Bodyweight Exercises: Exercises That Require Little to No Equipment

Man doing a bodyweight exercise
Target area
Upper body
Lower body
Full body
Bodyweight alternatives
Deadlift alternative
Barbell squat alternative
Bench press alternative
Clean alternative
Rowing alternative
Push Movement
Pull Movement

Back arches

Back arches are one of the most effective bodyweight alternatives to deadlifts.


Dips work the pectoral muscles in a similar way that bench press does, but with a more functional approach.


Pull-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can you. They work the lats, the biceps, and the core primarily, but they also work nearly every muscle in your body as well.

Good Morning – Split Stance

Good Mornings primarily work the lower back but should also work the hamstrings as well because as you go down, your legs should stay slightly bent but still tight on the hamstrings. The way to do this is to push your hips and butt back slightly while keeping your back straight rather than simply bending straight down.

These are good bodyweight substitutions for any exercise where you’re using your back and hamstrings, such as deadlifts or cleans.

Tuck Jump

The tuck jump is a great way to build explosiveness and speed, and it’s a great alternative to box jumps.

Medicine Ball Clean Wall Ball

This exercise is a good alternative to the clean and press, clean and snatch, or the clean and jerk. If you don’t have a medicine ball, find anything that weighs a moderate amount (between 10-50 pounds), and if you can’t throw it in the air, simply press it overhead quickly (backpack filled with books, a bag of sand, a basketball filled with sand and taped, etc.).

Single-Leg Deadlift

The single-leg deadlift works all the same areas as a regular deadlift, but it works your balancing muscles and because the weight is further away from your body, it allows you to put more strain on your muscles without using very heavy weights.

Hip Thrust

The hip thrust works your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, similar to the movement at the top of a deadlift. You can add resistance by placing a sandbag, weight plate, or backpack on your lap while doing this exercise.

Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Starting from a wide deadlift stance and hands slightly inside of shoulder width apart, push your hips back and keep your back straight as you go down to grab the weight. Then push your hips forward as you bring your upper body upward, then pull the weight all the way up to below your chin before lowering it back to the ground in the reverse motion.


Walkouts are great dynamic core exercises that also works the hamstrings and shoulders. This is a good alternative to wall walks and other more complex core exercises.

Bear Crawl (Low Bear Crawl)

Bear crawls are one of those exercises you love to hate. These are great for your core, legs, and shoulders, but you have to stay focused and do them deliberately and relatively slowly. If you compromise on your form or rush through them, you’ll miss out on the impact they can have.

Split Squat

Split squats are one of the most effective ways to work your legs when you don’t have any equipment. You can do them as slowly or as explosively as you want depending on what you’re going for. You can even hold weight if you have it – dumbbells, a sandbag, or a weighted backpack. They’re a great all-around bodyweight leg workout.

Medicine Ball Chest Press Floor Toss

If you don’t have a barbell but still want to work your chest, grab a medicine ball, a slam ball, or make a medicine ball with an old basketball, sand, and duct tape, then lay on the ground and push the ball upwards as hard as you can.

Ski Jump

Ski jumps are good for when you’re looking to get a full body exercise that gets your heart rate up in the same way extended cardio does, but you don’t have a lot of room to work (say, if the weather is bad or you have kids you can’t leave alone at the moment).