Top 15 CrossFit Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do at Home
Last Updated: May 09, 2017
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The human body is capable of incredible feats. We can jump, lift, run, walk, carry children, pick up groceries -- and the list goes on and on. But in order to complete those feats safely, you need to learn to move and train more functionally. When it comes to functional fitness, you don’t need fancy equipment, hours to dedicate to fitness or even a gym membership. All you need is your own body to complete amazing tasks in your everyday life and in your personal fitness journey. Read on to see the top 15 CrossFit moves that require only your body weight. As an added benefit, they can be done in your own home.
Squatting is a foundational movement that works your entire lower body, focusing on your glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads and core. Start with your feet a little more than hip-width apart. With your core tight and your weight focused on your heels, lower your glutes back and down as you raise your arms out in front of you. If your mobility allows, you can go deeper than thighs parallel to the floor. Drive your knees out the entire time and try to think of screwing your feet into the ground to activate your glutes. Stand up to achieve full hip extension while keeping your chest lifted and repeat.
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Similar to air squats, you will start with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. With your core tight and weight in your heels, lower your glutes back and down as you raise your arms behind you. When you hit the bottom of your squat, drive your arms up and explode up into the air. Land with your knees bent, to protect your joints and prepare yourself for the next rep. Remember to keep your knees out and do not let them cave in. This move is great for your glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads and core.
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This advanced move is a variation on a regular squat, except it is completed on one leg. With your weight in your left heel, raise your right leg up in the air (you can hold on to your right foot for more balance). Slowly lower down, driving your butt back and down. Since this works your balance, mobility and stabilizer muscles, you can modify by not going as deep or holding on to something while squatting down. This is a big challenge for the glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves; just make sure to do it on both legs.
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Even though you’re stationary in this move, it works your abdominals and lats. Place your forearms on the ground, palms facing down. Hold the rest of your body in a push-up position with your body in a straight line. Contract your abdominals while activating your lats (muscles across your upper back) and driving your elbows into the ground for full muscle activation. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
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This move is a variation on the front plank, but it targets you’re your obliques in addition to your abdominals and lats. Place your right forearm on the ground at a 90-degree angle to your body and turn to the right so that your entire right side faces the ground and your left is pointed toward the ceiling. Stack your feet on top of one another and raise your hips up to the sky. Push your forearm into the ground to activate your lats and continue to lift your hips, engaging your obliques. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
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This is one of the best moves you can do for your glutes, but it also targets your quads, hamstrings and calves. There are many different ways to complete this move with the same basic form. Start standing up straight, then step forward with one leg so that your back knee touches the floor and your front shin is perpendicular to the floor. Your front knee should be directly over your ankle and never track over your foot. You can alternate lunges in place, walk forward while doing lunges, walk backwards while doing lunges or do side lunges. Each lunge direction hits a different part of your glutes, so for constant improvement, change it up. Your muscles will thank you.
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Work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and core with the more-intense variation on the standard lunge. This movement starts in the bottom of the lunge position -- your front leg creating a 90-degree angle, knee stacked over your ankle, while the back knee touches the ground. Using your arms to help drive your body up, jump and switch feet in the air, landing back in the lunge position but with your opposite leg now in front. To make this more difficult, place your hands on your hips or on your head so that you don’t have the extra momentum from your arms.
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Another glute killer! This move uses lateral movement and a plyometric element for full lower-body activation. Start by standing with your feet facing forward underneath your hips. With your left leg, push to the right side and jump off, landing on your right foot. As you land, your knees should be slightly bent and you should squat a bit. If you are very flexible, you can touch the ground with your left hand. Make sure that your right knee stays stacked over your right ankle and that it doesn’t cave in. Push off your right leg and jump to the left. Repeat the movement back and forth. If you have issues with lateral movement, you can modify this movement by taking the plyometric part out of it and stepping side to side.
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As California-based CrossFit and weightlifting coach Mike Burgener says, “Yay, burpees!” This movement is a full-body muscle burner and cardio killer. Start with your feet underneath your hips. In one movement, place your hands on the ground and jump your feet back to a push-up position. Your chest should touch the deck. Push up with your hips still on the ground, then using your hips, pop your feet up behind your hands and stand up. Finish with a clap over head and six-inch jump off of the ground. To modify, you can step down and up from the ground. This works your entire body!
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There is no better cardiovascular exercise for efficient fat-burning and muscle-building than sprints. You’ll use your entire body at a high intensity, but not to worry -- you don’t have to do it for long! A sprint is a run at top speed. The key here is to drive your arms forward (because your knees will follow anything your arms do in a run) and drive your knees up. Because this is such a high-intensity, anaerobic movement, take time in between sprints for your heart rate to drop a bit. If you sprint too soon after a previous sprint, you won’t actually be sprinting, you’ll be running. Take at least 30 seconds in between sets. These sprints can range from 20-meter explosions to 400-meter longer sprints. To make things more difficult, add a hill into the mix.
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This super-effective move is wonderful for your upper-body strength and overall fitness. Start with your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders and your legs straight back in a plank position. Your body should be in one straight line with your core locked. Slowly lower yourself down to the ground so that your chest rests on the ground and lift your hands off the ground before placing them back down and pushing yourself back up to the starting position without collapsing your lower back. This move works your shoulders, back, core and glutes.
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Start by kicking up into a handstand against a wall. Lower your body to the ground so that your head touches the ground (or mat) below. Keep your elbows pointing forward instead of out to the side. Then, engaging your core, push yourself away from the ground into a handstand. To make this move easier, you can kip, which helps drive the body up. To do this, bend your knees to your chest while you lower your head toward the ground, then kick up as you push off of the ground with your hands. This move works your shoulders, back and core.
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This is a great cardio exercise that also works your arms, shoulders and core. Start in a push-up position with your abs tight and hands pressing into the ground. Contracting your core, bring one knee up to your chest in between your hands and tap the toe on the ground. Bring it back down to the starting position and quickly switch to the next foot. Alternate your feet quickly while still maintaining good form.
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Take your elementary school jump-rope skills to a whole new level with double unders. Instead of the jump rope passing under you only once while you’re in the air, it’ll circle around twice. Hold the jump rope at the side of your hips, close to your body. While jumping into the air, quickly flick the rope around. This move is all about the wrists. You can practice without jumping to get the hang of it. You’ll want to keep your hands as close to the hips as possible while doing this. For a modified version, you can complete a single under -- a standard jump with the rope passing under you once -- but double the amount of total jumps. While this is a great cardio exercise, it also works your calves, core and shoulders.
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Handstand walks are derived from gymnastics and challenge your core, balance, mobility and strength. To begin, kick up into a handstand on a wall for support. Slowly move your feet away from the wall to feel your core kicking in to balance you. Spread your fingers and press your hands into the ground so that your lats are fully activated and your shoulders are in a stable position. The key here is balance. Just like you can balance on your feet, you can balance on your hands. Play around with rocking back and forth while against a wall. When you feel comfortable, move away from the wall as you kick up. For extra help, have a partner hold your legs in the air. Once you’re strong enough, try “walking” around on your hands. You can go forward or backward, but it is always a challenge for your shoulders, back and core.
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you ever tried CrossFit? What did you think of it? Do you have a favorite WOD that incorporates these moves? Do you have any favorite variations on these moves or additional moves you can do without weights? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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