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Best Body Weight Exercises - No Gym Required

Updated on November 20, 2014

The human body is the very best piece of fitness equipment ever invented. For you see, the combination of gravity with the weight of our body provides the resistance that we need. Yet, sadly we either forget this or we have not been trained properly. To this end, we will showcase five different body weight exercises that you can do at home without any weight other than your own body. We will provide you also with the three essential exercises and several variations including a variation with the much loved balance ball.

Fun Human Body and Fitness Quotes

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants.

Theodore Roosevelt

I think the human body is beautiful, and I don't really have a huge problem in dealing with it, but it's the context, the environment and what I feel about it that that makes the difference for me.

Andie MacDowell

Begin with Warm Up - End with a Cool Down

All exercise programs need a warm-up and a cool down just as book needs an introduction and a well versed ending, each daily exercise routine should have chapters. Open with a warm-up of jogging in place or running around the house like a mad person picking up and straightening things and putting them back in their proper place. And in the end, do a short cool down and transition back gracefully into the real world. I like to do stretches right after my warm-up and then again right before my cool down. Don't skimp on your warm-up and never shorten your cool down - these are important ingredients in your exercise program.

Do your exercises daily and your body and your soul will forever thank you.

Daily Commitment to Your Body Weight Exercises

If you were to belong to the expensive gym you would either go and be committed to the investment or feel guilty for ignoring this investment you have made in your health. Likewise, daily you need to set aside a time of the day - preferably twice a day and do one, two or three set of these exercises.

The Three Essential Body Weight Exercises

When I do these three simple exercises daily, I feel like a new person - younger and more alive and vibrant. I feel my skin glow and I actually like me. When I a lethargic throughout the day and ignore these exercises, I feel as if the light within me is dim.

These three exercises are simple and fundamental. These exercises help us with our daily lives by providing the strength and stability we need in order to get through our hectic and demanding lives.

Three Essential Body Weight Exercises

Muscle Group
Leg Lifts
Legs, Quadriceps, Soleus, Core and Buttocks
Three sets of eight
Hold and Aim for Three Minutes
Three Sets of eight

Beginning Leg Lifts with a Chair or Kitchen/ Bathroom Counter

basic leg lifts demonstrated in an illustration of a female with an orange chair
basic leg lifts demonstrated in an illustration of a female with an orange chair | Source
leg lists demonstrated on a balance ball
leg lists demonstrated on a balance ball
Advanced leg lifts on the floor with your hands under your shoulders
Advanced leg lifts on the floor with your hands under your shoulders
the plank exercise
the plank exercise
the squat exercise
the squat exercise | Source
a black and white photo of a female fitness professional with toned muscles and the motivational saying "you have to sweat like a pig, work like a horses, in order to look like a fox"
a black and white photo of a female fitness professional with toned muscles and the motivational saying "you have to sweat like a pig, work like a horses, in order to look like a fox" | Source

Leg Lifts with the Balance Ball

Leg lifts with the balance ball is one of my favorites. It is simple to do and works both the core and the leg muscles at the same time. Do you have to have a balance ball? Not really, you can start out using a couch or a rocking chair and later graduate tot he balance ball.

The balance ball offers a number of fantastic features for stability training and tightening our core. If you have master leg lifts, I would recommend the smalll investment in the balance ball if for no other exercise than this one.

Leg lifts with the balance ball hits your longest and largest muscle groups - the ones in your legs and it offers much needed balance training.

Leg Lifts in the Kitchen or Bathroom

The very basic leg lifts can begin in the kitchen or bathroom with using the counter for stability.

Advance Leg Lifts

The advanced leg lifts without any equipment, without the balance ball, are done on the floor with your hands directly under your shoulders. See the photo to the right for a visual guide.

The Plank

The plank is both an exercise and a test. I wish every elementary school would end their day with a plank test. Why? Because it is a fundamental test of strength and stability. The plank sets the foundation for all muscle development. It is a very straightforward exercise and very straightforward test.

When I was teaching fitness to children, I found the plank test to be both challenging and fun. What is wonderful about the plank test is it works for children of all ages.

For adults, the plank test is very challenging as it demand both coordination and strength. This simple exercise is fundamental to good health and something everyone can do every day of their life - no gym required.


Squats work the quadriceps, the largest muscles in our body. If we are seeking to rapidly change our metabolism and drop some pounds, the squats and the stairs heavily favored by fitness professionals.

For beginners, do use a chair or counter for stability and work your way up to hands free.

Motivational Quotes - "For What You Have Tamed" - Exercise

'Men have forgotten this truth,' said the fox. 'But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.'
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.

Thomas Jefferson

Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sasha Cohen

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.
Aleister Crowley

Foxy Bodies Carefully Crafted Through Exercise

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Sweat Like a Pig

Whatever fitness program that is right for you - either the fancy fitness club, the simple gym down the street or my home time favorite of using your own body weight as shown here, the results all can be outstanding. Our body loves exercise and yes initially like all new routines, it will be difficult but as the saying goes - "sweat like a pig, work like a horse in order to look like a fox" is not trite, it is true.

Change your physical appearance, change your mental outlook - all of these changes can only come from within - gym or no gym.

I challenge you to start with a set of 8 repetitions, twice a day of each of these three types of body weight exercise and see if you don't begin to look and feel like the fox you are suppose to be.

beautiful face of a furry fox poking its head out of a cylinder pipe
beautiful face of a furry fox poking its head out of a cylinder pipe | Source

Share Your Fitness Experiences

Have you incorporated body weight exercises into your daily routine?

See results

© 2014 Kelly A Burnett


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    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      2 years ago from United States

      Dolores Monet,

      Gravity is often more of an enemy than age but exercise especially strength training can help. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      2 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Though I feel as if I am in good shape (I work hard) there are certain parts that are beginning to sag. Must try the targeted exercises to shape up! Great info!

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States


      I used to be consistent and every morning I would have a set of exercises I would do in the bathroom. I need to get back into the routine. You know what they say... 21 days so I must get back in gear.

      Funny so many of us have done all of these exercises and yet so very few of us, myself included, do the exercises daily. I hope our children and grandchildren grow up with different daily routines.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very useful hub. I've done all the exercises that you describe, but unfortunately not for some time. I really need to start them again! Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      4 years ago from United States


      Oh, I hope I am not shaming people, I am truly passionate about fitness and all of us how just too many things that demand our time and attention. I just wish I had grown up with fitness, daily fitness as a standard. Starting a habit, a good habit when we are young is so much easier than teaching an old dog such as myself a new trick.

      I am glad that they came out with guidelines for working out a minimum of three times a week. I found a helpful tidbit that went on to say to never miss a Monday workout - that will get you off the pathway and readily wreak havoc with your workout routine. I thought that fact was fascinating. Hope that helps.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I am sure your many hubs on this subject will start "shaming" many people into taking exercise seriously. I admit, I do it sporadically overdoing it at times and under doing it at other times. I need to start doing more of it indoors and on a daily basis.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      4 years ago from United States

      Mel Carriere,

      You are a delight - oh, if I could just shame others into exercising! But exercise should be something fun. I pray you find both the time and an activity that suits you outdoors.

      My husband and I took up bicycling. We are not racing but a leisurely ride. It seems to provide more cardio for both of us than walking and he can burst ahead and get more exercise in without the strain that walking/running places on our aging bodies.

      We did the whole routine last year, I purchased a new bicycle helmet for him and he bought me a new bike. I would like to add the cycling jackets and take the MP3 players with us and maybe work up to something where we could talk and ride.

      The fitness wagon sadly runs past all of us during some chapters of our lives. Thank you so much for sharing and bringing a smile to my face - I will try to continue to shame others into fitness! Take care my San Diego friend! :)

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Admittedly I am not much of an exerciser anymore, although I did successfully complete a marathon in 2010. Since then I've sort of fallen off the fitness wagon, due to time constraints more than anything. I walk a lot in my job, as you can guess, but I don't think that counts because the body adjusts and thinks of that movement as just normal routine. I would like to do some sort of fitness but I am more of an outdoorsy person, and I really do not like indoor exercise. All the same this was a very well written hub and very informative as well, and maybe if I keep reading these you will eventually shame me into exercising. Nice job!


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