Think bodyweight training can’t get intense? Our favorite no-equipment moves are getting a whole lot more kick-ass — from head to toe. Designed by Greatist Expert and trainer Jonathan Angelilli, this advanced bodyweight workout stacks exercises in back-to-back circuits to keep the heart rate up while building strength and speed. From handstand push-ups to single-leg planks, 30 minutes is all it takes to put the mind and body to the test — no heavy weights or machines necessary.
Before performing any of the advanced bodyweight moves below, Angelilli recommends having a foundation of at least one year of strength training under your belt (on top of being healthy and injury-free, of course). And to stay that way, be sure to adequately warm-up. Begin by foam rolling all the major muscle groups, followed by a 5-minute jog or walk on an incline. Lastly, don’t forget to devote at least 10 minutes to dynamic movement prep(think: walking knee hugs and“the world’s greatest stretch“).
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Unfamiliar with any exercises illustrated below? Scroll past the infographic for detailed descriptions on how to perform each move safely and effectively. If the prescribed rest periods aren’t quite cutting it, add some extra time for recovery (remember quality over quantity when all’s said and done). And if the workout’s not challenging enough, cut the rest periods in half — or less — to keep pushing yourself to achieve your very best.
Exercise Cheat Sheet — The How-To’s
1a. Jump Lunge
How to: Take the traditional lunge up a notch. Start with a basic front lunge — but on the way up, explode with enough force to jump a few inches off the ground. Land softly with both legs bent at 90 degrees (and the front knee positioned directly over the ankle). Got the hang of things? Switch legs in mid-air, landing with the other leg in front. Alternate for 10-15 reps on each leg while maintaining a strong core and upright torso.
1b. Clapping Push-Up
Targets: Chest, triceps, core
How to: Ready to get a little hang time? This move starts with a standard push-up, but on the way up, push off of the floor explosively enough that the upper body takes flight. Bring the hands together mid-air for a single clap (or more if you’ve got it like that!), then return to starting position. Aim for 10-15 reps, or however many you can execute with good form.
1c. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back
How to: Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about eight inches from your butt. Bring the right leg into the chest, then raise up into a half bridge position by pushing firmly into the left foot. Repeat for 10-15 reps, then repeat on the other leg. Not challenging enough? Try pulsing at the top (meaning dropping down a quarter rep, then back up a quarter rep before lowering all the way back down).
1d. Side Plank Star
Targets: Obliques, glutes, shoulders
How to: Got those side planks down pat? Time to raise the bar. Starting in a traditional side plank (forearm on the ground and body stiff as a board), lift the top leg straight up while keeping the rest of the body perfectly still. Hold it there for 1-2 seconds, then bring the top leg back down to meet the other leg. For those feeling nice n’ steady, try lifting that leg a few inches higher with each rep. Repeat for 10-15 reps, then switch.
2a. Handstand Push-Up
Targets: Shoulders, chest, core, glutes
How to: To play things safe, Angelilli recommends starting with the basic handstand. Spread those fingers wide, shoulder-width on the ground, about 12 to 18 inches from a sturdy wall. With hands flat like pancakes and pointer fingers parallel to each other, walk the feet as close to the hands as possible, so you’re in a short downward facing dog position. Next, bend one leg, and use it to kick the straight leg up and over your head until it hits the wall. (Be sure to keep those elbows locked!) Once you have the strength and balance to hold steady for two minutes straight, try out sets of 10 mini reps (lowering down 1-2 inches and returning to the starting point) with the feet riding the wall. Once your strength is there, try the full-on handstand push-up — we recommend a spotter for those first few attempts!
2b. Rotating Jump Squat
Targets: Legs, core
How to: The basic bodyweight squat gets some serious hang time with this advanced move. Lower into a traditional squat, back flat with thighs parallel to the ground, and explode off the ground, rotating mid-air 180 degrees counterclockwise. Land softly in a squat, and with no rest in between reps, launch into the next jump, rotating 180 degrees clockwise this time. Be sure to keep the chest up and spine long, using your breath and your abs to help power you through. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
2c. Plank Balance
Targets: Core, shoulders, hip flexors
How to: Starting in a traditional plank position with the back flat and forearms planted securely on the floor, simultaneously lift your left arm and right leg until they are parallel to the ground. Hold for a second (or longer!), then switch, keeping the core tight and hips steady. Aim for 10-30 reps, or, go for time. (Any chance you can sing the Star Spangled Banner while holding tight?)
2d. Pulsing Superman
Targets: Lower back, glutes, core
How to: Ready to channel your inner superhero? Lie on your stomach with the arms and legs pointing to the back wall. Peel your upper body off the mat, and lift the arms and legs, keeping them straight. Next, comes the tricky part: At the very top of the position, pulse the body one inch up then one in down for 10-20 reps. Up the ante even more by making those reps super-slow — just don’t forget to breathe!
Want more? Check out 17 Powerful Bodyweight Exercises for Strength and Speed, or for a more beginner-friendly workout: The 30-Minute, No-Gym Bodyweight Workout.