Strength Training Exercises, No Weights Needed from Strength Training Exercises, No Weights Needed

Strength Training Exercises, No Weights Needed

Getting stronger is all about adding load to the body and stressing it. “Timing and tension are what matter,” Chris Ritter, personal trainer and performance coach at Ritter Sports Performance, says.

Strength increases in two phases – neurological and structural. The latter takes longer to see - some workouts lead to quick results - but the former has an immediate effect. “You can feel stronger the next training session,” Ritter adds, because the body is always looking to use more motor units, which are motor neuron and the skeletal muscle fibers.

Detrained people usually start with bodyweight strength exercises to get results early on because the intensity is much greater, Ritter says. “You can make such exercises pretty hard.” Another benefit of not using weights is that you have a bigger range of motion, greater variety and more movement control.



The pushup is a simple exercise you can do anywhere that can build total body strength. Master the basic version and be able to do it correctly at least 15 times with no problem, then you can graduate to a more advanced type. Make is “eccentric,” Ritter says, by starting at the top and going as low as you can but very slowly. “This is much better for women than kneeling,” he adds.

Reverse crunches


Ritter is not a fan of crunches because “the point of the core is anti-rotation.” The core is the foundation of a body movement so you have to train it while it’s not moving. Reverse crunches are better because the mid-section is still, he adds. You still activate the abdominal muscles and will feel the burn later.

Bodyweight squats


Ask any personal trainer and he or she will most likely tell you that the squat is one of the best and most effective exercises you can do...ever. It works a lot of muscles at the same time. Use progressions to make them harder. However, Ritter says, perfect the basic squat first. “Get down at least 20-30 times at a time easily and then move on to jump [squats],” he adds. There are many ways you can make a squat more challenging.

Hanging leg-raises


This is a good strength exercise for losing fat because it involves a lot of muscles. You’re pulling your legs against gravity while hanging from parallel bars. It’s an advanced core exercise. Don’t swing back and forth. Stabilize your spine as you pull your knees towards the chest. Take it to the next level and lift your legs while they are straight.



Planks are much better than crunches, Ritter says, and are a great strength exercise for the core. Hold for 60 seconds without struggling before you try more advanced versions like feet-elevated planks, reverse planks, straight-arm planks, one-legged planks, and twisting knee planks. Do a circuit of  different planks and your core will be burning after a single set.



Ritter recommends bridges as effective strength exercises. Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and lift your butt up using your glutes. If this feels easy, try the single-leg bridge. This is one of the best functional exercises that target your behind.  Just lay on your back, bend your knees and lift your hips. Bend one leg, raise it a few inches, then extend your arms and reach toward your toes. Hold that position for a few seconds and return to chest height. Do a few reps and don’t forget to switch legs.



Pullups are very important as they train one of four basic moves people do –pull, Ritter says. (The others are push, squat and balance.) They are performed with your palms facing away from you. Pull yourself up toward the bar until chin level. Make them eccentric, and harder, by starting with the chin above the bar and slowly lowering yourself.

Single-leg balance exercises


Most people overdo the pushing and pulling and forget about balance, Ritter says. Stand on your left foot, lift the right leg and touch your toe. “It sounds really easy but most people can’t do 6 reps,” he adds. Once you master that move, try doing it on a bosu ball.

Dead bug


The dead bug exercise is for beginners and is great for eventually getting flat abs. It’s used a lot in physical therapy and by people who have a weak core. You should be lying on your back; your hands should be reaching up or you can leave them by your side. Bring your knees up forming a 90-degree angle. Start the exercise by extending one leg – straighten the knee and hip. Maintain this position for a few seconds, switch legs and repeat.

Bench dips


Unless you have shoulder problem, the seated dip is an effective bodyweight exercise that directly targets the triceps. Proper form is key if you want to reap the benefits later. Begin seated on the edge of a sturdy bench; your fingers should face forward; your knees should form 90-degree angles and your thighs should be parallel to the floor; keep shoulders back and down. Slowly lower yourself by bending the elbows.

Crab walk


This is a great full body movement. Lay down, face up; use your hands and feet to lift your butt off the floor. The hips should be high. Maintain this position and “walk” back and forth. You’re working many muscles out but you’re stretching at the same time.

Mountain climbers


This is another full body exercise, primarily used for cardio, which also builds strength. It’s a plyometric exercise that strengthen multiple muscle groups – core, lower and upper body. The torso won’t drop towards the ground because the obliques, abdominals and the muscles around the hips are all engaged. Place your hands on a medicine ball for bigger challenge.



Two sets of 10 reps of lunges, done correctly, a few days a week can be more beneficial than you think. The lunge is imperative to preserving squat strength. Stand next to a chair if you need some support. Your feet should be a shoulder-width apart. Take a large step forward. Make sure to bend your knee and lower your hips, but DON’T move your knee past your toes. Repeat about 10-15 times  for each leg.

Donkey kicks


Donkey kicks strengthen the entire body, with emphasis on quads. Come onto all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Kick one leg back at a time. The American Council on Exercise named it one of the best butt exercises in 2006 after conducting a study. The magic of the donkey kicks lies in the fact that they don’t require any equipment, are technically easy, and you can do them while watching TV or even reading a book. Before you know it, you’ll be fitter, faster and more agile.