Bodyweight and simple dumbbell exercises are often overlooked and undervalued, especially among gym junkies. But on those days when the weight room is packed or you’re tight for time, you may need to improvise. To guarantee you get a solid workout, regardless of the space, equipment, or time limitations, prepare a Plan B using these seven exercises. Keep the intensity high and the rest low, and you may even get a tougher workout than if you had hit the weights.


Resistance: Dumbbells, kettlebell, or bodyweight
Sets: 4 | Reps: 20

Stand in front of a box or bench with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your butt lightly touches the bench, plyo box, or chair beneath you. Return to standing, squeezing your glutes, and repeat.


Resistance: Dumbbells, medicine ball, kettlebell, or bodyweight
Sets:|  Reps: 12 per leg

Begin in a split stance with one foot in front of the other, far enough apart so that when you bend your knees, your front knee stays stacked over your ankle, not your toes. Bend both knees and lower your hips until your back knee is a few inches from the ground. Extend both legs to return to the starting position without locking your front knee, and repeat. Complete all reps, then switch sides.


Resistance: Band, dumbbell, weight plate, or bodyweight
Sets:|  Reps: 15-20

Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels pressed into the floor. (To perform this move weighted, hold a dumbbell or plate on top of your hips.) Contract your glutes and raise your hips towards the ceiling. Keep the tension as you lower back down, and repeat.


Resistance: Bodyweight
Sets:|  Reps: 10

Try varying your hand positioning for more advanced versions, or place your hands on a bench or your knees on the ground to make it easier. Be sure to keep your entire body aligned, keeping your core engaged so your back does not arc or sway.


Resistance: Bodyweight
Sets:|  Reps: 10

From downward dog, move slowly into high plank position. Hold for a moment, then ease back to downward dog, and repeat.


Resistance: Bodyweight
Sets:|  Reps: 30 seconds

Stand tall with your core engaged and feet grounded. Jump as high as you can, bringing your knees up towards your chest. Land and repeat quickly for all reps.


Resistance: Dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, weight plate, or bodyweight
Sets: 3-4  |  Reps: 15-20 (bodyweight) or 10-12 (weighted) per leg

Stand tall with your weight on one foot and core engaged, keeping a micro bend in your standing leg. Begin to lean forward, raising your free leg straight out behind you. If you are holding weight, lower it towards the floor as low as you can. Squeeze your hamstring as you raise back to the starting position, and repeat. Complete for all reps, then repeat on the other leg.

Jenn Pike is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bestselling author of The Simplicity Project:
A Simple, No-Nonsense Approach To Losing Weight & Changing Your Body Forever!

Twitter: @simplicityjenn | Instagram: @jennpike |