These No-Equipment Exercises Will Make You Super Strong — And They'll Strengthen Your Brain

Photo: Tone & Style

It's hard to go wrong with body-weight exercises. They're convenient, they require minimal to no equipment, and they're extraordinarily effective. And these types of exercises don't just strengthen the body: They challenge the mind and spirit as well. It's empowering to see what our bodies are capable of and what we are capable of when we believe in and apply ourselves.

After all, being able to perform that extra pushup or lunge after working toward our goal is not merely a physical gain. We see this ripple through our outlook on life, our confidence, and our willingness to strive for more in all areas of our lives. Especially if you're preparing to travel this holiday season, these do-anywhere workout moves will be your best friend—a chair or a park bench is all you need.

1. Forward to reverse lunge.

Start standing (with dumbbells in hands if using them) with your arms at your sides. Step forward with the right foot and lower the left knee until it almost touches the ground and right thigh is almost parallel to the ground, breathing in. Pushing through the heel of your right foot (this is the working leg), lift the right leg up and back behind the body, similar to a forward lunge but passing the starting position and landing behind you. Lower until the right knee almost touches the ground and the left thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Pushing through the heel of the left foot (this is the working leg), step the right leg all the way from behind you to the front of you as if you are performing a reverse lunge but passing the starting position. That's one rep.

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2. Triceps bench dip.

Photo: Heather Marr

On a flat bench position with your hands behind your back about shoulder-width apart, holding on to the edge of the bench, place your feet in front of you flat on the ground, legs bent and knees at a 90-degree angle. That's your starting position. Lower your body, bending at the elbows while breathing in and keeping the elbows as close to your body as possible. Using triceps, breathe out and return to starting position. That is one rep.

3. Decline pushups.

Start in a plank position with your toes on a bench and your hands on the floor. Keep your body in a straight line with your ribs lifted. That's your starting position. Bending at the elbows, lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor while breathing in. Straighten the arms, pushing your body back up to starting position while breathing out. That's one rep.

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4. Jump lunge-squat combo.

Start in a lunge position with the back knee nearly touching the floor. Jump, swinging your arms as you switch leg position midair to land with the opposite leg in front. Make sure you land in a full lunge position, with the front knee bent and back knee almost to the floor. Repeat movement, swinging arms as you switch leg position midair to land with opposite leg in front. Next, jump and land in squat position, hips back and thighs parallel to the floor and back straight. That's one rep.

5. Jump in, jump out.

Start in a plank position with feet together and hips lifted to activate the core. That's your starting position. Hop feet in, keeping hips and heels raised. Wait one beat, then jump feet back to the starting position. That's one rep.

Want more body-weight exercises? Here are 10 you can do anywhere.

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