Not everyone who wants to stay fit has access to a gym. That's the beauty of body-weight exercises — no equipment needed.
Don't think for a minute that this is an inferior workout just because you're not using dumbbells, barbells or machines. Body-weight exercises can be very effective if done properly and with intensity.
For an even more intense workout, add push-ups, walking lunges, squats and crunches. For more cardio work, try jumping jacks, running in place with high knees and mountain climbers.
Do a warm-up and stretch for eight to 10 minutes before you begin.
Plié squat with calf raise
This exercise targets core muscles, inner thighs, back and calves. Keep toes out, back straight and pelvis tucked in to maintain balance. Knees should be in line with toes during squat.
1. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width, toes pointed out. Dumbbell or medicine ball may be held in front to help maintain balance.
2. Keeping shoulders straight, bend knees to 90 degrees or as far as you can without losing balance. Back will be slightly arched. Do not lean forward.
3. Squeezing glutes, straighten legs to standing position and raise on balls of feet. Hold calf muscles tight for a count of two.
4. Lower heels to starting position. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
This is a nice little change from the typical crunch. It's a small movement but can be very effective when using the abs — not the legs — to lift hips.
1. Lie on the floor and place hands, palms down, along body.
2. Bring knees in toward chest to a 90-degree bend, feet together or crossed.
3. Hold abs tight and curl hips off the floor, reaching legs toward ceiling.
4. Lower to start position. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
Front cross leg lift
This exercise isolates the inner thigh muscles and works the stabilizer muscles in the glutes.
1. Lie on side with elbow and forearm supporting upper body.
2. Bring upper leg in front and bend knee, placing foot on floor.
3. Lift rear leg off floor as far as possible, then lower slowly without touching floor. Keep glutes tight.
4. Repeat 10 times on each side.
This exercise works the entire upper body, increasing strength, flexibility and stamina.
1. Start with hands and feet on floor, shoulder-width apart, buttocks raised, head looking behind you.
2. Drop hips down to the ground, curling your back as you go. Look up to the ceiling and inhale. Body remains suspended; knees should not touch the floor.
3. Push back toward heels again and, keeping arms straight, exhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
This variation on regular push-ups works arms, chest and shoulders.
1. Start with feet and arms shoulder-width apart, buttocks raised in a pike position.
2. Bending arms at the elbow, bring nose down to the floor in front of you. Keep back straight and body flat.
3. Push back up into start position. Repeat 10 times.