Best bodyweight workout for beginners: 20 minute, NO gear workout anyone can do at home

This bodyweight workout for beginners at home will get your body ready for some serious muscle building

Best bodyweight workout for beginners
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Working out at home doesn't have to be difficult. To prove this, here is the best bodyweight workout for beginners, consisting only five easy exercises anyone can do in their living room or spare room. Exercising at home has many benefits: you don't need to pay for gym membership, you can also get familiar with the exercises before you actually hit the gyms, build up a base strength level and finally, it's just super convenient.

• This ballet-inspired full body workout will burn 800+ calories

What's more, we collected five basic exercises that can be done with little to no equipment at home, standing or laying on the floor. It doesn't really get much easier than this, so this is the perfect bodyweight workout for beginners, one that gently immerses you into the world of fitness, without you having to make a lot of commitments.

Best bodyweight workout for beginners

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although you won't need to get barbells (opens in new tab) or pull up bars (opens in new tab) for any of the below exercises, one thing we would like to recommend is a decent fitness smartwatch (opens in new tab). these devices can not only keep track of your efforts, but they most usually have a real-time heart rate tracking function, so you can see how much effort it takes for you to do the exercises.

Wearing a smartwatch can also boost your motivation since you will see it more clearly how much you exercise and how healthy you are in general. The best fitness watches can all give you useful – or terrifying – 'overall fitness' scores, based on a VO2 Max estimate.

(opens in new tab)

Fitbit Ionic Fitness Smartwatch | Sale Price £199.99 | Was £249.99 | You save £50 at Fitbit (opens in new tab)
The Ionic is much like the Versa, but with a bigger screen and it comes with integrated GPS too. The Fitbit Ionic is also water rated to 5ATM, supports contactless payments and can store music on the watch itself. As such, the Fitbit Ionic is the best Fitbit for more serious outdoor exercisers. 

Best bodyweight workout for beginners at home

Before you start doing any exercises, make sure you're all warmed up. Do 5-10 minutes of cardio which can be stationary run or a light jog around the house/block of flats, just to get your heart rate up a bit.

Listening to music can also help you feel motivated throughout your workout. Streaming services like Amazon Music (opens in new tab) can supply you with all the music you might need to feel pumped all the way through your workout.

Many people (in fact, most of the people) listen to music one way or another during cardio or resistance workouts. Music can help you get into the zone easier and it also filters out distracting noises.

Follow this sequence with this workout:

- Squats: 60 seconds
- Lunges: 60 seconds
- Knee push ups: 30 seconds
- Knee planks: 30 seconds
- Quadruped limb raises: 60 second

Repeat three times.

Try to have no break between the different exercises and have a 60-to-90-second break between sets.

• Get strong with the best indoor workout for runners (opens in new tab): build leg muscles and get a rock-solid core with ultra runner Tom Evans

Important: if you are concerned or have any concerns about your workout, please consult a medical professional before you start exercising. Also, if you have difficulties with excess weight, you might want to lose weight (opens in new tab) first and then start working out with weights. Changing your diet is the best way to lose weight, whilst exercising can help you maintain weight loss and improve your cardiovasular system, too.

(opens in new tab)

Fitbit Aria Air Smart Bathroom Scale | Buy it for £50 at Argos (opens in new tab)
Track changes in your weight and BMI using the Fitbit Aria Air. All data is fed back to the Fitbit App where you can further analyse all your body metrics using easy-to-understand charts. The Fitbit Aria Air runs on three triple-A batteries and measures weight up to a 180 kilos (that's around 28 and a half stones). 

best bodyweight workout for beginners at home

Goblet squats are the next step up from bodyweight squats

(Image credit: Future)

1. Bodyweight squats

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, calves, hamstring, core, inner thighs

Good for: torching fat, building leg muscles and overall strength

Squats work – not surprisingly – your legs the most, especially your quads and glutes, and what's even better, there are a few different variations so you can keep your exercise sessions fresh. One you familiarised yourself with bodyweight squats, try squat holds or even Bulgarian split squats.

As you squat, keep your back straight and you can even extend your arms in front of you to help you keep balance easier. As you go down in a squat position, stick your bum out in order to keep your back straight.

There is no need to do a deep squat either, it you are new to exercising, that would apply too much pressure on your knees. Instead, try performing squats slower, that would extend the period of muscle activation, therefore making you burn more calories. Try lowering your body for three second, hold the lowermost position for one second, then back up in three seconds.

(opens in new tab)

Kings Vegan Friendly Black Bean Sauce Flavour Veggie Jerky, Box of 16 | Buy it for £22.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Kings Veggie Jerky contains 100% plant based meat-free proteins: each 25-gram portion has 22.5 grams of plant protein. This vegan-friendly jerky is also low on saturated 'bad' fats and has plenty of fibres too (6.8 grams to be precise). Perfect mid afternoon snack when you fancy something non-sweet.

bodyweight workout for beginners at home

Weighted forward lunges can add extra resistance to your lower body exercises

(Image credit: Future)

2. Forward lunge

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, calves, hamstring, core, inner thighs

Good for: toning bum, stretching hamstrings, boosting calves

Another one for your legs, lunges also work your lower half more, but since you have a few very large muscles there, working your lower body well will burn loads of calories and will you more mobile, too. Lunges are also one the few exercises that really work your calves.

The actual exercise is pretty straight forward: as you are standing straight, take a big step forward and bend your knee so your rear knee almost touches the floor. Then kick yourself back up with your front leg and return to your original position. Do the same with the other leg. Once you did both legs, that's one rep.

(opens in new tab)

Percko Lyne Fit Sports T-Shirt | Buy it for £109 at Percko (opens in new tab)
The Percko Lyne Fit t-shirts' tensors accompany your body’s movements during exercise to readjust your posture. Lyne Fit helps you realign your spine and free your diaphragm. The Lyne Fit won't won't replace your chiropractor but it will help slightly pulling your shoulders back so you don't slump as you workout.

bodyweight workout for beginners at home

Try knee push-ups first, then you can progress into doing standard push ups

(Image credit: Future)

3. Knee push up

Muscles worked: chest, arms, shoulders, core

Good for: toning arms, strengthening chest

One of best bodyweight compound exercises, the push up (or press up) works your arms and also your pecs (chest) toning and strengthening your upper body all in the same time. Compound exercises are also a great way to burn fat quicker because they work a multitude of muscles in the same time. for the same reason, they are also good to build overall strength.

You should start off doing knee push ups, when that will get arms used to the movement. Keep your back straight as you do the knee push ups, that will work your core, too, making this already excellent exercise even more powerful.

Also, tuck in the elbows a bit and try to focus on activating the back of the upper arms (triceps) and the chest muscles as you push yourself. 

(opens in new tab)

SIXPAD Electric Muscle Stimulation Training Gear | Prices from £175 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
SIXPAD training gear won't replace hard work but it can make it more effective. These cordless pads can effectively enhance muscle stimulation and can "help users achieve an 8% improvement in abdominal muscle size after 4 weeks alongside a balanced diet and exercise" – or so does SIXPAD claim. The percentage goes up to 12% after 8 weeks and many SIXPAD products can be used in other areas than just your abs.

bodyweight workout for beginners at home

Planks will work your core and abs like not many other exercises can

(Image credit: Future)

4. Knee plank

Muscles worked: abs, core, chest, upper back, shoulders

Good for: improving posture, six pack gains

Planks are not exciting to do, we agree. Planks are one of the most boring exercises out there, you literally have to do nothing else but to hold your body in a fixed position. In the same time, it is one of the most challenging exercises you can do and if you ever want to know just how long 60 seconds can be, just try holding the low-plank position for that long and you'll see.

Knee planks are not difficult to perform – at least to know what you are supposed to do – just hold your body straight whilst resting your body on your knees and elbows. For added comfort, you can lay down a yoga mat (opens in new tab) underneath you, especially if your abode has hard flooring.

(opens in new tab)

SKLZ Core Wheels Dynamic Strength & Ab Trainer | Buy it at Amazon for £36.27 (opens in new tab)
Ab rollers are amazing tools to train your core and abs but the SKLZ Core Wheels go even further: train your lats and shoulders as well as your core with the dual-wheel rollers. Using the SKLZ Core Wheels can compliment your swimming training and using them even just for a few minutes will strengthen your shoulders significantly.

5. Quadruped limb raise

Muscles worked: lower back, traps, glutes, thighs, abs/core

Good for: strengthening back, fat burning, toning bum

Lesser known but excellent exercise nevertheless, the quadruped limb raise works your back gently – more gently than doing pull ups, for sure. Quadruped limb raises work your glutes and lower back the most, but they also have an effect on your core, traps (the muscles on the side of the neck) and thighs.

To do a quadruped limb raise, go down on all four with your hands shoulder width apart. In the starting position, your back should be straight and vertical to the ground. Lift one arm and the opposite leg in the air simultaneously, hold the pose for a second or two, then lower it back to the ground. Do the same with the other two limbs.

Make sure you don't reach too high with either limb and try to be extra gentle with the leg raise. Lower backs are very prone to being sprained and you would like to mobilise them in a steady pace and not over work them straight away.

What you'll need more of: protein is good for muscle growth and weight loss, too

You probably know that protein is the macronutrient you would like to consume a bit more if you would like to build muscle and lose weight fast (opens in new tab). Humans haven't got protein reserves so you will have to continuously replenish yourself with protein in order to supply your muscles accordingly.

The most convenient way to take in protein is to to have a couple protein shakes a day, which is a combination of protein powder (opens in new tab) and water (or milk/milk substitute).

• Best cheap protein deals (opens in new tab)

Protein, of course, can and should be sourced from a variety of sources, like fish, nuts, lean meat, vegetables and more. Keeping a healthy diet is equally as important as exercising, not to mention leaving enough time to rest. Overworking and under-supplying your body is the best way to get injured and to lose motivation fast.

If you are doing moderate exercising, you won't need loads of protein either: shoot for 1.2-1.5 grams per body kilogram per day. Assuming you are around 80-90 kilos, you won't need more than 100-135 grams of protein to cover your daily needs. One scoop of protein powder usually has 26-28 grams of protein in it, protein snacks (opens in new tab) usually have the same, add a high-protein/low-sugar yogurt and two medium size meals with some protein and you are all sorted for the day.

Make sure you also drink plenty of water, that will speed up your metabolism, protect your cells and help muscle regeneration, too.

(opens in new tab)

Join PureGym today | Low prices | Over 250 gyms across the UK | No contract (opens in new tab)
Thinking about joining the gym? PureGym has over 250 units all across the UK and you won't need a contact either when you sign up – leave anytime if you change your mind. Students save even more on fixed term memberships: up to 30% off. Find your nearest gym by clicking on the button below.

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).