Bad weather, not enough time, and lack of equipment can sometimes conspire to prevent a workout from happening. But who needs time, space, or otherwise perfect conditions? The solution is simple. Short, sharp, bodyweight workouts. Between your own bodyweight and gravity, you’ve got this sorted.
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that anything other an hour-long run or a session in the gym will be less than effective. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can keep it short, and you can keep it entirely equipment-free. The only proviso is this. You’ve got to work hard.
No Equipment Full-Body Workout
This workout requires zero equipment. It consists of two parts.
The workout. A short but intense bout of exercise that will improve your muscular endurance, aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness and general athleticism just as well as a more drawn-out, moderately paced workout.
Core finisher. Once your workout is complete, it’s time to do a few minutes of core-specific work. Your core is the collective term for the muscles of your midsection. These muscles can be worked in next to no time and using no equipment by performing the plank and bridge combo.
The first part is a timed workout. Your aim is to complete as many rounds of the listed 4 exercises as possible in 20 minutes:
- 5 burpees
- 10 push-ups
- 15 squats
- 20 mountain climbers
After the 20-minute workout, complete this core finisher to torch those abs:
- Side plank
- Font plank
- Side plank (opposite side)
- Supine hip bridge
Rest 30 seconds and repeat the core sequence once or twice more.
Total time: 25 – 30 minutes
Rest when you need to but remember the clock is ticking. Try to beat your previous score the next time you do this workout.
As with any workout, you should always warm up before starting the hard stuff and cool-down afterwards.
- Spend a few minutes jumping rope, jogging or doing jumping jacks to elevate your heart and breathing rate and get your blood pumping.
- Once you feel warm, dynamically stretch and mobilize all of your major muscles and joints. All in all, this should take around five to seven minutes tops.
- Finally, do a few repetitions of each of the exercises in the workout to ensure you are familiar with them and able to do them comfortably.
Cool down. To return your body to its pre-exercise state, do a few more minutes of light cardio and then stretch your major muscles to release any tension that has built up during your workout.
Here’s how to perform each of the exercises.
Why: Burpees the ultimate total-body bodyweight exercise.
- Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides.
- Squat down and place your hands on the floor outside of your feet.
- Jump your feet out and back into the push-up position.
- Perform a single, perfect, pushup.
- Jump your feet back up to your hands and then, finally, leap up into the air.
- Land on slightly bent knees and repeat.
Easier: For an easier workout, omit the push-up and/or the jump.
Harder: For a more advanced workout, do two push-ups instead of one, add a tuck jump instead of a regular jump, or do a 180 degree turn as you jump.
Why: Push-ups are the king of bodyweight upper body pushing exercises.
- Place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart with your fingers pointing directly forward. Walk your feet back so your shoulders, hips and feet form a straight line.
- Brace your abs, bend your arms and lower your chest to lightly touch the floor. No touch means no rep so make sure you go all the way down.
- Push back up and repeat.
Easier: Bend your legs and resting your knees on the floor.
Harder: Elevate your feet on a step (decline push-ups) or perform clapping push-ups.
Why: Squats the best leg exercise – period.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands clasped under your chin.
- Push your butt back, bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push your knees outward as you descend.
- Stand back up and repeat.
- Do not round your lower back and keep your chest up and shoulders back at all times.
Easier: Do not squat down as far.
Harder: Do squat jumps instead of squats – leap into the air after each repetition.
4 Mountain climbers
Why: A full-body move that improves strength, endurance, and agility. Pump those legs for maximum benefits.
- Drop into the push-up position and bend one leg so your knee is close to your chest and your foot is lightly touching the floor.
- Do a little jump and drive your bent leg back and pull your straight leg in and underneath you.
- Continue swapping legs in a brisk and rhythmical fashion until you have completed 20 reps on each leg.
Variations: For variety, jump both legs in and out at the same time.
5 Side Plank
- Lie on your side and rest on your elbow; straighten your legs.
- Raise your hips so your weight is supported on your arm and side of your lowermost foot only.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
6 Front Plank
- Roll onto your front and rest on both elbows and your toes.
- Keeping your shoulders, hips and feet in a straight line, hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Do not let your hips drop and remember to breathe!
7 Supine Hip Bridge
- Lie on your back and bend your knees; plant your feet as close to your butt as possible.
- Push your hips up to the ceiling so your weight is on your feet and shoulders only.
- Hold this position for a final 30 seconds.