Summer is all about making travel plans and taking advantage of the long days and shorter nights. All the fun in the sun can sometimes get in the way of healthy habits, but no excuses: Wherever you are, you have everything you need to get in a feel-good total-body workout. These exercises require no equipment — just a few spare minutes and a little motivation. (The number of sets and repetitions will depend on your fitness level.)
A successful workout should begin with light cardio exercise to warm up the body and get the muscles ready to work. Start with 50 jumping jacks and 30 seconds of running in place.
For full-body activation, this exercise is one of the most effective. Start by squatting low and placing your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back behind you into a plank position. Complete one push-up and then jump your feet back to the squat position. Jump up into the air as high as possible and then return to a squat and repeat.
Make sure you have plenty of room, then stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Squat low, with your knees over your ankles. When you come back up, jump in the air, spin 180 degrees, and land back in a squat. Continue in the same direction to complete a circle. After a set of full circles in one direction, do a set of full circles in the opposite direction.
Stand with arms extended straight out in front of you. Raise your right leg and flex your toes toward your face. Try to keep your right leg as straight as you can. Bend your left knee, lowering your body but keeping your torso straight and your right leg lifted. Return to standing and repeat the same number of times on each leg.
Standing with your feet together, lunge forward with one leg and bend the knee at a 90-degree angle. Don't let your knees pass your toes. Push back up to standing and repeat on the other leg.
For this move, you start by doing a stationary lunge but keep the momentum going forward. Lunge forward with one leg, then bring the back leg forward, past the front leg, straight into another lunge.
Start with a stationary lunge, but instead of pushing back up to a standing position with your back leg, push past standing and up into a jump, switching legs in midair. Raise your arms to help drive your motion upward for height, not forward for distance. Land as softly as possible and repeat with the other leg.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms straight up in the air, biceps by your ears. Step your right foot behind you and bend your left knee to come into a lunge. As your left knee bends, bring your left arm behind you and your right arm forward, both at shoulder height, so you're twisting at your core over your left leg. Bring your torso back to center and your arms straight up over your head. Step the right foot forward to meet the left. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your belly and extend the arms forward. Keeping your torso as still as possible, raise your arms and legs into the air. Take three breaths before returning your limbs to the ground.
Lie on your stomach. Extend your legs and arms to make an X and lift them off the ground. Open and close your arms and legs as if you're doing jumping jacks (without the jump).
This is one of the most common variations of the plank, a standard and effective core exercise. Lie on the ground facing down and lift as if you're doing a push-up — with hands and toes supporting the body, keeping the hands below the shoulders, arms fully extended, and toes below the ankles. (Spreading your fingers can help maintain balance.) Hold the position while focusing on keeping your back straight, your core pulled back toward your spine, and your glutes engaged. You can make the plank easier by resting on your elbows or knees (or both). Make it more difficult by adding alternating leg raises.
Start from a high plank position with arms fully extended below the shoulders. Lift your right foot and bring the right knee forward to the right elbow or slightly outside. Extend the leg back — without dropping your foot to the floor — and repeat the exercise. Finish a set with one leg, then repeat with the other.
Set a timer for one minute. Start in a plank on your palms, keeping your quads engaged and your belly button hugging up and in. Lower your right forearm then left forearm. Come back onto the right palm then the left palm. Repeat this for the entire minute. Take a 15-second break between rounds.
Start in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists. Position your right hand below your face. Bring your feet together behind you and then roll onto the outside edge of your right foot, so that your feet and legs are stacked and your body is open to the left side of the room. Lift your left arm into the air toward the ceiling. Hold for 10 breaths and then switch sides.
For this tricep take on the classic push-up, start in a high plank position with your hands in a diamond shape, so that your index fingers and thumbs touch their opposite. Bend your elbows out to the sides to 90 degrees and pause for a full breath before pushing yourself back up. Note: You may need to begin with your knees on the ground and lower less than halfway down.
Many ab exercises focus on the outer abdominal muscles, but the ab vacuum works the inner abdominals, which can lead to a tighter core and help support the back. Start by kneeling and placing your hands on the ground below your shoulders. Keep the back straight and look slightly forward. Exhale heavily through your mouth and suck in your stomach as if you're lifting your belly button to your back. Try to force all the air out of your lungs. Hold your breath and the position for five to 15 seconds. Inhale through your nose while slowly lowering your belly. Take one resting breath in through your mouth and out through your nose, then repeat. This exercise can be done while standing, sitting, or lying down.
Lie down on your back with your legs extended and your arms over your head. On an inhale, bring your hands to your toes and your toes to your hands, keeping both legs and arms as straight as possible. Your shoulders, neck, and head will come off the ground as you reach for your feet. Return to lying flat, with legs extended and arms out behind you, and repeat.
Start in a sitting position with your heels on the floor and knees bent. Keeping the core engaged, lean back to a 45-degree angle. Holding your hands behind your head and keeping the elbows wide apart, twist slowly from left to right. To increase the difficulty, clasp your hands above your head and try to keep your palms together. Lower your hands to tap the ground on one side, bring your hands back above your head, and lower and tap the ground on the other side.
Start the same way you would for Russian twists or V-sits — lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground. Lift both feet off the ground so your knees are almost above your hips. Exhale while lowering one foot to tap the ground; then raise it and tap the floor with the other foot. Make this exercise easier by leaving one foot on the ground and toe tapping with the other, or harder by tapping and raising both feet at the same time.
Lie flat on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat. Place your arms flat on the floor at your sides. Squeeze your glutes, and use them to raise your hips to the ceiling. Make sure to keep your shoulders planted in place on the ground. Lower and repeat.
Get into the bridge position, but instead of lifting your hips up with both feet planted, pick up one foot and straighten your leg. Do a bridge with one leg raised. Lower and repeat with the other leg raised.
Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are on the floor, heels close to your seat. Bring your arms behind your head with fingers reaching behind you. Press into your heels and lift your hips as high into the air as possible. As you do so, bring your arms over your head and down to the ground. Lower the hips down and bring the arms back to their starting position behind you, then repeat. (For an added challenge, try lifting one of your legs straight up into the air.)
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands palms-down on the ground under your shoulders with your fingers pointing away from you. Slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling. Squeeze your glute muscles and push up to the tabletop position. Hold for a few seconds, then lower down and repeat.
Get down on the ground on all fours, with hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Brace your back with your core (no arching), and lift your right leg up and back, keeping your knee bent. Lower it, and repeat on the other side.
Similar to the leg raise, this exercise calls for lying on your back and bringing both feet about 6 to 12 inches off the ground. Raise and lower the legs in a quick scissor motion. Focus on using your core, not your legs.
Envision the side-to-side movement of a skater — you are going to mimic this. Pushing from the left, leap out to the right. Go as far as you can (at least arm's width), landing lightly on the toes of your right foot and reaching out to touch the floor with your hands. Then leap back to the left, grazing the ground with your hands as you land. Concentrate on pushing off with your glutes and keeping your abs engaged.