Getting in shape without access to a gym or any fancy equipment is totally doable. In fact, bodyweight exercises can not only build muscle and burn fat, they’ve been shown to improve athletic performance and build speed and power, too
1. Reverse Lunge Knee Up:
Begin by standing on one foot (think Karate Kid), then step the opposite foot backwards into a reverse lunge. Powerfully push through the front foot and bring the opposite knee towards the chest. Quickly step back into a reverse lunge and repeat!
2. Plyo Push-Up:
Begin in a standard push-up position with elbows bent at 90 degrees and tucked close to the body. Now push it with enough force to jump the hands off the ground and quickly clap together before landing. This one might be best to practice from the knees and with the goal of working towards doing them from the toes.
3. Box Drill:
Fire up the calves by jumping ’round an imaginary box. Begin by balancing on the right foot with a slightly bent knee. Swing both arms forward and hop to the left (don’t miss the landing!). Staying on the same leg, hop forward, then hop to the right, and finally in reverse back to the starting point. Switch legs and reverse the direction.
4. Standing Long Jump:
Flashback to elementary school track meets! For this explosive lower body move, stand with feet hip-width apart, and crouch into a squatting position with the arms back. Next, spring forward with both feet remaining together and land on the balls of the feet with the knees bent. Go the hang of things? Spring right back into action for the next jump (with no rest in between).
5. Frog Squat Jump:
Begin in a wide stance, feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, with toes turned slightly out. Keeping the chest up, drop into a deep squat position, hands reaching to the floor. Now explode upwards into a jump (yes, this is the frog-looking part!). Land softly and quickly repeat with an emphasis on the height of each jump.
6. Lateral Lunge:
Slightly easier than doing overhead splits, a lateral lunge is still awesome for improving flexibility. (Being flexible is super-important since muscles generate more power when they contract through a full range of motion. Flexibility = explosiveness!) To complete the move, stand with feet together and then lunge to the right. Make sure the toes of both feet face forward and weight goes back into the heels. Reach the arms forward if you need extra help balancing.
7. Plyometric Deadlift:
Stand on the left leg and bend forward at the hips (become a drinking bird) until the right leg and chest are about parallel to the floor (yes, the left hamstrings are supposed to feel the burn!). In one quick movement swing the arms forward, raise the chest, and jump up off the floor. Softly land on the left leg again and slowly lower back into the starting position.
8. Lateral Triple Jump:
This move teaches the body to change directions quickly and powerfully. Stand on the right foot, bend the knee slightly and hop sideways as far as possible, landing on the right foot again. Immediately leap forward to land on the left foot. Finish the move by jumping forward one more time to land on both feet. Sound confusing? It’s just ahop, skip, and a jump!
9. Alternating Lunge Jumps:
Remember the running man? Begin in a lunge and jump up as high as possible while simultaneously switching the lunge stance in mid-air. Land with the opposite foot forward and then jump again. Think height, not speed. This one is all about generating vertical power.
10. Tuck Jumps:
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, crouch down just a bit, and then spring up into the highest jump possible. Quickly tuck the knees to the chest and then extend them down to land softly on the toes. Immediately jump back up — there’s no time to rest during this one!