There may be many reasons for wanting to exercise at home without weights. Perhaps you're just starting out and don't want to drop hundreds of dollars on a gym membership just yet. You may live in a remote area, or perhaps travel is a big factor for you. Either way, it's always nice to have a few ideas for how to stay in shape without expensive or cumbersome equipment.
How to Exercise At Home Without Weights
There are many ways you can achieve fitness at home without using weights.
The push-up is a staple of military training around the world for a simple reason: It works very well. Push-ups exercise the chest, shoulder and triceps areas, building core strength and overall power.
Lie face down. Keep your feet together and palms on the floor, but angle your arms slightly down towards your waist so your thumbs are about on the level of your lower pectoral muscles. Tense up your abs and keep your whole body straight while pushing yourself up and down to failure. For beginners, you can balance on your knees for less resistance, or perform the move against a wall.
This exercise is very similar to the regular push-up, except you put your hands together for more emphasis on the triceps area.
Position yourself as above, placing the tips of your thumbs and index fingers together on the floor. You should see a clear triangle between your hands. That triangle should just about touch the dead center of your chest as you exercise.
Dips are another simple but extremely effective exercise for working out the chest, triceps and shoulder areas. Find two sturdy chairs of the same height and set them back to back so you can comfortably fit between them.
Grasp the backs of the chairs, then hoist yourself up so you can bend your knees with your bodyweight on your hands. Bend your elbows and slowly descend until your upper arms are almost parallel to the floor, then make a smooth turn and push back up. You can bend forward a little, but be careful not to overstretch the shoulder joint in the bottom position.
For overall back development, few exercises can compete with the classic pull-up. There's a reason people regularly perform them, even at state-of-the-art gyms packed with the latest back machines.
Find something that will support your weight like a beam in the attic, a tree branch, or anything else that allows you to hang and pull yourself up. Make sure to get a good stretch at the bottom. Purposefully squeeze your scapulae together as you ascend, and don't forget to resist on the way down. Alternate wide grip with thumbs away from you with close grip and thumbs facing you to work out different parts of the back. As a bonus, the latter position exercises the biceps too.
Lunges work the entire hip and leg area, building core strength and giving your metabolism a jolt. The exercise also improves overall balance, as it involves all the important stabilizer muscles.
Keeping your upper body erect and your head held high, take a big step forward. Let the rear knee sink until it almost touches the floor, then make a smooth turn and push back up to standing. Either alternate legs as you go or do 10-15 reps with one leg and then switch.
This exercise is similar to the lunge, except you put more emphasis on the quadriceps in the front of the thigh. Remember, when you exercise at home without weights, it's the small variations on similar exercises that make all the difference in providing a well-rounded workout.
Stand straight and hold onto a chair or simply place your palm against a wall. The important thing is to stay balanced without "helping" too much. Bend one knee so the shin is parallel to the floor, then slowly descend bending the other knee until the first knee almost touches the floor. Push with your heel as you ascend.
The abdominal crunch is a common workout finisher. Not only is the benefit cosmetic (six pack abs are nice), but it's also an important factor in preventing back problems.
Lie down on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your hips at a 45 degree angle. Either cross your arms over your chest or put your hands behind your neck (not back of head). Press your heels down and back as you crunch up, pressing your lower back into the floor. The idea is to decrease the distance between your ribcage and your pelvis, which is a fairly short movement. Once you've accomplished that goal, you're not working abs anymore so there's no real need to go beyond lifting your shoulders a couple inches off the floor.
Make sure to warm up properly before each workout. Old injuries and the like can resurface and become a big issue if you're not careful. When in doubt, consult with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise schedule.
Exercising at home does not need to involve costly weight equipment. Using your body resistance and careful concentration, you can achieve a full-body workout that helps improve muscle strength and stability.