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The 7 Hardest No-Equipment Exercises, Ranked

Tehrene Firman

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Photo: Getty Images/Guido Mieth

No workout equipment? No problem. Some of the hardest exercises don’t require anything but your own bodyweight in order to get a full-body burn. No dumbbells, resistance bands, exercise machine—nothing. In fact, when you choose the right no-equipment exercises, there’s a good chance you’ll wake up feeling even more sore than you would using anything you’d find at the gym.

None of these moves are a walk in the park. Not by a long-shot. But there are certainly some that will have more sweat dripping down your face than others. When you’re ready to work, here are the hardest no-equipment exercises, ranked from toughest to easiest.

The best no-equipment exercises, ranked from hardest to easiest

1. Pistol squat

The pistol squat—or single-leg squat—might just be one of the hardest exercises you’ll ever do. It not only requires strength, but also flexibility and balance.

2. Burpees

Is it any surprise that burpees are on this list? “Burpees are really hard and nobody really likes to do them,” says trainer Charlee Atkins. But busting out a few sets is worth it, as they’re not only a great way to get your cardio in, but they also work every muscle in your body, strengthening your arms, legs, booty, glutes, abs, and more.

3. Dragon walk

The dragon walk is one of the best core exercises you can do. You also get an added bonus of it working everywhere else, too. “It’s an excellent core exercise, but it incorporates so many muscle groups that it feels like you’re working the entire body,” says trainer Tee Major. “I like to start with this exercise because it takes the most energy, by far, than any other exercises you’re going to have in your workout.”

4. Jump squats

Jump squats are one of the best HIIT exercises to have in your arsenal. “They activate your lower body muscles instantly and increase your explosive power. RIP to your quads,” says trainer Kirsty Alexander. Even a handful will leave you breathless.

5. Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers might seem easy at first, but it take about .5 seconds to start to feel the full-body burn. The exercise strengthens both your upper and lower body while providing a hit of cardio at the same time.

6. Broad jumps

Jump squats are tough, but broad jumps are seriously hard, too. Basically, instead of jumping upward, the explosive move has you jumping as far as you possibly can in front of you. It’s like you’re doing a long jump, minus the running start.

7. Spiderman push-ups

The spiderman push-ups are nothing short of a challenge. “They require the person performing the exercise to engage the muscles of the core to a greater degree than a regular push-up, because one foot is off the ground while performing each repetition,” says Edward Rush, co-founder of Superior Fitness Lab. By the time you’re done, your arms will be straight-up Jell-O.

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