Top 10 Best Exercises Anyone Can Do Anywhere
Working out doesn’t have to mean weights, long gym time, fitness classes, and more. Sometimes, the best workout is the one you squeeze in in the morning, after dinner, or on your lunch break. And there are plenty of exercises you can do anywhere — you don’t always need a 24-hour gym to get in shape.
Here are the top 10 best exercises anyone can do, anywhere, that will actually help you stay healthy, improve your stamina, and lose weight. Plus, we’ve included a few bonuses for those who like to incorporate light weights or kettlebells, and how to ramp it up once you’re ready for the next level.
As always, remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new workout. If you’re curious about form or technique, consult with a local personal trainer to ensure you are avoiding the risk of injury and staying safe!
Basic Exercises Everyone, Yes You!, Should Be Doing
Don’t be fooled into thinking that classic exercises that everyone knows aren’t worth your time.
Exercise doesn’t have to be trendy, new, or different in order to be effective. Some of the best exercises for fitness workouts are the ones you remember from high school gym class.
Here’s a refresher on classic exercises that can’t be beat and why these should be part of your regular workout routine.
How to get started with push-ups:
If you can’t do one push-up, start on your knees! Find the proper push-up alignment, then drop to your knees and do your push-up from this position.
Slowly work your way up to 10 regular push-ups, 15, 20, 30, 40, and so forth. Challenge yourself, don’t get too comfortable in a routine. When one set is achieved with ease, begin moving forward.
How to get started with lunges:
For some, lunges are painful or hard to start with, especially novices. If lunges are painful, begin with squats and consult with a doctor or coach on the best progression method for your body.
If your body is prepared for lunges, begin with two to three days a week, 10 lunges on each side. Gently increase this number as your body becomes stronger and more mobile. If you’re shaking a lot, pull it back to fewer reps until your body is comfortable and stable in the movement.
Squats also work the lower body and are the go-to exercise over lunges when it comes to sports rehab because squats require less mobility to begin. Adding both squats and lunges into your workout routine can be very beneficial, which is why they’ve both made our list.
Squats build muscle, help you burn fat, and help you strengthen your knees and ankles to help prevent injury — another reason squats are popular in sports rehab. You’ll have improved balance, flexibility, and strength by doing squats regularly, in addition to toning your body.
How to get started with squats:
10-15 reps of squats is a great place to begin and sustain for a few weeks. Doing squats two to three days a week at this speed can help you feel stronger and see results when it comes to weight loss and strengthening the lower part of your body. You can slowly increase how many rep sequences you do a week as your body becomes stronger and more stable.
You lie on the floor, plant your feet so your knees are facing up towards the ceiling and are at a 90-degree angle; you will engage your glutes and lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back on the ground. This is the exercise!
Glute bridges build strength, improve mobility, and tone the body. With this exercise, you will strengthen your core, improve lower back pain, decrease knee pain, and have stronger glutes and back overall. You will also notice an improvement with your hips and pelvis.
How to get started with glute bridges:
Many people are familiar with glute bridges as part of their regular workout warmup, and for that reason they are an exercise that can be done every day.
As part of your formal workout, a set of 10 reps is a good place to start, increasing this from one set of 10 to two sets of 10 to eventually three sets of 10, three to four days a week.
Once you are fairly accustomed to glute bridges, it is okay to increase your reps from 10 to 15. Listen to your body as you progress, but glute bridges are a great “waking up” exercise to get the body ready!
This is another common exercise with an uncommon name. Prone swimmer is where you lie on your stomach, lift your shoulders, arms directly in front of you, and legs. You “swim” lying on the ground — as you lift your right arm, lift your left leg, and then lower and lift your left arm and right leg. Avoid arching your back as you move through the reps.
Great for shoulders, prone swimmer is a highly recommended regular exercise and used frequently in sports rehab. This is because this exercise strengthens the rotator cuff and helps combat the overuse of the shoulders.
You will build postural strength, improve shoulder range of motion, and even improve your back muscles.
How to get started with prone swimmer hover exercise:
This exercise can look easy but when using the proper form, is quite a workout! One set of 10 reps is where you should begin, slowly increasing to either two sets of 10 reps or one set of 15 reps.
Pay attention to your back (don’t arch!) and focus on activating the glute and shoulder blade for each motion.
Jumping jacks are great cardio, burning calories, increasing heart rate, and overall improving your endurance and strength. Jumping jacks are a full-body workout that even improves bone health and strength.
Oftentimes, jumping jacks can be your replacement for a walk or run, because they work so much of your body in an effective way.
How to get started with jumping jacks:
Jumping jacks are one of the exercises you can do fairly often, four to five days a week (don’t forget your rest days!). Starting off with 15 is a comfortable set, and you can increase this to 20, 25, 30, and so on.
Next Level Up Fitness Exercises
Ready to add in some more exercises to complement the basics? These are recommendations for simple, common exercises that can be done everywhere but that take your workout up a notch. These are all well-known and can be integrated seamlessly into your current workout to help you stay fit, lose weight, and feel better.
Don’t close this article! We know, you don’t want another burpee recommendation, but you’re here for exercise advice, and burpees make that list! (You can skip to the next exercise if you’re really against these, we understand)
Burpees are a terrific common exercise; here’s why:
- Strengthen multiple muscle groups at once
- Works both the upper and lower body
- Burn calories
- Efficient cardio for heart health
- Improve endurance
- Work the legs, hips, buttocks, abs, chest, arms, and shoulders
With burpees, form is CRITICAL!
- Stand with legs hip-width apart, weight in your heels
- Bend your knees to form a squat position
- Place your hands in front of you, on the ground, on either side of your feet
- Shift your weight from your heels into your hands and jump back into a plank position
- Maintain a proper plank — no arching the back or lifting your hips
- If you’re up for it, press into a push-up
- Jump your feet back between your hands
- Jump off the ground, up into the air, and land back on your feet
- Immediately descend into your squat, and repeat
How to get started with burpees:
Burpees are hard and have a reputation for a reason. Therefore, if you’re ready to add this exercise into your routine or if you’re itching for a challenge, start slow. We recommend beginning with burpees two days a week, starting with 10 reps.
These will tire you out, so concentrate on your form! Don’t increase your reps, sets, or frequency until you are consistently doing each burpee with proper technique. It’s better to do less properly than do more when you’re too tired to nail the proper alignment.
Planks and side planks work your core, strengthen your spine, and end up resulting in better posture. This is because planks train your body to be properly aligned, which translates to sitting, walking, etc. in your day-to-day tasks.
From your neck, back, shoulders, pelvis, thighs, and legs, planks help you have a healthier everyday body.
How to get started with planks:
Planks are a hold exercise, not a rep exercise. You can be on your hands or on your elbows/forearms, whichever is most comfortable for your body and your goals.
Planks are something you can do every day for 1-minute, but working up to that first initial minute can feel difficult. Start with 15-second to 30-second holds; take a break, lower to your knees, have a rest, and rise up to finish the remaining count. Work up to 1 minute holds that you can incorporate into your workout routine.
These work your arms, back, shoulders, core, and legs. It’s an endurance exercise that increases your heart rate and effectively burns calories.
In sports rehab, mountain climbers are a go-to exercise because they target multiple muscle groups, are great for the heart, and really works the upper body.
We consider this a level-up exercise because of the endurance and multiple muscle groups it targets at once.
How to get started with mountain climbers:
Mountain climbers’ form is starting in a plank or push up position, and drawing your knee to your chest, then, jump back and bring the other knee; think of it like running in place while in a push-up form.
Mountain climbers can be done as reps and sets or in a set amount of time. If you’re just starting off, 15-20 mountain climbers is a good rep amount to begin with (comes out to 10 on each side). You can steadily increase this to 50, which would be 25 on each side. You can also consider doing 15 to 30 seconds to begin, increasing this to 60-90 seconds as you become more familiar with the workout.
Hollow Body Hold
Hollow body holds are a popular common exercise because of the stability benefits they provide. When done properly, a hollow body builds strength and stability in the lower back, glutes, hip flexors, and abs, all of which work to keep your spine aligned. Popular in sports rehab, hollow body holds alleviate stress on the vertebra and discs.
How to get started with the hollow body hold:
Begin by lying on the floor and then elevate your legs, glutes, arms, and shoulders off the floor. The higher your limbs the easier this exercise is. Keep everything straight (no bent knees or elbows) and elevated. Engage your core and hold. This is the hollow body hold.
To work up to the full hollow body hold for one minute, start with small holds of 15 to 30 seconds each. The key here is to remember proper technique and form. Doing the exercise incorrectly for longer does not give you the benefits -- better to hold 10 seconds proper, break, and repeat, instead of holding it incorrectly for 30 seconds.
Sports Rehab with Weights
Want something a little extra? Add in some weights with these simple, common exercises that can help you mix up your workout routine.
Bodyweight training is effective and can be done anywhere by anyone with great benefits. If you’re home or at your local 24-hour gym and want to mix it up with some weight workouts, these are the ones we recommend. Remember that weight exercises can be done with small weights, even 5lbs each!
When done properly with good technique, overhead weight presses also align your spine, build core muscles, and help with your lower back. This is one reason we recommend doing overhead presses while standing, but there are modifications for sitting or lying down.
The dumbbell row is a great starter exercise if you’re looking to get into weight lifting, but even aside from that, it has numerous benefits. These include improving your grip and making your back stronger; improving overall posture; strengthening the forearms, lats, back, and biceps.
Dumbbell rows are a great way to refresh your workout, add in a little resistance training, and challenge the muscles that you’ve built with your other workouts.
Kettlebell workouts have gained a lot of popularity, and even if you don’t have a kettlebell, you can mimic the weight using books, bags, or other items in your home. Visiting your local 24-hour gym is also another great way to get access to a kettlebell for some simple workouts to try.
Kettlebell lifts are a basic kettlebell exercise. These improve your strength, burn calories, improve your core, balance, flexibility, and coordination.
This is a great cardio alternative if you’re not in the mood for fast exercises like running or mountain climbers. Mix up your weekly routine with a few kettlebell lifts to challenge your body and break out of routines while still working vital muscles.
Ready to Increase the Difficulty?
Once you’ve mastered our recommended basic workouts anyone can do, you can amp up the intensity with these tips:
Increase the weight -- when you’re ready, go slow and steady
Add more reps or increase your hold time
Add in jumps between reps or holds
Make it a HIIT workout if you’re tired of reps or switch to form-focused reps that are slow, controlled, and deliberate. Small changes from form-focused to HIIT-focused can make even your standard routine feel new!