plank: Time to shine and work your core harder than ever! Start in a regular plank, then walk the hands in front of you and to the side as the feet walk out to the sides. Stay flat. See it done here.

star plank

Side Plank Dips: Come to a low plank on your elbows and open up to one side, elbow under the shoulder. Stack or stagger your feet. Dip the hip toward the floor and squeeze the oblique to crunch it up while you exhale. Modification: Drop your bottom knee, but don’t hinge the hips. Click here to learn more!


Russian Twist: This go-to core exercise works all of the ab muscles when you lean back and then twist. Lead with the elbows and equally press the hips into the floor. Modification: Try it with your feet on the floor or put a pillow behind your lower back. Click here to see more info.


Flutter Kick: Ready to work the lower abs? Lie on your back and rest the hands under your tailbone as you lengthen the legs with pointed toes. Kick them up and down no more six inches from each other. Kick away here! flutter-kicks


Alternating Shoulder Taps: Get into a pushup position with your legs spread wide for support. You can do it with or without a step! Brace your core and reach one hand to the opposite shoulder while keeping the hips square to the floor. Click here for more.

Elevated Shoulder Taps

Pushup: For a traditional push up, set the hands outside of the shoulders and drop the chest, core, hips and thighs in a straight line as your lower. Exhale and press out of it. Modification: Drop to your knees. Click here for more details.


Tricep Dips: Sit down with your heels close to your hips, and prop yourself up with your hands. Keep them under your shoulders with the fingers pointing toward your feet. Bend the elbows straight behind you to dip. Here are more photos.