Highly Effective Exercises that Don’t Require Machines

Machines are great for isolated workouts, where you exercise a single muscle group to build strength and endurance. However, the best types of exercise for your overall fitness are the compound exercises. These work several muscle groups in your body at once and help you perfect your posture and balance. Compound exercises are total body workouts that build both muscle and offer cardio benefits.

Most fitness experts and doctors recommend that you add compound exercises to an isolationist routine. These are rigorous exercises that truly build you up as a person. Here is a list of top compound exercises you can perform at home without machines:

Push Ups

Push-ups are possibly the most popular machine-free exercise among fitness
enthusiasts. The benefits of it are quite well known. Some even recommend push-ups to traditional machines as a top-notch
compound exercise. Doing a single push-up works your chest, arms, back, glutes,
and the ever-important core. That’s an
almost full body workout you can try just about anywhere.

Push-ups look deceptively simple. However, maintaining the right form is
extremely important for enjoying the benefits of this particular exercise. You
can do a push-up simply by getting into a plank position on the floor, and
lowering yourself down and back up using your arms. When you are in position,
your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Your back shouldn’t sag.

If maintaining this posture is difficult
for you in the beginning, you can try incline push-ups.
Here, you keep your feet on the floor, and your hands and shoulder on an
elevated surface. This position makes push-ups
easier to do and get used to. However, it’s still important to maintain your
position. If you want them to be more difficult, you can try the reverse, where
your feet are on an elevated position, but hands and shoulders are on the
floor. These decline push-ups are very
difficult to do and only the fittest should try them.

There are many other variations of push-ups you can try if the original position
is getting too boring for you. There’s the famous single-handed push-up. You
can also use exercising
, such as med balls and resistant bands, to make push-ups more rigorous. When you are stronger,
you can try the extreme push- up, where you stand upside down against a wall
and push your whole body up using your hands. When you can do this, you know
you are a pro.


A squat is the best exercise you can do to
build up your legs and glutes, plus strengthen your core. Like push-ups, you can do squats everywhere, but
unlike push-ups, squats are much easier
to perform. Doing the right squat is only slightly tricky.

First, maintain the right position, by
standing up with your feet apart. Don’t push them too far apart though; your
feet must be hip-width apart only. Then
mimic the motion of sitting down on a chair without leaning forward. Use your
legs and abs to push yourself down and then back up again. You should feel the
tension on the back of your thighs and glutes.

Squats are traditionally performed with only the bodyweight as resistance. If you are
comfortable with this, you can try doing squats with weights. Hold dumbbells to
give your muscles a challenge. Some use resistance bands as well to add weight
and tension.

Staircase Bicep Curls

You don’t need weight machines to do bicep
curls. The best way to do a curl is with a free weight, as it works on more
than just your bicep. If you don’t have dumbbells, use a household object as a
free weight. Just make sure the object is easy to hold without dropping.

For a fantastic whole body workout, do
bicep curls while walking up and down a staircase. Climbing stairs work your core and leg muscles. The bicep curls
would work your arm and shoulder muscles as well. Don’t run up and down the
stairs doing while these. It’s recommended to do them briskly, though you can
speed things up. However, be careful not to lose your step or slip with the

Step Ups

Step ups are a
step above just running. Doing these are great for leg muscle strength
training. Steps up are compound exercises, so you get to work your core and to
an extent, your shoulders and arms as well. The intensity of the step up
depends on how fast you do them. Doing them slow is great for strength
training. Doing step ups faster would add some cardio to your routine as well,
without you having to use a treadmill or an exercise bike.

To do step ups,
you need an elevated surface on which you can comfortably stand on and get off,
such as a step or a sturdy box. Doing them is easy. Place one foot on the
elevated surface, lift yourself up and put your other foot next to it. Then,
repeat the process to come back down. This is a single step up. Keep doing as
many reps as you can to build strength.

When doing steps ups, try to your maintain
position. Your shoulders and arms should be straight back without any hunching.
Ideally, look forward when you do them. But you can look down if the ground
feels unstable.


Planking is really more than just a fad.
Planks are excellent for strengthening your core. Master the plank, and just
about any other strength training exercise would become easier.

Planking, like most exercises, is heavily
dependent on maintaining
the proper bodily posture. Planking isn’t effective if you can’t properly
maintain the shape the exercise requires. To do a plank the right way, lie face
down on the floor or on a mat. Put your forearms on the floor and clasp your
arms. Your legs should be extended behind you.

Now, gently lift yourself up using your
toes. You should feel the tension on your toes and forearms. For a basic plank,
maintain your posture for 30 seconds. For a proper plank, extend it to 60
seconds. You can plank for as long as you can maintain the posture.

When planking, as with push-ups, it’s important to keep your back and
spine straight without sagging down. Your back should be like a plank, hence
the name, for this exercise to truly work.

The above machine-free exercises are quite
simple and easy to perform. However, they are tough to master. If you are out
of shape, you may struggle to get more than five reps in. But keep persevering to
build up the most important muscle groups that make you stronger.