The Only 15-Minute Bodyweight Workout You'll Ever Need

Prepare to drip sweat and tone up, no machine or money required. 

August 18, 2015
woman doing pushup

Sometimes, working out can cost big bucks. Forget a luxury fitness closet a la Khloe Kardashian, gym memerships and personal trainers can get costly. Even gearing up your own at-home gym can add up quickly between free weights, resistance bands, and a full-size mirror (a lady's gotta admire her hard work, right?). Not to fret, friends, because—bodyweight exercises. Cooler than the other side of the pillow, these no equipment required moves are both free and effective. In fact, they can often be a great indication of your personal fitness level, moreso than how much weight you can lift, says Alonzo Wilson, founder and director of training at Tone House, a New York City studio where athletic-based, sports conditioning workouts reign supreme.

More: The High-Energy Playlist For An Epic Workout


"Lifting is great, but it's important to be functionally fit," says Wilson. "Bodyweight exercises help improve flexibility, speed, power, endurance and explosiveness. Be able to actually play the game, not just look like you can play."

Ready to get in tip top shape and save those pennies for next weeks gel mani? Check out Wilson's 15-minute total-body bodyweight workout: 

High Knees
1 minute
How to do it: Run in place, bringing knees up to your chest as high as you can, pumping your arms as quickly. Try to land on the balls of your feet as you run, switching legs quickly.

20 reps,  2 sets
How to do it: Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your toes turned out slightly. Your hands are by your sides with your palms facing inward. Pull the shoulders down your back toward your hips. Keep your chest lifted and your chin parallel to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels as your hips begin to push toward the wall behind you. Hips and knees bend simultaneously as you lower. Try to prevent your knees from traveling too far forward past the toes.
Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and back flat. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor and knees remain lined up with the second toe. Exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together. 

Squat Jumps
 20 reps x 2 sets
How to do it: Start by doing a regular squat (description above), then engage your core and jump up explosively. Legs will full extend, and then you will land back into a squat form. When you land, make an effort to do so quietly, with control.

More: 10 Secrets to the Perfect Bodyweight Squat

180-Degree Jump Squat Turns
15 reps (turning to the left), 15 reps (turning to the right)
How to do it: Start in a squat position. Like the jump, explosively propel upward. This time, however, rotate 180 degrees. Do 15 reps turning toward your left side, then repeat 15 reps going toward your right.

 30 reps
How to do it: Start in a plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists, fingers facing forward, shoulder blades down your back. Slowly bend elbows, lowering body toward the floor in a horizontal line. Engage your glutes and quadricpes to maintain stability, lowering until your chest or chin touches the floor. Return to your starting plank position by pressing upward through your arms, straightening your elbows. Important: Don't allow your back to sag or your hips to hike upward. 

Plyo Knee Tuck Push-ups
20 reps
How to do it: Start in a plank position. Kick legs up and quickly bring your knees toward your chest, then return feet to ground, landing back in plank position. Continue with traditional push-up as described above to complete one rep. 

Plyo Knee Tuck Push-ups with Jump Squat
Duration: 15 reps
How to do it:
Start in a plank position. Do the plyo knee tuck push-up as described above. Explosively, bring feet to meet hands, emerging in a squat position with your torso upright. Jump upward, extending legs, then landing back in a squat position. Immediately kick legs backward, returning to plank position, and start again. 

Out and Ups (i.e. Core Crushers)
30 reps
How to do it: Start laying on your back. Bring legs up roughly one to two inches above the floor, engaging your core. Kick legs vertically, so your body forms a 90-degree angle. Then, return legs back parallel to the floor, but not touching. This outward and upward motion is one rep. 

Toe Touches
 30 reps
How to do it: Lay on your back, bring legs up so body forms 90-degree angle. Reach arms upward toward toes, contracting abdominals. Slowly return to ground, then repeat.