Your alarm clock doesn’t go off. You slept in. Gym time? Obliterated. But you can still squeeze in a few last-minute body weight exercises to get in your cardio and strength-building before you dash out the door.
Exercises that utilize your own body weight—in lieu of weights and machines—can be equally as challenging and beneficial (if not moreso) to your body. “One of the best things about body weight exercises is that you incorporate both strength and mobility together,” says Matt Basso, a personal trainer and president of the New York-based Iron Lotus Personal Training. “Most of the time if you’re holding weights or a band, you’re really tense and tight, so it’s hard to work mobility into the movement. With body weight exercise, one joint can focus on mobilization while the other joints are focusing on strengthening the muscles.” (In case you were wondering: Mobility exercises are crucial supplements to your everyday workout routinebecause they help prevent joint wear and tear.)
Here are five of Basso’s favorite body weight exercises—plus his explanation as to why each is so beneficial to total-body strength building. For beginners, he suggests cycling through the exercises (10 reps each) as a circuit, repeating the whole circuit three times. If you’re more experienced, crush the exercises to failure.